By Cindi McMenamin, Crosswalk.com
It’s not the season of warmer weather or vacations, nor is it touted as “the most wonderful time of the year” with carols and merry-making, but don’t let the blessings of Autumn fall on you unnoticed. There are many things to embrace about this season.
Autumn is a time of renewal. A time of blessing. A time of transformation and newness of life. Don’t waste it by waiting until the new year to start some challenges. If you do, you might miss some life-impacting practices that can help you enjoy every season of the year and of your life.
In order to seize the day, possibly grow spiritually, and get the most out of the new season we are in, here are six things to embrace this Autumn:
1. Embrace the beauty—and opportunities for your own transformation.
In so many ways, Autumn symbolizes the season of change or transition. The colored leaves and cooler weather signify a transition from summer to Fall and eventually from Fall to Winter. I recently saw a plaque that said, “Autumn is Evidence that Change is Beautiful.” Sometimes, we avoid change because it’s uncomfortable. But growth always means change, so let the change in colors that you see all around you motivate you to embrace opportunities for change and transformation in your own life as well.
Perhaps as the season of summer (represented by warmer weather, relaxing evenings, and vacations) transitions into a busier time of the year, you can prepare your heart for a transition to more purposeful living and set goals and challenges in front of you.
As the leaves begin to change color and fall, this can be your season for change, as well. Consider reading and working through Debra Fileta’s book, Reset: Powerful Habits to Own Your Thoughts, Understand Your Feelings & Change Your Life. It can help you make those much-needed changes so the Holy Spirit can truly transform your life. What better way to head into the holiday season than with a quiet heart, a more calm mindset, and a revived soul?
2. Embrace the changes in the air.
I live in Southern California, where the palm trees don’t change color, and we pretty much get summer all year. So, when there’s a foggy morning that doesn’t burn off until 10 a.m. or a cooler breeze that causes the leaves to fall, it’s exciting. And it reminds me of God’s promise in His Word that there will always be a seedtime and harvest, cold and warm weather, a summer and a winter” (Genesis 8:22). If you’re in the Midwest or on the East Coast, I’m sure you’re pleased that hot, humid summers don’t last forever, and neither do cold, bitter winters. Autumn is that transition time between the two and a reminder that our God, who never changes, still gives us a variety of weather, multiple colors in nature, seasonal fruits, and other remembrances that He is a God of detail who never gets tired of bringing about another season.
No two Autumns look alike, do they? Just as no two Christmases or Thanksgivings are identical. Welcome the changes in weather (even the shorter summers and longer winters—as we are experiencing here) because they are reminders that God still constantly redeems, restores, and makes all things new.
3. Embrace the quiet before the rush of the holidays.
Some people dread the holidays. But I’ve found a quiet October in which I pace myself to get things done so I can then enjoy more of November and December, is a gift to God, my family, and myself.
My friend, Author, and Spiritual Life Coach, Jayme Hull, is offering a 30-Day Gratitude Challenge on her blog page that will guide you in writing a verse of Scripture every day during the month of October. These particular Scriptures to write will help you recognize and celebrate the “But God” moments that took place in Scripture, as well as those that occur in your life today. Taking the time to recognize God’s presence now, through quiet times in His Word, will prepare you for a more calm, rested, and worshipful heart during the otherwise hectic months of November and December. Embrace the quiet now, and God may allow you to store it up for later when it’s needed.
4. Embrace the goodness and sovereignty of God.
Next Fall will be quite different than this one. With election year around the corner, feelings, viewpoints, and stress levels will amp up as this nation prepares for what is hopefully not as divisive of a time as it was just four years ago. Enjoy this quieter Fall season as a time to remember that God is still on the throne, and He is ultimately the One who “puts down one [elected official] and exalts another “(Psalm 75:6-7 NASB). Nothing is beyond God’s control, and nothing takes Him by surprise. So, decide now to embrace this time of contentedness in God your Savior, and remind yourself your hope is not on Capitol Hill, but in heaven, and always will be no matter who governs your state or country.
5. Embrace the scents and tastes of the season.
Psalm 34:8 says, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good” (ESV), and we can do that as we taste and see that the season He has given us is good too. I realize pumpkin spice has taken over every treat, drink, and cereal this time of year, but don’t let the pumpkin spice overboard kill your desire to enjoy the scent of pumpkin candles, the taste of pumpkin pie, or the other Fall treats, entrees, and offerings that create an aroma of caramel, maple, cinnamon, and apple this time of year.
Enjoy the aromas emanating from your oven or dinner plate, and enjoy the tastes that abound this time of year as a gift from God. As Ecclesiastes 3:13 wisely advises: “Everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God's gift to man” (ESV).
6. Embrace your blessings over the past year.
Remembering your blessings shouldn’t just happen on Thanksgiving Day. It can be something you do every Autumn as you cultivate a heart of gratitude for where God has brought you since the previous year.
I remember the prayers I prayed on my back patio table the weekend of last Thanksgiving after guests left, the kitchen was cleaned, and the quiet crept back into my house. That prayer time, as a personal way of extending Thanksgiving Day, brought immeasurably more than I could have guessed over this past year. God has a way of honoring us when we honor Him with all that we have and the desires of our hearts.
Take some time this season to offer God a regular pattern of thanksgiving, an attitude of gratitude toward all you have, and a heart of expectation for the more that only He can give. God hears the prayers of a sincere heart, and He can open our eyes to blessings you’ve received that you haven’t even asked for. Embrace this season of offering thanks by asking God to open your eyes to the gifts He’s given that you might not have even realized were at His hand or were the unnoticed answers to your prayers.
Photo Credit: ©iStofk/Getty Images Plus/Drazen Zigic
Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker, Bible teacher, and award-winning writer who helps women and couples strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is also a mother, pastor’s wife, and author of 17 books, including When Women Walk Alone (more than 150,000 copies sold), When God Sees Your Tears, When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts, and When Couples Walk Together:31 Days to a Closer Connection, which she co-authored with her husband of 35 years. For more on her speaking ministry, coaching services for writers, and books to strengthen your soul, marriage, and parenting, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.