For every season

I am unabashedly a fall person. I was born in late September, and grew up to love football on Sunday afternoons and hot apple crisp. I love bringing my flannel shirts and cozy sweaters out of storage, love the crunch of leaves and the smell of spiced cider and the cheery sight of pumpkins on doorsteps.

I yearn, somewhere in the midst of the sweltering days of August, for cool mornings and chilly evenings.

Usually, that is.

But not so much this year.

This year, as the days are getting shorter and the temperatures are beginning their descent, I find myself getting anxious. And not the normal kind of anxious that I have felt for the last two years, at the start of the Chicago winter season, knowing that I’ll be scraping my windshield for what seems like forever and convincing my dog to let me wrap her in a winter coat.

This year, my anxiety has another layer to it. I am worried about the isolation and the fear of the next six months; worried about how bad things could get with the flu and the coronavirus; worried about how I’ll feel when I can’t have a social life outside and safely-distanced from my friends, but have to go back indoors and feel isolated.

This year, I have held on to summer with an iron grip, a grasping and desperately-clenched fist.

But, like so much else in life, I can’t control the change of the seasons. I know that fall is coming; as surely as the sun rises and sets each day, the leaves will start to turn soon. So where does that leave me?

Alone with my worries?

Maybe not.

In my daily Bible reading – attempting to make it through both Testaments in one year – I now find myself in Proverbs. It’s not a quick read, but lengthy chapters of theological and philosophical sayings, like “Better is a dinner of vegetables where love is than a fatted ox and hatred with it” (15:17).

But in the midst of all those sayings, one theme has come up time and again: discipline. Not as in punishment, but discipline as in a habit; a consistent practice. Something you do every day, so that it becomes second-nature. In Proverbs, the discipline we are encouraged to take up is searching for wisdom and seeking after God. Trying to go deeper and grow stronger in our discipleship journey.

I think that is the key, as we get into a season that is a little darker and a little harder: consistency.

Consistency in discipleship, in prayer and reading scripture and seeking the church community.

Consistency in relationship, in talking to God and family, friends and dear ones.

Consistency in grace and understanding for ourselves.

Consistency in care, for our own bodies and spirits, and for those around us.

So much is changing; so much already has. And most of that is out of our control. But not all of it.

In every season, summer or winter, spring or fall; in times of ease and times of challenge; in joy and in hardship, we can lean into these disciplines of discipleship, and trust that God will meet us there.

2 thoughts on “For every season

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