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On autumn & aging

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

Do you enjoy the changing seasons? I sure do. Yesterday was unseasonably warm for the 30th of October, and many of my friends were wearing shorts and sandals in an effort to enjoy one last day of fabric freedom before the weather demands that every limb and appendage be covered by heavy clothing!

The seasons bring more than wardrobe changes, as fun as it is to break out the boots, flannel shirts, and soft, warm sweaters. I spent last week in New England and experienced some of the famous colors of fall as the forests displayed their finery of red, gold, and green. The fresh, crisp air smelled of spice and pine while the blue sky and sunshine provided a dramatic backdrop as autumn unfolded all around me.

The leaves told their own story as I walked along trails in the woods:

In spring we arrive, small, soft, and green, bringing hope and promise.

In summer, we softly wave and shade the land from sun and heat.

In fall, we delight to show our color and the splendor of our season.

In winter, we soften the hard earth so new life can spring up once again.

We see the cycle of seasons each year and understand the beauty and purpose of each one. Spring carries the promise of flowers, bright green leaves, and longer days; summer brings lazy afternoons perfect for lounging in the shade of a broad tree; but fall reveals the fully ripened colors and scents that fill our hearts with gratitude.

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. ~ Colossians 1:9-12 ESV

The Apostle Paul's prayer in the first chapter of Colossians describes the beauty of a Christ-follower who has fully ripened into spiritual maturity. Mature discipleship is characterized by a fullness of knowledge of what pleases God, displayed in a life lived wisely, worthily, and well. The season of midlife is a stage where we see our age show physically and we should not be ashamed of that, especially if spiritual ripeness and wholeness stands behind the story of the years displayed on our faces. That wholeness results in "being strengthened with all power . . . for all endurance and patience with joy," a strength which we surely need to face the challenges of midlife and beyond.

In this season of midlife, we may choose to slow the physical aging process through exercise and appropriate self-care. But mature--even well-aged--discipleship is something to be desired and cultivated. Only then can we call ourselves spiritually ripened and fruitful, displaying the beauty of our walk with Christ.

No one sees the glory of autumn and mocks the aging leaves. Let's examine ourselves in this midlife season and allow God to complete His work of filling us up with His knowledge, wisdom, and power so that we may display the wonder of spiritual wholeness and completeness for God's glory


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