Earlier this week I was standing on our back steps while our two dogs ran wildly around the yard and I looked up and saw the sky filled with falling leaves. (We live in the south so for my northern readers.. sorry y’all are already freezing your behinds off!) I started to wonder why the trees had to make such an awful mess of my backyard, why couldn’t they just keep their leaves and by default I no longer rake endlessly? I wondered exactly what would happen if a tree didn’t shed all of its leaves when the weather got cooler so I googled.
(If you have a better understanding of trees than I do you may not find my 3rd grade explanation helpful but if you know zilch about trees like me… read on.)
Interestingly, I found out that trees need to shed their leaves for many reasons but one in particular stood out to me. In order for a tree to have the nutrients it needs to sustain winter it drains all the leaves of their nutrients and stores that away as a reserve when this happens the leaves turn crisp and they no longer serve the tree. Even then the wind does not simply blow the leaves off.. there is an intricate process where the tree actually cuts loose each individual leaf.
If the tree decided not to cut loose the leaves and held onto them the tree would carry extra weight all winter and on top of that when spring came back around the leaves would not provide the nutrients the tree needs to survive so the tree would also die.
After I learned exactly why I had to continue to rake my backyard I was in awe of two things:
- How specific and detailed God designs are.
- How God can show up in extremely unlikely places to meet with us.
I stood outside a while longer and thought about how surely it would be more comfortable for the tree to keep its leaves. A nice full summer tree is so gorgeous, especially when compared to a bare, dark, skinny winter tree all nakey from fall. In the same way I’m reminded that it’s difficult for me to let go of the way I think things should be.
I long to stay wrapped in warm and snuggly comfort. However, just like fall comes and pushes the trees into the next season God asks me to remove things from my life that cannot follow me into the places He is calling me to.
In certain seasons of my life that meant friends.. people who I had grown up with and shared all my younger memories with. There was a time when God called us in different directions.. that was hard.
In more recent seasons it has been the way I think my life should look… that’s harder. Shaking certain leaves off of our trees makes us feel vulnerable but for God to make something brand new the old has to first die off.
Isaiah 43:18-19 says it like this:
“The Lord says, “forget what happened before, and do not think about the past. Look at the new thing I am going to do. It is already happening. Don’t you see it? I will make a road in the desert and rivers in dry land.”
I love this particular promise because it speaks to the place in my heart that likes to jump ship when things don’t seem to be working out the way I think they should. “Forget what happened before” to me is just as good as the Lord saying to me “this isn’t like the last time” and when you’ve been fighting the same battle for years it’s hard to muster up the faith to believe that at any moment break though could happen.
On Tuesday we go back to the clinic to see if this second round of treatments resulted in a miracle and I’m praying God shows up in a way that says “I’m making a road in the desert.” but I realize there is a 50/50 chance He will say “You do not understand what I am doing now but you will understand later.” John 13:7
The truth is His way is loving, kind and best. My way is self serving and even though I have good intentions my way is surely underwhelming compared to the author of the universe. So either way we will praise him.
But this idea of letting go of my plans reminds me that there’s still several areas of my life where I am clinging to comfort even though my way isn’t necessarily producing the kind of fruit I am seeking. Maybe you too?
What are some leaves you could shake before 2019?
Maybe you want to get fit but you’ve been here before.. you have a long list of resolutions that have yet to see a check mark next to them. Year after year you write out “lose weight” and year after year you quit before you get any traction. I challenge you to allow space in your heart for the same scripture that I am leaning on while waiting for a family, “forget what happened before and do not think about the past.” Forgive yourself for not keeping your word to yourself and believe again.
If you want to get fit, pay off debt, change jobs, change your life- don’t recommit to the same old way of thinking.. that hasn’t exactly panned out so far, right? It’s time for a NEW THING.
Step 1: Admit you failed… big whoop, you’re still alive- you get another chance!
Step 2: Forgive yourself for mentally beating yourself up over said failure.
Step 3: Write out exactly what you want in specific detail and decide what action steps you’ll have to take to get there.
Step 4: Get around the right people. People who are not going where you are headed likely wont know the way.
Step 5: Be verbal & visual about your goal. (you need to drown your unbelief.)
This weekend my husband and I spent time specifically mapping out our goals for 2019, we made a vision board and for the past several months we have been seeking out wisdom and knowledge in the areas where we want to see growth. We did it now because we couldn’t wait until Jan 1 to game plan or we would not be able to get the jump on our goals.
Same goes for you if you want to get fit you better get a game plan together right now otherwise you’re going to wake up next spring with the same old unfit leaves from this year.
Let’s commit together to not carrying around a ton of dead extra weight in 2019 (both mentally and physically) We are going to have to do some things differently, we won’t be able to hunker down into old comfortable behaviors.
We have some leaves to shake.
See ya next Sunday,