Fall is here. Officially it started this past week. The weather where I live cooled off earlier than usual, so it seems to me that fall started a few weeks ago. It felt like a dramatic shift from the bright hot days of summer.
I think I struggle with some of the seasonal shifts, especially this one. The onset of fall is often the back-to-routine season. Getting the kids back into school, re-establishing routines, racing around to all the back to school/work/ministry/life events that seems to come thick and fast.
For me, it’s also a letting go. Letting go of unstructured days, of hopes for those days, of all the activities and pieces still undone. Spring brings hope, summer is the time to fulfill those hopes, and fall is the letting go of what didn’t come to fruition. Some years it’s good. Sometimes it’s hard.
As fall hit hard this year, I felt it. Not in a good way. Early summer this year brought the promise of something I had been seeking. For a long while. With it came the anticipation of more activities, more connections, more enjoyment of life. Fall brought the reality that it wasn’t going to work. It wasn’t the answer I was looking for. It really hadn’t been all along. Just as the realization that the leaves are changing and cool mornings are now the norm, so were my hopes from the summer. Changing, letting go, cooling down.
When I get in a hard transition like this, I have to get out. Get out of my office, out of my home, out of my mind full of too many thoughts. I can’t be stuck in a time like this. I climb things, hike up mountains, adjust my surroundings so that I can gain a new view. A new perspective.
A few weeks ago I did just that. I started up a mountain close to my home. By myself. My intention was set to climb high and fast. Push out the old. I put in my earbuds and listened to the loud thumping music I needed as I ran up the trail. My conversation started with God. It wasn’t good. I’ll tell you that right now. I was pretty angry. Feeling hurt. Feeling used. A little bit lost. Really disappointed. The old words to myself kept recycling over and over in my head. Words I don’t want to hear anymore. I am not a failure at this. Next time will be different. I held onto that resolve, pushed up the mountain, and continued my conversation with God.
There’s something about being out in His creation that just gets to me. After the first couple miles, I started to actually notice the scenery around me. The glimpses from the trail of the valley below me. The tall trees enveloping me. The little squirrel darting in front of me. The waterfall cascading down, filtering, washing, cleansing.
I scrambled down the steep hill right before the trail turns for the final surge to the top. I could feel my perspective shifting. I took in a deep deep breath and felt a resolute feeling deep in my soul. I had made it to the top. I am stronger than I think. He is stronger than I give Him credit for some days. I am fine. I am more than fine.
I rounded the corner to the view. The view. Of the whole valley below. Of the lake and the mountains across the valley. The faint views of the city skyline in the distance. The clouds all around but the sun still breaking through. And in that moment it all just melted away. Everything. All the fear. All the hurt. All the questions. They just didn’t’ matter anymore. I only intended to stay at the top for ten minutes. But He called me to just sit. Drink in His view. Gain His perspective. Be reminded that He knows.
He’s the only one who can touch my soul like that. That fast. He’s the one who can reach in and push the reset button. He’s the one who sees it all. He knows my heart, my hurts, my fears. He knows the plans He has for me. He’s the one who calls me to Himself. He’s the one who lifts every last piece of my sin off of me. He’s the one who cleanses me, washes me, renews me.
So this isn’t really a season of loss or hurt. It’s a time to start afresh. A time to be renewed and look, from His perspective, at all that He is working out for His good. It’s time to fall deeper and deeper into Him.