Happy Fall, Y’all!
It’s the first week of November, which means here in Georgia that we joyfully surrender our summer wardrobes and actually get to wear jeans. If we’re lucky, we may even get to put on a sweatshirt when the sun goes down. Hallelujah!
I love everything about Fall. The weather begins to cool, the leaves begin to turn, and everything looks and feels different. Anticipation lingers in the air… it’s like there’s a secret hiding just around the corner, and all of creation is whispering about it. What comes next? I don’t know, but it’s something big! Can you feel it?
This is the fun part! The trees transform into a tapestry of bright crimson, burnt orange, and Autumn yellow, while crunchy acorns litter the ground. Children launch themselves into giant leaf piles. Families huddle up on hayrides. Restaurants boast of apple fritters and pumpkin-spice everything. What’s not to love?
If I didn’t know better, I would forget about what’s coming.
The big secret hiding behind all this goodness, we know, is winter. And while winter comes with beauty and adventure of its own, there is a price to pay in getting there. After all, we call it Fall for a reason…
It is also the season of dying.
A Season of Dying
The transition between these two seasons is costly; it requires letting go, surrender, barrenness. Yet, it’s a purposeful, joyful surrender—one life sacrificing itself for a life yet to come. I think that’s what I love most about Fall— Nature illustrates the gospel for us, year after year after year.
Fields lie empty after producing the year’s harvest.
Seeds forsake the sunshine, burrowing silently into the deep, dark earth.
Faded Leaves let go of that which has nourished them for so long, abandoning themselves to the unknown.
Lonely branches stand barren in their wake.
Each of these “endings” is a testimony to what was; yet, if you look closely, it also contains the hope of what might be. It reminds us of a barren cross, a body buried in a tomb, the disciples scattered. And yet if we listen closely, there is a whisper of hope…
Friends, this is why I love Fall. It reminds us of the purpose behind sacrifice and the joy hiding beneath surrender.
“Therefore, I urge you brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God— This is your true and proper worship.”~Romans 12: 1
Can I be honest? I feel like we are losing this this concept of joyful surrender in our self-focused culture, even as Believers. We say all the right things and post all the right memes, yet at the same time we buy into the lie that this world is all there is. Clinging so tightly to our “things,”— our rights, preferences, identities, belongings, traditions, societal influences, followers, feelings, reputations, labels, and on and on—we forget that self-denial is a requirement for growth.
The natural world reminds us there are seasons for a reason. The branch that clings too tightly to its leaves eventually breaks under the weight of the heavy winter snow. Perhaps it did not realize it could not bear the weight of what was coming; however, our heavenly Father designed it in the way that was best. Are the evergreens envious of the Autumn leaves that blend with the sunset in declaring the glory of God? I do not know for sure. But I imagine they are grateful for their gentle coverings when those other branches lay barren in the dead of winter.
Each has a purpose, and each has a plan. We were not created to look around and compare ourselves to others. The Lord did not design us to be comfortable or happy, but to be obedient. And we are not all asked to surrender the same thing at the same time. Our sacrifices must be given as they are required of us, not before or after or at our own bidding.
Our Father knows best…
He is the Potter, we are merely clay. Our job is simply to stay soft in His hands, allowing Him to shape us as He sees fit for the purposes only He knows.
Sure, we can cling to our leaves if we want to, kicking and screaming about what we want and how we feel. Or we can embrace the process, open our hands, and allow Him to amaze us with the kind of beauty and joy found only in releasing these moments into His hands.
To me, Fall is all about joyful surrender.
About letting go.
And in all these things, it’s also about HOPE.
If you want to read more about surrender, here are a couple other blog posts to check out: