fall 2013

I love fall. Football, candles, cider…the smell of dried leaves…amazing colors of the trees… Looking out my window, there is a band of orange, red, green and yellow dividing the lake and the mountain range above it. It’s absolutely stunning.

Fall is an opportunity to slow down a bit (well, at least mentally); to make moments with family, take time to appreciate nature, enjoy a good book. Change is inevitable in life, and while it can cause some to falter a bit, we can learn how to embrace it by taking in and fully appreciating the seasons around us.

Driving past the scarlet branches this morning, I was grateful for the brightness in the fog – God does that in every season, you know…makes things beautiful in the gloom. Colors in the fall, flowers in the spring. The bright sun in June and shimmering ice and snow when all else had died or gone to sleep.

This autumn I am celebrating a season of loss – just as the leaves fall away, so have some of my relationships, bad habits, memories, and attitudes and beliefs, that no longer serve me. While it is cold, and a little gloomy, I can celebrate because I know that God works ALL things to good for those who love Him. Where the old has fallen away, I am aware that healing and restoration comes in the winter, and new life in the spring. What dies today will bring beautiful buds of restoration, newness and completion…

What can you give to the wind today? What in your life no longer serves a purpose, and can be let go in exchange for healing, or creation of margin for something new? Reflect on its color, appreciate the beauty of its time of serving you, say goodbye…

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to reap; 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 gain, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silent and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

 

 

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embraced and regulated.

One of the most valuable elements of community is accountability.

Often when we hear the word community, what comes to mind are our cities… neighborhoods…we take a broader perspective. In these communities, we are held to a standard by laws, governed by our local elected officials, and regulated by police. To take action against these laws results in consequences, with those which bring fear and chaos to the community at large (like murder); are held to a higher level of consequence.

On a more intimate level, we have the community of family. Friends. Work. Our church.

It is here where accountability affects each one of us on a deeper level, potentially bringing life, and life-change, to those who fully embrace the community in which they are planted.

I remember years ago when a woman from our church cared enough to take me out to lunch and help me learn from a mistake I had made. It wasn’t earth-shattering, but the consequences of continuing to communicate in the way that I had, would have dampened my ability to grow, potentially caused others to stumble, and ultimately lessen the effectiveness of my testimony. It wasn’t easy at the time, but as the years have passed I have continued to look at her for direction and example.

When we embrace community, we give ourselves, and one another, permission to succeed and flourish. When we choose not to honor our position to one another, we can rob the atmosphere of peace, set a stage for tension and unforgiveness, even damage someone else’s capacity to achieve the very potential we are called to nurture and protect.

There have been times I have felt the need to address certain situations, not so much that they directly affected me, but they harmed someone I valued, or the the person themselves. Fruitful confrontation needs to happen from a position of love.  A more complacent stance will stop that flow of love; it stagnates growth, both at a micro and macro level.

We are designed for relationship, for community. It is here that we find our value, our potential, are able to grow in our strengths, identify weakness, and link arms in love. Not always easy, but always worth it, embrace the community you have and let them embrace you. Life change is on its way.

 

black holes and re-posts

Being on Facebook most of my waking hours in between classes at the partnership, sitting in the car waiting for kids, “watching” cartoons, etc. Honestly, it’s a bit of a life-saver for me. I have noticed, however, a significant increase in snarky comments and assumptive observations. Myself included, to be honest. I certainly can understand getting irritated at some people’s endless positions that don’t line up with mine. There is a hide button for a reason.

From a sociological perspective, social media is an interesting thing. We invite people to be our “friend,” then we begin to pick apart everything they post based on our own personal filters, agendas or preferences. Interesting at best.

If these people add enough value to our lives to be let in on our daily events and moments, one might assume their opinion to hold a little bit of weight. This would not seem the case, more often than not, and subsequently we have turned our request to join our lives as merely another area where we can feel superior and entitled to judge someone else’s life or motives.

Shocking.

“They just want attention.”

“They want to show off.”

“Can’t they get enough of themselves?”

Well…if they value you enough to add you to their world, perhaps your opinion DOES matter. We ALL like to gain support, feel encouraged, feel valued, especially when sharing parts of our lives that we feel define us. The person who shares “too much drama” might be crying out for help. Perhaps the person who posts a ton of pictures of their kids really places value on who they are in their lives. Possibly that friend who re-posts nearly everything doesn’t feel their own words are sufficient.

At the end of the day, life and relationships are hard enough without subjective and assumptive opinions between friends. Between human beings. While it’s certainly easy and oftentimes, extremely self-gratifying, to elevate ourselves above others, in the end we really just miss out on authentic relationship, peaceful spirits, and we only further the negative energy that already prevails in our culture.

Competition is only valuable if it propels further excellence. All others forms create a chasm. Gonna work on avoiding that black hole today…And certainly making my postings more “socially acceptable” and “friend-pleasing.” 🙂

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