With Labor Day behind us, summer is officially over, and I for one will mourn its passing. The calendar says summer lasts through September 22nd, but when the calendar leaves August behind, there’s a change in the air that says fall is upon us. The heat and humidity begin to ease up (fingers crossed), schools get back in full swing and football begins to consume our weekends. Fall can be a FANTASTIC time of year, but it doesn’t quite match summer as far as I’m concerned.
My problem with fall is not the season itself. I enjoy football, cool evenings, mountain getaways and changing leaves almost as much as I enjoy pools, barbecues, lake trips and the 4th of July. My problem with fall is that it signals the coming of winter. During summer, we can enjoy both the season itself AND the anticipation of the season to come. Fall, unfortunately, cannot serve the same kind of double duty. Every good moment that fall provides is tempered by the expectation of the cold, short, cruel days to come; every perfect October evening brings us one day closer to February.
Fall, however, does offer us some unique opportunities for personal renewal as we return to the more regular rhythms of our lives. To everything there is a season, and fall—if we choose—can be a great season of recommitment and new beginnings.
As we return to more regular routines, we can choose to do things just like we’ve always done them, or we can choose to see fall as an opportunity to renew our spirits, our souls, and our bodies. Here are a few ways we can do just that.
Renewing Our Spirits
Take a deep breath. Relax. Slow down. Enjoy a warm cup of coffee on a cool morning. Remember that the Christian life is a joyful life. Our spirits set the tone for all that we do. Your spirit determines how you face your day, how you interact with other people, how you treat your family, and whether you choose to dwell on the negative or focus on the positive in life. Remember that love is more powerful than fear; that joy, peace, patience and kindness are fruits of a healthy spirit; and that when we are gracious we reflect the image of God.
Renewing Our Souls
Let a return to order and routine be an opportunity to renew your soul by spending more time with God. Our souls are renewed when they are connected to our Creator. If we pursued God this fall with half the passion we invest in our favorite football teams, our cups would overflow—and so might our pews. Like a passion for football, healthy souls are contagious. Regular prayer and Bible study are essential to a healthy soul. Spend time with your Bible, find a few minutes each day to spend quiet time alone with God, and make church attendance a priority.
God has given us to each other to aid in our mutual renewal. Group Bible study, corporate prayer and community worship all aid in the renewing of our souls in ways that individual practices cannot. Be as intentional this fall about not missing church as some of you might be about not missing your favorite football team.
Renewing Our Bodies
Since we were children, we’ve heard that our bodies are the temple of God, and it’s true. Our physical bodies are the earthly home to our souls, and it is nothing less than the spirit of God that animates and breathes life into our flesh and bones. So treat your body well. The Holy Spirit works in us and through us so that we are the physical presence of Christ in the world today.
Regular exercise, a good diet, enough rest, and healthy stress management practices all allow God to use us as vital and vibrant witnesses to Christ’s presence in our world. So use this change of seasons to recommit yourself to practices that will ensure a clean, healthy, strong body ready to do the work of God’s kingdom.
Holy and Whole—Spirit, Soul And Body
Our physical, spiritual and emotional health are all tied together so that when one suffers, all suffer. So if you’re struggling in one area, recommit to renewal this fall. Or if you’re like me, recognize that you could use a little boost in all three areas. If you do, fall can be the BEST season of your year.
May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:23