5 Things I Learned This Fall

5 Things I Learned This Fall

Reflection is a powerful teacher in helping us to pay attention as we take note of what is happening within and around us. This post is part of a series where we spend time reflecting on the past season before stepping into the next. In sharing what I learned, my hope is you too will be encouraged to pause and reflect.

“It’s good to sit with what was and what is. To feel the things we’ve lost and to recognize the things we’ve gained.”

I stumbled across these words the other day…words I wrote while processing through the anniversary of my tumor diagnosis earlier this year.

In this unexpected year, these words took on a new meaning…a broader application of truth.

Before stumbling across these words, I contemplated not sharing a fall reflection. This season has been a long, difficult one, and I was confident I had nothing to say just yet. But those words changed my mind…and reminded me how healing the practice of reflection can be.

As the year draws to a close, may we pause to sit with what was and what is. May we recognize what was lost as well as what we have gained.

Through the hard days of fall, here are a few truths I learned:

1. There is something profound in being still

This season held days I lacked the courage to open my Bible. Instead, it lay next to me on the couch…and sometimes found its way to my lap. On the days the pages never turned, I grew acquainted with being still. As my body stilled, my mind slowed. And while nothing magical ever came to be, something profound was felt in the willingness to be still in God’s presence. A lost art rekindled.

2. Continue chasing where the light pours in

I’ve been looking for the light in the darkness…and have found it in more ways than one.

3. Grief points to the beauty of what was

We said a tearful goodbye to our first home recently.

A home that held deep joy and great sorrow; a home where laughter echoed and tears fell. A home full of countless memories and lessons learned.

In many ways, this year has taught me an important truth about grief: it points to the beauty of what was.

4. The first step is always the hardest

I began counseling at the end of the summer.

I wish I could have written those words many moons ago. While I’ve continually felt the pull to find help to process through the hard years that have come to pass, I kept putting it off as the struggle to know where to begin remained present.

For months, I prayed for direction but was always left feeling like none ever came. When a difficult circumstance propelled me into therapy, it ended up being with a counselor my friend referred me to months before. I realized God had answered, but it was me who was afraid of taking the first step.

The first step was hard, but it’s a step that led me on a path toward deeper healing. On the other side of that difficult first step was goodness waiting to be uncovered.

5. We need to give ourselves permission to hold space for the hard

I shared this on social media, but I want to share it here too. This seems to be a truth that is perpetually being relearned:

Sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to hold space for the hard, unexpected pieces of our story.

I stepped away from social media for a few weeks to do just that.

Space to process and reflect.

Space for all the emotions that crept up to be truly felt.

Space to feel God’s presence and see His provision in my life.

Mindlessly scrolling often becomes a distraction to thinking deeply, asking hard questions, and seeking God’s presence and provision in my life. It keeps me from what my soul needs.

While I truly believe social media is a tool that can be used in service of others…I must be reminded it’s just that: a tool.

These squares are not the place the hard work of healing happens. The hard work of healing happens in private, quiet, still places.

What I can promise you is this: God meets us when we step away from the noise. He meets us when we create space to be still. He meets us as we do the hard work of healing.

What did you learn this fall?

Abundant Life Manifesto: truth to center you on your journey to abundant life.