Waking up early on a fall morning is perhaps one of the most treasured moments of my day.
You see, waking up early doesn’t always happen for me. I love to sleep and often hit snooze on my alarm and give myself “just ten more minutes” before I get up and going each morning. I’m not necessarily a night owl either — I just truly love to sleep. My husband, on the other hand, is a morning person. He wakes up before dawn to begin his morning routine and has always enjoyed starting his day before everyone else wakes. Whenever I begin to complain about not having enough time to read my devotional or finish my work, his response is always a gentle reminder that if I woke up earlier, I might not feel quite as rushed throughout the day.
So, I’ve been giving it a go. With my husband’s help, I’ve been trying to form a new habit and wake up as he gets ready to walk out the door each morning, around 5:15 (he sets his alarm before 5:00 and I’m just not there yet!). One of my favorite ways to start the morning is to slip on my rain boots and wrap myself in my housecoat to take a stroll around our house. The crisp air enfolds and awakens me to the start of a new day.
It is in these early moments of the day that I notice how the world is transforming before me. The rooster crow is the only sound in the still, fall air. The morning sky is like a watercolor painting, with colors peacefully mixing into shades of blue, pink, and orange. The dew covers the grass, the garden, the gate. I notice the grapefruit skin beginning to turn from green to yellow as it hangs on the tree, almost ready to be picked. The sunflowers in the backfield are growing up, up, up with dove flying overhead. In the fields beside us, I smell the rich muskiness of the peanut soil and see sprinkles of white cotton ready for picking.
Fall is a season of transformation.
Not only is nature transforming from the colorful, dry days of summer to the cool shades of fall, but our bodies are also cycling through an organic ebb and flow of change that serves to harmonize and create balance within us. These changes are usually influenced by the seasons themselves: hours of daylight, foods that are abundant at particular times of the year, weather patterns, and seasonally inspired activities. While we welcome the change that fall brings, we still often struggle to adapt to this change and finding new rhythms that work with our daily living.
For instance, fall is such a fun season for family outings like attending football games, visiting the pumpkin patch, and dressing up in costumes for fall festivals. But how do we create margin within our schedules to plan time for these events while still getting the work completed at the office or at home? Sometimes it is so easy to feel behind when we take time off to spend with our families. How can we be fully present with our people instead of distracted by our never-ending to-do list?
Or, maybe we want to trim up this fall, particularly in the areas of our health and finances. How can we enjoy the flavors of fall like pecan pie and pumpkin spice without going overboard on calories? How do we save money when it feels like we are spending money on family outings every weekend?
One more. Perhaps we really want to commit to joining a small group, doing an online Bible study, or participate in a personal wellness class. But, we find our schedules constantly changing and these goals falling to a lower level on our priority list. We know we are drained but how do we make more time for personal wellness?
How do we start life all over again in the crispness of fall?
Embrace the Harvest.
By embracing the harvest, we begin to accept the abundance of the season. We recognize that this is a season of surplus. Psalm 31:19 shares, “How abundant are the good things that You have stored up for those who fear You, that You bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in You.” God desires to abundantly show His love to us and fall is such a display of His works. He wants you to experience pleasure with your people by enjoying the pumpkin patch and walking through a park full of trees with colorful leaves.
2. Plant Yourself
As we embrace the harvest, we can’t help but get filled up. If your fall schedule is overwhelming your soul, take notice. Notice how your commitments affect your mood and your mental clarity. Are you frustrated and tired? Typically when we feel overwhelmed or exhausted, this leads to choices that we might later feel guilty about, like ordering fast food instead of cooking at home. Fall is a great time to begin to set new habits and boundaries within your daily routine, which helps us tremendously with fighting off fatigue. Try to intentionally make space in your schedule to savor time alone with the Lord. Maybe this is waking up a few minutes early for a morning walk, or perhaps it is a Sunday afternoon nestled in a reading chair with a blanket. Having grounded time to plant yourself in the Word will help you find your focus and organize your days well. The Lord says in Psalm 32:8, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My loving eye on you.”
3. Practice Gratitude
I know, I know, the concept of giving thanks can seem quite standard and traditional but we hear it over and over again in the fall because it.actually.works. Our hearts are literally transformed into a posture of praise when we thank God for all He has given us. Allow your thankfulness to begin a conversation between you and God throughout your day. Savor the season by noticing the crisp air in the morning, the smell of cinnamon and spice on the stove, and the beauty of the earth. The practice of gratitude draws your heart near to God, which then directs your body and mind to make decisions that give Him glory. Gratitude is truly a timeless statement of faith.
Autumn is a fleeting season of adaptation that leads to transformation. At the beginning of the fall season, it’s totally normal to feel overwhelmed, ready for change, but unsure how you will fit everything into your schedule and enjoy the activities you desire for yourself and family. This is a season that is both full of planting and receiving the bounty before us. As we give thanks for what we have received and make changes to our daily habits, we are preparing ourselves for the hibernation that will soon happen during the winter months. Life does begin again in the fall. May we receive the abundance of the season so that we can be transformed within.