Make Time to Rest
By: Lindsay Tedder
Sitting out on the patio of the local coffee shop, I begin to see the leaves falling from their once secure perch, high atop the trees. There is just something about seeing those first falling leaves of the season that makes you stop for a moment and take it all in. You can feel the soft breeze that so easily removes the leaves from their branches, and you can hear the crisp sound as they hit the ground beneath them. Summer is winding to an end and despite its location on our calendar, autumn often marks the beginning of so many new seasons in our lives. More than just going back to school and starting a new routine, autumn means a fresh perspective.
When I see the leaves falling, I often stop and stare. I just can’t help it. There is something so beautiful about seeing this enormous living tree, bursting forth with so much vivid green life, begin to shed its leaves and prepare for the cold road ahead. How can something so bright and filled with life drop everything and begin to look completely lifeless? What we don’t often stop to consider is that when the trees begin to look lifeless, they are just in a season of preparation. It is in those dead looking winter months that the tree is preparing for spring.
Trees lose their leaves in order to have less work to do during the winter months, allowing them the space for the much-needed rest they require to produce the brilliant green leaves again in the spring. I believe that God gave the trees to us as an example to replicate. We too, need rest. We need periods of preparation. I think that is why, I all too often stop and stare at the falling leaves. I never put it together in my head until I read the verse above.
The world we see was created by the Word of God, which means that what we see was created by something we cannot see. This reminds me of the trees in winter. God allows the trees to rest and prepare for the life that is about to be created from their invisible places.
Did you know if you have a potted deciduous tree and bring it inside for the winter, with the right conditions you can keep it alive? That is true. What should be made clear is that tree, though surviving, will not be thriving. If you prevent the tree from losing its leaves it will have an increasingly shorter life expectancy. Trees are made to lose their leaves. Trees are made to lie dormant for the winter season. Trees are made to rest during those cold months. Trees are made to prepare for the life that will come bursting out of their branches in a few short months.
I’ll be really honest here. I am just like that tree. If I don’t rest, which is a challenge for me most of the time, I know that I will not be at my best. I know without a doubt that I will fall short and I will be incapable of living as He has called me to live. I will be unable to accomplish the goals that He has for me. And, let’s be honest… I’ll just be super cranky and exhausted.
What do you need rest from, my friend? What is God calling you to create from the depths of your heart that you would not be able to create in the busyness of the summer?
I am thankful that we serve such a Creator that would think to give us reminders, such as the trees. He knew that we would be busy. He knew that we would struggle to pause and rest in preparation.
Please don’t misinterpret the trees dead-looking season of rest as an excuse to curl up with a blanket, a hot cup of coffee and a good book. I mean, definitely do that because that sounds like heaven but please know there is more to rest than a day (or a season) of relaxing. Rest and relaxation are far different concepts.
Relaxation is for you. Rest is for your soul. Both are essential.
Just remember that when the tree looks dead, it is preparing for the journey ahead, just as we should use our season of rest to allow God to prepare us for the next steps of our journey.
Lindsay Tedder is a believer, wife, mom, bestie and writer who lives in Columbus, Ohio with her bearded, bourbon-loving husband and her too-cool-for-school toddler. Raised by a hardworking single mom, she overcame such trauma as sexual abuse induced food addiction, the debilitating health issues associated with endometriosis, a decade of infertility, and recurring life themes of worthlessness. Despite it all, Lindsay is a ray of light, always sharing His love wherever she goes.
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