Sunday, November 2, 2014

If leaves could talk

I love this time of year in Oklahoma.  We tend to have extreme temps that bring either a quick end to summer with the cold temps or an extended summer leading into December with no mild season transition. But one thing is for sure...we have awesome sunrises and sunsets each day.

When fall actually comes with all of its colors a blazin', I can't help but be appreciative of the most brilliant display in the trees, the leaves, the flowering mums, the pumpkins as we prepare for the season ahead.

Today I was taking in the color and just praising God that through all the changes, He never does. Our God is so faithful. When I looked at the leaves waving good-bye in the gentle breeze I was just in amazement of the wonder of God.  I lingered a bit with awe at the hand-painted portrait of God's mighty creation. I wanted to enjoy His presence in those moments.  Then the Spirit quickened my spirit to know that really the leaves where just submitting to the Creator's process. He reminded me of what fall really was.

Not only is fall beautiful with a colorful canvas, but it's time of change, of transition, and of relaxing. Fall is a forced rest. As pretty as the leaves are, they will eventually fall on the ground, turn brown and be swiftly blown away by wind to collect in fence corners or just float in the breeze. 

Soon the very leaves that I was looking at would be gone, leaving trees bare, stark and exposed. The naked trunk will be exposed to the weather, the harsh elements, and the north winds full of snow.   This is the growing cycle of the tree. As the tree rests, the fruit of the spring is prepared in the rest or dormant season. It looks like everything is dead, but on the inside there is much growth.

The same growth cycle can happen in our spiritual lives as well. It's a process that happens in our hearts. Fall brings a natural and necessary time of pruning, cleaning or shedding of things that we have allowed in our lives. The process of resting is needed to drop, let go of or simply rest.  We need to prepare for the season ahead.

We know we need this but yet are afraid to enter a rest for fear of being stagnant.

Resting adds great value in letting God produce His fruit in us. There are seasons to bear fruit yes, but there has to be a season to give rest to the process that God uses to bear in us His fruit of the Spirit.

Trust the process. 

How often does time get in the way of letting God develop His gifts in us? Who of you thinks you are running out of time to do what God has called you to do? If you are rushing from idea to idea you are rushing yourself out of God's will with your own agenda and plans versus waiting upon God to develop, renew or rest the gifts He has planted inside of you.

Have you let the fear of productivity get in the way of resting? Don't worry, God knows exactly what He has put inside of you to use for His glory. Do you really think that He would forget that you sing with a heart of pure worship every Sunday from the pew? Or that you encouraged a friend in a way that she needed and have the gift of listening when no one else will? He hasn't forgotten that inspiring message you sent to a missionary either. 

When your desires to please the Father with the gifts that He has placed in your hands don't show up on your blog numbers page are you discouraged? Yeah, me too.

There are so many fears that get in the way of resting.

What really gets in the way is our need to feel man's approval instead of trusting God with the gifts He so lovingly placed in the appropriate seasons. Oh if only the leaves could talk and tell you that they are ready to rest.

It's been a long dry summer and that really is the result of a enduring season on limited water supplies, and hot summer winds brushing by. And it's been one that has taught patience and perseverance. So even though the resting feels unproductive, the pruning seems to fit awkward, or the letting go seems unwarranted, we have to trust the process of how God has laid out in our seasons of growth.

What we can relentlessly pursue and agree with is that God's processes are always faithful and fruitful, timely and perfectly planned, in season and out.  " I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn't produce fruit and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me." John 15:1-4

Trust the rest process. Change brings growth, seasons change. Growth brings change. Change brings much needed rest. Keep pursuing God, let God pursue you. Allow Him to paint a new portrait on your canvas. Let go of your “leaves” with hopes of getting new brilliant fruit. God wants to do a new work in you. Will you let Him?

Our lives are the most beautiful when we are submitted to God's processes in any season.
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