Fall is finally here! That doesn’t always mean much in the Deep South, but the idea of autumn leaves, pumpkins, Starbucks caffé mocha, and hibernating in sweatshirts always puts me in a better frame of mind. And while the trees are letting go of their leaves, maybe it’s a good time for us to let go of a few things, too.
In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he encouraged them to let go. Here’s a little background: on his third missionary journey, Paul went to Ephesus, a city that was known for its idolatry and pagan practices. He stayed there for three years and established a Christian church. Later, probably while he was under house arrest in Rome, he penned his letter to the Ephesians, to guide them in their newfound Christian beliefs. He encouraged the Ephesians to let go of some of their bad habits:
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32
Perhaps the season of autumn is a good time for us to let go of a few things that hinder us in our Christian lives. Maybe we’re not embroiled in bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, slander, and malice, but many of us are surrounded by negativity—we may, in fact, be the source of the negativity.
Letting go of negativity is a hard habit to break. Here are a few suggestions from a recent article by Rachel Wojo.
- Read God’s Word.
- Allow the Spirit to show us the necessary heart changes we need.
- Be willing to shun practices such as bitterness and rage.
- Ask God to help us let go of the guilt from the past.
Let me add a few suggestions of my own:
- Turn off the television and put down your phone.
- Go for a walk outside.
- Take a break and sit quietly, doing nothing, for as long as you can get away with it.
- Read your Bible and pray.
Several years ago, the phrase “Let Go and Let God” encouraged us to slow down, take a break, and rely on God to guide us. Now that fall is here, whether or not the thermometer outside agrees, isn’t it a good time to let go of the everyday minutiae that get between us and God? My friends, my prayer is that you can take time to enjoy the season. Let go.
Psalm 46:10 Be still and know that I am God.
A Prayer for Autumn Days
By Joyce Rupp
God of the seasons,
there is a time for everything;
there is a time for dying and a time for rising.
We need courage to enter into
the transformation process.
God of autumn,
the trees are saying goodbye to their green,
letting go of what has been.
We, too, have our moments of surrender,
with all their insecurity and risk.
Help us to let go when we need to do so.
God of fallen leaves
lying in colored patterns on the ground,
our lives have their own patterns.
As we see the patterns of our own growth,
may we learn from them.
God of misty days and harvest moon nights,
there is always the dimension of mystery
and wonder in our lives.
We always need to recognize your power-filled presence.
May we gain strength from this.
God of harvest wagons and fields of ripened grain,
many gifts of growth lie within the season of our surrender.
We must wait for harvest in faith and hope.
Grant us patience when we do not see the blessings.
God of geese going south
for another season, your wisdom enables us
to know what needs to be left behind
and what needs to be carried into the future.
We yearn for insight and vision.
God of flowers
touched with frost and windows wearing white designs,
may your love keep our hearts
from growing cold in the empty seasons.
God of life,
you believe in us, you enrich us,
you entrust us with the freedom to choose life.
For all this, we are grateful.
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