It is officially fall. Summer is past, autumn is here. In
San Diego that means hot and dry fire season. Today it means thunderstorms and
humidity and 90 degrees predicted for the next week. But that doesn’t stop me
from pulling out my autumn décor and arranging my pumpkins and mums and vanilla chai scented candles throughout the house. I may not be making soup yet and
I haven’t dusted off my boots or pulled my sweaters from the shelf, but I am
ready for the new season and a change of direction in my life. I am calling
this a time of “settling in.”
For the past ten months I have been in a season I call “auto
pilot.” Upon reflection, I realize how
disconnected I have been in many areas of my life. I have had discord in certain areas and
haven’t had time to pause or think, nor time to sleep, rest or reflect. This has not been a fun, comfortable, or easy
place. But for the past two months I have been attempting to identify some
trigger points and fine tune what I deem important and essential in my life.
You have probably been there. We say we have priorities like faith, family, and
friends-- but our daily lives, actions, and schedules don’t reflect that
those are the most important to us. Looking back on my years of battling
cancer, I remember clearly the heightened sense of maximizing life. Besides the necessities of doctor
appointments, scans, treatments and surgeries, everything else was about family
and friends. I put the trivial and the
boring on the back burner and focused on the joy of living and loving. And
then, when I was declared cancer free on September 8, 2014, the busy and
mundane began to ooze back in….slowly and secretly they seduced their way
throughout my schedule and I lost sight of my priorities yet again. It happens.
I can’t beat myself up about it (though I do). We go through cycles when
circumstances veer us off course and we lose our way. I went there.
I didn’t like it. So now I am in a season of settling in, of working my way
into getting myself back on track into what is important and what is essential.
It takes time. It takes energy. It takes reflection. It takes Jesus. I can’t do
it alone. For alone I will fail. Every. Time. It is a daily settling in with
Jesus to center me and redirect me and remind me of how little I really need
and how so much is non essential.
Many of us have heard of Psalm 23. It is a common passage
recited at funerals because it is a song of comfort. It is a poem of praise and
hope. But it is not just as a reminder during death. It is one to be reminded
of daily in LIFE.
It starts like this:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
Another translation is: The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.
The rest of the psalm is lovely and comforting and reminds
us of God’s steadfast and unfailing love. But right now as I am “settling in” I
am focusing on verse one.
The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.
Stop. That’s it. I have all I need in Christ. He is sufficient.
His death on the cross. His resurrection. I have all I need. In Him. Period.
As I move into this fall season, I am in a phase of
transition. My son Noah is away at college. My son Micah is turning sixteen,
getting his license and a job, and is entering a period of more independence.
My husband and I are adjusting to a life that is less hectic on the home front.
There is change on the horizon with work. I am prioritizing my focus when it
comes to the areas I am most passionate about and where to serve and spend my
time. I saw a great quote this last week that sums up what I am reflecting on
during this “paring down, whittling away” season of settling in. It says, “Banish this word ‘busy’ from your
vocabulary and ask instead, ‘Is it meaningful?’” Omid Safi.
I am the first to admit that I have a busy schedule. I am
often too stretched and pulled and feel like I am not doing one thing well. Not
one. But as I settle in, I want to focus on not being busy, not being
stretched, but doing life with meaning. And that means slowing down, stripping
things away, getting to the core of what is essential and important. If I say
that faith, family and friends are my priority, is that reflected in my words,
my actions, and my life choices? I want to say yes. I often live out NO.
So today, on this first official day of fall, I am going to
sip my Hawaiian blend coffee, light my chestnut spice candle, write in my
journal, and reflect on the essentials in my life. I may be a hot mess of
busy-ness next week, but for today, I choose quiet reflection. Today I choose
faith, family and friends. Today I sit in the joy of knowing that Jesus is my
shepherd and he is truly all I need. Period.
I am settling in. To the quiet. The peace. It is a new season. Rejoice.