Fall Practices: Put your Boots On

Rhythms, Resources and other Holy Habits, Part 1

Autumn has caught us in our summer wear.
–Philip Larkin, Poet

Fall is here with mostly welcome changes in daylight time, weather, foliage, schedules, holidays, and rhythms of life.  If we pay attention to the migrating birds, the color of leaves on the trees, and the arrival of pumpkins and Chrysanthemums, we can also notice the need for change in our connection with God and others.

The seasons of life, our age and circumstances all affect our relationship with God.  Spiritual practices are intentional ways to keep us connected through the seasons.  Just as we try to hang on to the last blasts of summer, we also find ourselves ready for the cooler temperatures of the Fall and the beauty of changing foliage.  As the freedom and play of summer turns into the routines and responsibilities of Fall, notice shifts in the way you find connection with the Divine.  Be prayerful and intentional to find practices that best suit your season of life.  It may be time to remove your relaxed summer wear and “put on” some work boots and go out exploring and serving the needs in your city.

Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary called Magdalene from whom seven demons had come out;  Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means. 

Luke 8:1-3

Jesus modeled intentional living in the company of his followers and supporters, men and women who moved out together to share good news in their cities.  This Fall I joined a team working in partnership with a city agency, to serve those who come new from other places with baggage of trauma and hardship.  The leader asked us to choose a role using our willingness and giftings to serve. And we are taking our places and using our resources to be in company with Christ in the city, offering hospitality and good news. And just like the women in company with Jesus, we also are being “healed of various afflictions,” and can offer the same Wholeness we are receiving.

REFLECT. We live in a complex, challenging moment in history that has left many literally hungry for a place called home, where they can find meaningful interactions in community and perhaps even hope renewed in the Divine. As you fully embrace this Fall season of opportunity, ask yourself:

What rhythms do I need and what resources can I share not only to shoulder my own life circumstances but also to use my giftings among others as well?

ACT. What does it look like for you to “put on boots” and move out in your city, your community, your family?

RESOURCE. The Common Rule: Habits of Purpose for an Age of Distraction, by Justin Whitmel Earley. I read this book this week and find the Common Rule to be what is needed to help anxious, distracted people with a few simple habits. See what you think about trying these:

SCRIPTURE (Time with God) BEFORE PHONE. This replaces the question “What do I need to do today?” with a better one, “Who am I?”  Daily time with God resists the anxiety of emails, the anger of news, and the envy of social media. Instead, it forms our true identity as children of the King, dearly loved.

 ONE HOUR WITH PHONE OFF. We were made for presence, but so often our phones are the cause of our absence. To be two places at a time is to be no place at all. Turning off our phone for an hour a day is a way to turn our gaze up to each other, whether that be children, coworkers, friends, or neighbors. Our habits of attention are habits of love.

ONE MEAL WITH OTHERS. We were made to eat, so the table must be our center of gravity.  The habit of making time for one communal meal each day forces us to reorient our schedules and our space around food and each other. 

FAST FROM SOMETHING FOR TWENTY-FOUR HOURS. We constantly seek to fill our emptiness with food or social media and ignore our soul needs. Try logging out of social media accounts for a day. 

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