I’ve always had a special love and appreciation for Autumn. In the Spring, there’s new life, and everything begins to turn green. That’s a special kind of beauty after a long winter, but there’s something about Autumn that connects to the depths of my soul in a unique way.

I love everything about Autumn. The dropping temperatures aren’t quite frigid yet. The pumpkins. The leaves. The colors. The smell of rain. The gatherings around a fire, whether to roast marshmallows or to just spend time together. Things begin to die off or go dormant. Yet this beautiful time of year seems to pass by before I’ve had a chance to truly appreciate it. This year, the Lord has used the coming of Autumn to remind me to slow down.

When I was in school, I always felt like I was drowning in homework at this time of year. During winter break, there would always be a lull in the rhythm of work and an opportunity for stillness; this always seemed so far off in October, when every fiber of my being desired to be outside in creation. This is the first October that I have no homework since I’m no longer in school. The rhythms of work and life now are different, but there’s always the temptation to allow the things around me to distract me from taking time to be still. I thought it would be easier to be intentional when I didn’t have midterms, but my schedule is fuller than ever.

I also love worshipping through action. I want to spend time in the presence of my God in silence and solitude while cultivating a garden or organizing something. But stillness? Yeah, I’d rather not. I want to be productive. I want to be moving – doing. I like to listen to Scripture or liturgies while I’m doing other work. I like to pray while I clean. These can be good things, but sometimes I need to stop moving. More often than not, I move too much to notice what’s happening around me —so focused on my life, my plans, my responsibilities, my stress. Me, me, me.

A wise woman once suggested that every person needs to have silence, solitude and stillness with the Lord. Each of us likely struggles with at least one of those. Solitude resonated with me when I initially heard the suggestion, but in this season, my soul needs stillness.

In stillness, I am reminded that I am saved in Christ by grace through faith. Stillness is easier now than it once was, and I’m convinced that’s only because I’ve sat through uncomfortable moments and stuck with it. Twenty minutes used to tick slowly by, and now an hour in stillness doesn’t feel like enough.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

Ephesians 2:8-10

Stillness is the only way I will truly appreciate the beauty in the changes that Autumn brings.

The transition into Autumn seems to jolt me out of a stupor. In the stillness, I am reminded of what matters. My eyes are focused on the one who created and ordained rest. I am reminded that it is not the doing that makes Him love me. I am no one’s saving grace. I am no one’s hero. I do not carry the pressure of the end result because of the One who holds it for me. Taking time to stop, to exhale, to lean in, to ask, and to hear reminds me that it is the role of the Holy Spirit to restore people.

Will you take time to be still this week in the presence of our God and ask Him to bring rest to your soul?

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