Hi everyone, Rob here.
The ground is now covered in leaves. Mornings are cold and the sun struggles to make it through my office windows. The days are short, health is more fragile and energy is lower. The animal kingdom understands all this. Many mammals will hibernate. Birds will migrate to warmer climes. People however, tend to carry on with their busy lives. My job is busier in winter than it is in summer. I take on extra things like soccer coaching or teaching seminars. Why do we do this? Is it madness? Where is God in the midst of this? What’s his invitation?
First of all, it’s not all bad. It makes sense for us to holiday in summer and have a lot of activities while everybody is around in autumn, winter and spring. To sustain this though, means adjusting our rhythm of life. It’s hard to sustain the early mornings when it’s cold and dark. Bedtimes need to be earlier as our bodies do respond to the shorter days.
The balancing act is being aware of declining energy levels but not giving into them unnecessarily. Otherwise we face the possibility of missing out on the things that are good for us. It’s easier to sit in front of the TV with a hot chocolate than go out to home group or a date with your spouse or dinner with friends, but it’s seldom better for our soul. The ‘winter blues’ can strike us when we allow this drop in energy to take us away from our relational needs.
Another way to put this is to say that winter is a time to focus on spiritual essentials (what is essential to your spirit), and to let go of many non-essentials. So in summer we like to host barbecues, but in winter we do far less of this kind of hosting. In summer I do a lot of connecting with God through his creation. In winter this happens but less often. I tend to read more and journal more. My connection with the kids is centred less around outdoor activities and more around board games, movies and books.
The big change I’ve made is to implement a proper Sabbath of around 24 hours from sometime after church to Monday lunch. It involves relaxed time with family and time for my own heart on Monday. It’s not an easy discipline but I can already see that it’s slowing me down and helping me be more attentive to God, my own heart and others.
The invitation I am responding to is to slow down and pay attention even as I give out more. It is to be attentive to what my body is telling me, but also to become more aware of what my heart needs for life. It is to invest in my precious relationships, especially my relationship with Father, Son and Spirit. It is to continue to die to the old even as the trees become bare, knowing that new life will come in the right season. No matter what season you’re in may you know God’s invitation to you in it.
Grace and peace.