Re-Opening: an internal reflection during an outward time of change

It’s a unique time. Some call August the beginning of the end of summer (only true if you have kids…), and while we look towards September and all the questions of the fall, we are still in the weeks of summer sunshine and freedom

Which, naturally, means that it is time for me to take some time and lean into this in-between time called August and think.

I don’t know if this is a me thing or everyone does this, but every so often I find myself longing to re-evaluate my life. I have an overwhelming need to look at where I’m at, what I’ve done, and where I’m going. Maybe it’s the list maker in me or the side of me obsessed with controlling my own future, or maybe it’s the part of me that is absolutely terrified to wake up one day and feel like I’ve wasted my life…whatever it is, these last 2 weeks have been the perfect catalyst for me to sit and think about the next few years.

Truthfully, I also probably find myself revisiting my lists and goals more often than I intend to because God has a sneaky way of nudging me (maybe shoving when I’m being particularly stubborn) towards the next right step forward. So I took some time and looked at my 30-by-30 list. If you’ve been around this blog for a few years, you might remember me talking about my 25-by-25 list on my 25th birthday. Making these time sensitive lists help me break down things I can try to do to move in the direction I want to go. They also force me to a. think bigger than I normally would, b. break out larger goals into smaller steps, and c. remind myself to do fun things, too.

Looking at the next 1.5 years before I turn 30, my main goal is that I want to be moving towards being a person who loves deeply, gives generously, and moves in wisdom, strength, integrity, and honesty to further the kingdom of God.

Getting there is … a little daunting. But I hope that I will move towards it with lots of grace, holding some of these things with open hands – if I’ve learned anything in the last 3.5 years it’s that anything can happen.

If you’d like to look at my updated 30-by-30 list you can find it here. One of my goals is to live a more open/transparent life which is why you’re getting this fairly short little post about it! 

Wishing you all the best as we run through the fields of August into everything the fall is holding for us.

Falling into Fall

When I was in  university, there were a couple people I knew who were slightly obsessed with John Mayer’s song Stop this Train  (kind of depressing IMO). It’s a sentiment I think we all feel at some point — we see our life seemingly passing us by oh so quickly and we can’t do anything to stop it. I feel like this feeling especially hits right about now as “summer winds down” and we head into the fall season. I’ve heard a lot of remorse and wistfulness over the last few weeks as we come up upon September!

But I can’t say that I agree this year. I loved summer, yes. And don’t get me wrong, I don’t look forward to the cold, short days ahead, but fall for me means other things. Summer is full of  adventures and spur of the moments, long days and late nights, sunshine and camp, cottages and vacations (ok I don’t have a cottage but I’m painting a picture, ok?). It is freedom and the reminder that things can happen out of the ordinary routine of my life and that those things can add colour and vibrancy to what had seemed dull and boring.

Adventures are great but if all I’m living for is the moments on the end I’ll miss out on the things in between – and there is a lot more in between than there is large events. Fall is the reminder that those in betweens have value and that the living of those parts can also bring joy. It is a time that reminds me to reflect on what I’ve done. It’s a reset for me more than January is; a time to form new habits and to take stock of what I’ve done in the last year. A chance to look forward again to what I want to accomplish. Like ACTUALLY learning new testament Greek for real (and not just getting through chapter 2 for the 5th time…).

Fall isn’t the hectic back-to-school season. I mean, I’m a single 20 something who lives at home. No season is hectic. Fall is a great expanse of slightly cooler weather, beautiful colours, and being thankful for the good times I’ve had. It’s reflections. It’s growth (ironically as the plants die). It’s a reminder to take time to just relax and be. It’s time to re-centre my life on Christ and remember that while he was with me in my adventures and spontaneity, he is also here in the day-to-day, journeying with me through all of my life.

Summer is a great season, but fall is too. And I really don’t think we should lament that summer is gone and reluctantly face the new season and the “negative” repercussions on our lives.So while I love the idea of living somewhere where it’s always warm…where I can be outside all year round without a jacket, I’m thankful to be in a place where I have physical seasons to remind me of different things.

Ecclesiastes  (one of my favourite books of the Bible) Chapter 3 starts with:

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

 

While we all enter the seasons known as the harvest, here are few questions I’m pondering and encourage you to consider as well as we fall, ever so lightly, into fall.

What “season” are you entering? What are you leaving?
What good things did God bless you with this summer? What did he gently teach you?
Where are you going? What do you want to do?
Who is God shaping you to be? What parts of your life is he calling you to examine or grow in?
Are there habits and practices you want to change or adopt?
What are things you’re thankful for that you get to enjoy right now?
How can you make the routines you have in fall be joyful, fulfilling, and Christ-centred?
How can you live redeemed this fall?