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Exploring the Unknown

If You’re Fighting Change…

I’ve had a hard time letting go lately.

God has been prompting me for many months now to start dropping a few leaves. But I’m stubborn, wanting them to stay put because they are good and beautiful and some are even still growing.

Please God, nooooo. 

It’s fall in my life and I’m in denial. I’m making up excuses for the changing colors and slower pace and shorter days. I’m still hanging on to the light of August, the warm breeze of September, and longer days of October where I had enough time to invest in the enthusiastic rhythms of dreaming and creating and doing.

Lately, it’s been a war on the leaves in our backyard. With a towering deciduous tree jutting out strong and tall from the center of our garden there’s never a day where there isn’t bright red and gold glory cascading from the sky.
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Fall in nature is incredible to behold, miraculous to watch, and a mystery to figure out. How is it that trees can make dying look so delightful? How is it that a low-hanging sun and longer nights stir in us a desire for family, love, closeness, and a refocusing on what matters the most?

Nature surrenders to its different seasons in a quiet grace that makes everyone stop and stare in wonder.

But when God steers me in new directions, guides me into unmarked territory, and encourages me to embrace a season like fall in my life, I fight the inevitable with crying and kicking.

I don’t want my leaves to come off. I don’t want my branches laid bare.  And don’t want to endure the cold, cutting breezes that whip through the air.

The trees make it look easy. Fall in the world looks like worship.

Perhaps this is the way it was meant to be though. Maybe the constant changing of seasons in our own lives can be more full of praise than pain?

God, the master gardener stands ready and waiting, with glowing expectation in His eyes and a rake in His hands.

As my leaves pop with their last bits of punchy colors and then begin to fall steadily to the ground He starts to work His wonders.

God isn’t fazed by the cooler temperatures, lack of productivity, or looming barrenness in my life. He slowly rakes the leaves into neat piles, scattering some them under shrubs, and hauls some off to the compost bin, just like we did in our backyard. With Him, fall is less like a war on leaves and more like unexpected worship.

Fall, a season of dropping what is good to make room for fresh life and restored hope and new courage.

Fall, a season of releasing the pressure from ourselves to perform and produce and make a profit.

Fall, a season of stepping back from all the busy activities and learning the art of single-minded focus and whole-hearted devotion once again.

Fall, a simple season of savoring slower steps and finding beauty in surprising places like dark nights, cold days, meager offerings, and underground growth.

Fall, I don’t want to fight it anymore. These leaves drifting downward are signs of my surrender. He rakes and piles and even prunes my branches with a smile. The rich smell of decomposing matter and look of lifelessness all around doesn’t shock Him.

The invisible roots shooting deeper, searching for more nutrients and rich soil are a simply signs of my abiding.

I take a lesson from the trees and raise my stick-arms towards heaven, worshipping no matter the season, because surrender reveals the secret- He makes all things beautiful in their time.

Verses to Ponder: Ecc. 3:1-11, Psalm 103:1-5, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, Isaiah 43:19

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Comments (1)

  1. Dear Charissa,
    When I first discovered your blog, I didn’t quite *get* your message. You seemed like you lived this constant life of travel and adventure and as that was sooo far from my reality (living at home with my family as a young adult, not working, where the most I ever traveled was my daily trek from the kitchen to the living room where I vegged out to watch Netflix) and something I was perhaps a little bitter about, I had a hard time trying to implement the idea of ADVENTURING in my life. I felt restrained by my reality, which I felt I had no hope of changing…
    These last few weeks have turned my life upside down.
    I prayed and prayed for a change, not realizing that change would mean the absence of my comfort zone, and now that that change has come, I am TERRIFIED and want so badly to return to my normal life. We moved (quite suddenly), my grandfather died, and then God gave me a means to make money: my very own business.
    Change happened so fast and my heart and mind are all topsy-turvy, trying to keep up. Suddenly your message of adventure, of RISK-taking, makes sense. Suddenly I am so grateful to follow your lead. I’m scared. I don’t know what to do now. I’m about to start doing things I’ve never done before and it’s all so new and different… Being a shy homebody, the idea of branching out and going places and talking to people genuinely leaves me in a panic. I feel very much alone and my mind is so out of sorts that I can’t even pray, except sporadically, in little desperate spurts. This morning I sat down to journal and it has helped so much in sorting out my thoughts and helping me to see the beauty in the “adventure” even though it’s so scary and new. I WANT to overcome my fear of the unknown. I want to embrace change. Thankfully, I thought of you today and decided to come and look at your posts again with “new” eyes… eyes that have been opened to the risks and the adventures you speak of. I pray God gives me a heart that embraces the ART of adventuring, as my fearful, weak heart would rather turn tail and run away… and I’d love it if you would keep me in your prayers ♥

    Thank you.
    A fellow (new) adventurer – Ruth, in Puerto Rico