And just like that, the season that every Michigander freezes through 27 months of winter for is gone. So long summer. As a child and now a teacher, summer represents freedom. No routine. Late nights. Lazy mornings. Ice cream. Family cottage. Boating. Lakes. Beautiful beaches. Festivals. Baseball. Bonfires. S’mores. Camping. And so much sun… Michigan summer is amazing and there isn’t anything quite like it.
I swore I would keep to a schedule. I said I would read several books, complete projects, keep the house spotless and work in the garden. I didn’t do that. I took the word summer “vacation” quite literally and wasted each day away. The over indulgence of the season left me feeling very restless this year. A quiet anxiety started rising inside me and it took me most of the summer to figure out that my season of summer in life is over and it’s time for the fall. It’s time to let the beauty inside of me emerge by letting the dead stuff go.
I recently read a quote that inspired me.
THE TREES ARE ABOUT TO SHOW US HOW LOVELY IT IS TO LET THE DEAD THINGS GO
It about slapped me in my face. From the outside, I think my life is pretty good. I can see the positive in most anything. But inside…deep inside…there is a quiet struggle of dead stuff. Fear versus faith. A war for control over situations, people, relationships, life. I fight the battle for control, but I am not winning the war. And through every aimless day I justified as being so very deserved and every fun mommy/daughter trip for ice cream, lunch date, and beach day I said was a memory making moment, there was still a deep dissatisfied feeling festering within my soul of fear of the things I cannot control which leads to an intense desire to keep controlling. One of the most beautiful summers in Michigan and I am secretly craving the comfort, rhythm and safety of my fall routine. The part of life where I am in control.
It’s in this summer, I saw the dead stuff inside of me. The places where growth is stalled due to my attitude and incessant need to be in control and my throw all caution to the wind attitude when I am not. And with all the time in the world to be open to God’s promptings and direction, I tuned it out in a summer haze until I couldn’t ignore it anymore.
The last moments of summer slowly slipped away. As I prepared my classroom, God was preparing my heart. Do I want to be a purposeful teacher? Do I want to be a loving, grace filled mom? Do I want a thriving marriage? Do I want to be a better family member and friend? I can’t say yes to one of these and let go of the dead stuff required to thrive without saying yes to all and letting ALL the dead stuff go.
In some quiet moments where I lived in fear, holding onto justifiable anger toward people I loved and contemplating how to take back control in situations, God asked me why? Why do I hold onto the dead stuff that He sent His son to take away? Why don’t I trust enough to release my fear and dead end control? Does that protect my heart? Does it give life to my soul? I don’t know…No…and no again. I guess I hold onto it because it’s what I am used to doing. I don’t trust people. It is a bad habit. A safety net when I don’t want to change. A crutch when I want to let fear outdo my faith.
So now here I am. I am trying to loosen that inner/outward control. Every day I am asking God to replace my fear with a deep faith that His promise is really true. That the faith the size of a mustard seed could move a marriage mountain, a parenting mountain, and family mountain. That He restores. But part of that is letting go of the dead end fear to make room for the life-breathing faith.
It’s the first day of fall. Just as the trees are being signaled to stop giving life to the leaves that need to be renewed, and let the dead things fall away for a new awakening next spring, I am being signaled to let the dead things die in me. Stop giving life to dead end thinking and habits and let my faith stir up hope within. And just as the Michigan trees will radiate a beauty as they release what is no longer needed, I too feel a beauty inside of me as I release what is no longer needed for my life. Open my heart, don’t let fear control me and be ready for the fall.
What dead stuff can you let go in your life? Let us know in the comments how you are getting ready for the fall. Keep making your house a love filled home. High five for home!