I love autumn. Summer is so bright and intense, I wake up feeling obligated to go somewhere and do something. People are always asking, “What are your plans for the summer?” There is pressure to have an exciting destination in your back pocket, but the truth is, I just want to eat lots of peaches, watch some good summer flicks, and hang out at the beach in my flip flops.
Fall is more my style. It gets darker sooner, and everything slows down. It’s the perfect time to be outside too, if you ask me. Take hiking. There’s a lot less dust, and it’s quieter, except for the sound of a crunchy trail blanketed with falling leaves. It’s hard to beat.
I wish I felt the same about my worries. I wish they would slow down right along with nature. All the things I juggle around in my head are like plates I keep spinning, and they wear on my heart and keep my soul busy.
If only I could shed them the way the trees shed their leaves. If only I could let one fall.
We weren’t designed to keep everything in play all the time. Something got broken in us when Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden. We stopped trusting that God was good and that we were the apple of His eye. Now, we’re suspicious of letting go and letting God take us through the natural course of things.
Of course, if we were to change the subject and talk about laundry, my problem with letting go dissipates. My husband probably wishes otherwise, but I’m good at not sweating the small stuff. I like to worry about big problems. I get such a great mental workout from organizing unresolved questions and playing out different scenarios. However, I recently started to get tired of keeping up with all the activity, trying to work everything out to its optimal outcome. I even noticed I stopped laughing at my own jokes.
Even in matters of faith, especially when it comes to pleasing God, we can put so much pressure on ourselves to live fruitful lives. We forget that fruitfulness comes from allowing God to work in us through our circumstances — not from our ability to effectively make everything work out right.
There comes a time when God brings us all into an autumn season. Where there was once fervor and activity, He calls us to let go and slow down. He doesn’t quiet our lives because we’ve done something bad. God does it to release us from the burden of keeping things alive that really should be dying.
It’s in my nature to hold onto my problems, relationships, and ideals so that I can work them out on my own. But God in His abounding love says to me, There are necessary endings, Bonnie. Let the plates fall. They need to break. Let Me take care of you.
Intense pressure might work well to achieve a difficult goal. It may even be necessary if we are thrown headlong into a crisis or involuntarily trapped in a stressful relationship. But it can only last for so long before it leaves us weighed down and overloaded.
Sometimes we put so much pressure on ourselves to live fruitful lives that we lose faith and end up collapsing under the pressure.
God’s idea of a purposeful life is so different from ours. He wants us to trust Him so completely that we would risk letting go and place ourselves willingly in the uncomfortable position of surrender.
When we can trust Him with our endings, we discover He can carry us. We see the beauty of leaves falling and understand we can experience this beauty in our souls. We learn to recognize the voice of Love that calls to us behind the shattering of plates falling, and we know God can sustain us.
When our worries spin out of control, let’s not be worried about letting the plates fall. They can fall and break, and God’s love still holds us together.
I am Thine, O Lord,
I have heard Thy Voice,
And it told Thy love to me;
But I long to rise in the arms of faith
and be closer drawn to Thee.
“I Am Thine, O Lord” (Fanny Crosby)