If you did a quick internet search, I bet you could find a million blog posts extoling the virtues of autumn. People love fall, man. Decorative gourds! Pumpkin spice lattes! Putting your duvet back on your bed! Wearing scarves and sweaters again! Leaves turning yellow and red! I love all of these things too. As well as: thanksgiving, the start of hockey season and turning the clocks back for an extra hour of sleep.
The fall brings a feeling of newness to our lives, doesn’t it? Turning over. Picking things up where we left off last May or June. Normally my birthday rolls around at the end of August and I can’t wait for September and everything to start. But this year I’m coming into this season feeling tired. Summer was wonderful, full of joy and laughter, but it took a lot out of me. Coming home from Africa took a lot out of me. I’ve been wrestling with big questions since I’ve been back. Questions like, ”What is my life really about anyway?” or ”God what do you want from me????” It’s good to think and pray through these things. It’s good to let God re-shape your identity and show you more of His character. It’s good to let Him pry your fingers loose from the story you’ve written for your life. But it’s also spiritually and emotionally exhausting.
While everything is starting up again this fall I’m approaching it with my same old weary heart. And it’s not just me. Nearly everyone I know is going through something. Sick loved ones, faith being tested, extreme busy-ness, being called to more accountability and integrity. I threw down my journal last night in exasperation and complained to my roommate, ”There are too many people to pray for! It’s overwhelming!”
There are too many people to pray for. There are too many tasks to finish. There are too many things to accomplish. There are too many lessons to learn. And if I try to do everything myself, I will fail. I don’t have any strength left anyway. I keep going back to John 15, where Jesus talks about being the true vine. He compares us to branches that can’t bear fruit on our own, who need pruning. And he also says, ”Apart from me you can do nothing.”
The great thing about this is that there are never too many people for Jesus. He doesn’t get overwhelmed with us. Our neediness, failures and brokenness are never too much for him to handle. His power is made perfect in our weakness. He wants us to come to him, weary and burdened so that he can give us rest. He wants us to abide in his love so we can bear fruit. So that our joy may be complete.
Look, I don’t want to give you the impression that I have learned this lesson completely and implemented it perfectly in my life. I think that learning to depend on Jesus for strength is a long and sometimes painful process that He takes each one of us through in different ways. And I am convinced that we will never get it perfectly right, this side of heaven. I am constantly trying and failing to do it all on my own. But in this season of falling leaves and pumpkin spice lattes, I have been made keenly aware of my own fallibility and seen his love and faithfulness in response.
Fall is here, you guys. Everything is starting. And I am weak but he is strong.