Falling for Fall

Fall is a challenging time for me.

You see, I love Summer.

Oh, Spring is nice. It’s exciting to watch the world wake up. It’s great to rediscover relationships with neighbors and friends whom we only saw from beneath our hats and scarves while operating snowblowers or shovels. I enjoy planting flowers and seeds, digging in the dirt and watching things begin to bloom.

But Summer. Ahhh…the sun shines down it’s warmth and life is more relaxed somehow. People look for excuses to spend time together. Friendships are made or strengthened around picnic tables, bonfires, or lounging on the back deck. Fairs, Festivals and Farmer’s Markets are everywhere. I love Summer.
So as the leaves begin to change and temperatures begin to cool I begin to panic.

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This year I wondered what stirs up these feelings in me. After all, there is much about Fall I am fond of.

The colors are brilliant.

The scents are delicious.

The flavors of pumpkin, apples and spice are wonderful.

Why the melancholy?

I began to realize that in my mind I have been skipping over Fall and worrying about Winter.

And then a verse came to mind:

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.        Matthew 6:34

Instead of enjoying the fun of Fall every year I dread the cold weather and snow (both of which I am not fond) that are ahead. I worry about something months away so I don’t enjoy the beauty all around me.

I realized I do this in my personal life as well.

Sometimes I worry about problems in life that may never materialize and I begin to despair. By looking ahead at what challenges may present themselves in the future I am pulled away from the blessings of today.

And it steals my peace.

This year I’m working on enjoying the beauty of the changing colors and the crunch of the leaves under my feet. I’m breathing in the sweet smells and relishing the special flavors that are only available this time of year.

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And I’m not worrying about the “s” word right now. The ground will be white soon enough. I don’t need to rush it. Who knows, perhaps this year I can find something to enjoy about Winter as well.

What is your favorite season?

Do you share similar struggles with the changing seasons?

Blessings and peace to you this beautiful Fall day…
Paula

It’s Not A Competition

When will I learn that life is not a competition? Sure, there are many who would like us to believe that it is. Our world pushes us up the ladder of success, telling us to climb our way to the top even if it means stepping on others in the process. Social media has added a new dimension to the ladder as we see the accomplishments of friends and strangers (embellished or not) in photos and status updates day after day.

Unfortunately our faith in God does not make us immune to the challenge and  even in Christian circles we see people lifted up for their abilities as authors, speakers and musicians. While this whole concept is fodder for a separate conversation the fact remains that wherever we go we are faced with the idea of ‘measuring up’.  Jealousy often rears its ugly head when we feel like we don’t.

This is not the way God desires us to live, but it’s not a surprise to Him either. After all, the first person born on earth was so jealous he killed his own brother out of a jealous rage. (See Genesis Chapter 4)

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The saddest part of this story to me is that Cain believed God liked Abel better and favored him when the truth is that God wanted them each to give the best out of what they were given. God wasn’t asking Cain to measure up to Abel. He only desired Cain to give the best of his own gifts for the glory of God.

This has always been a challenge for me from trying as a young girl to measure up to my sister’s ability on the piano to watching people change to living healthy lifestyles and others who develop successful ministries.

God has given me many gifts and talents yet I still find myself looking at others and lamenting that I can’t be more like them. It may be silly but at times it is reality for me, and I suspect for many of you as well. I see posts of others’ activities, book promotions, speaking engagements, service projects and athletic endeavors and question how I’ve spent my day/week/weekend.

At these times I need to remind myself that there is nothing wrong with questioning my accomplishments or how I’ve spent my time IF I am measuring myself against God’s desires for me, not against others. It’s important to remember what God says in Colossians 3:23-24:

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.

It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 

I want to encourage you to look within, not around you when you deciding if you ‘measure-up’. Ask God to show you where you’re doing your best for Him and not how you compare to others. I know you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see how your perspective changes. really measure up

God longs for each of us to see how we fit into the puzzle of life. Each piece is different yet very important. The puzzle isn’t complete until they all fit together. If we try to be someone else’s piece the puzzle will lack our unique part.

Wishing you peace in life’s puzzle… Paula