Shedding, Preparing, Replacing

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Fall. We look forward to so much about this time of year: the vibrancy of the leaves, the crisp air, how it seems to make everyone gather closer. There’s a certain consistency and rhythm about the fall that we’re drawn to and expect as the season approaches. But as the leaves began to change, I felt the season revealing itself in an unfamiliar way that seemed oddly relevant to this particular stage of my life. 

You see, I’m learning more and more these days that life with the Lord is a continuous and beautiful process of Him stripping us of the things we think we need. Initially, I didn’t see the beauty. Actually, I found it quite annoying. If I’m being honest, I’ve always walked into this process as if it were a battle, ready to fight for what I want. My stubbornness was blinding, keeping me from recognizing the profound joy that exists underneath the struggle. It wasn’t until I saw a physical manifestation of this beauty that my heart understood. 

I was anxiously awaiting the first signs of fall as I always do—jumping at every partially orange tree or squealing at the random red leaf on the sidewalk—when something struck me. Just as a distinct, vivid color appears when the trees strip themselves of their leaves, so is the vibrancy that’s born when the Lord strips us of these things our hearts are so sure we deserve. 

I’ve been exhausted from fighting for a long time. How refreshing to know the tension or anxiety I feel about whether I’m going to get what I want can actually be replaced by confidence in His work. Fall has its role, so that new, abundant life can come in the spring. In a similar way, the Lord isn’t just taking these things away from me, but He’s actually preparing me for what’s to come. He’s colorfully and lovingly shedding me of these things that no longer serve a purpose, that are dead, to make room for new life. 

Now I see that it’s in these places, where it’s simply us and the Lord, that we’re exposed to His divine nature most clearly. It’s here we have the opportunity to experience the rich color and brilliance he adds to our life. It’s in this uncomfortable, vulnerable state that the Lord overwhelms us with His goodness and clothes us with His grace. In fact, something beautiful does happen—we understand our desperate need for Him.