Christian mindfulness practices are beautiful in the autumn. If we concentrate on our neighborhoods and local parks, we can all enjoy God’s majesty and creativity in the fall.
Here are some ideas:
Pick a tree in the neighborhood that changes color. Visit it every day to watch the subtle changes. I’ve always loved that the autumn hues are always present in the leaves. They are green only because they are full of chlorophyll.
Take your devotions outdoors. Bring a spiritual book to a park to read. Pray under the prettiest tree.
Go nutting. Find true nuts like acorns and hazelnuts. (Believe it or not, almonds, Brazil nuts and cashews aren’t true nuts, which are hard-shelled, one-seeded fruits of the tree.) You can use the nuts in decorating. Or go nuts and roast them. (Acorns are pretty bitter, but edible.)
Go for a gratitude walk to thank the Lord for all the natural beauty you see, one thing at a time.
Watch the squirrels getting ready for winter. Do you know the Lord has blessed them with the ability to remember where they stored their food?
It’s the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. I remember that day:
Sitting in my office at my computer when a colleague named Jeff LaRue poked his head in my office and said a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.
Realizing this was not a small plane crash.
Interrupting my CEO in a client meeting in the conference room to say that planes had crashed into both towers and the Pentagon. “Could we turn on the TV here?” The client was annoyed at my interruption.
Listening to the church bell, located across the street from our office tower, begin to toll. It continued to toll all day. The last time that happened was Pearl Harbor.
Watching the first tower collapse from the same viewpoint where I last saw the towers two weeks before.
Heading home to be with my high school student, calling my other child in a college dorm room, and contacting my husband who was on the road.
Working on a proposal while watching the television in my living room.
Finding out that my husband didn’t realize the extent of the situation until he got to a hotel and watching it on television.
Looking at the sky which now contained no airplanes.
Waking up the next morning to wonder what would happen that day.
The United States was probably at its best that week. We were determined in the face of fear. Many bad decisions later, we aren’t at our best. But we know that Christians can always be determined in the face of fear. Our side has already won.
The Sept. 11 reading of Sarah Young’s wonderful devotional “Jesus Always” points out that the world has always been at war. Yet we do not have to be afraid. Jesus has achieved the victory that allows us to have a hope and a future. But we are still not alone in the world. The dark side is still setting off explosions as it moves in defeat. So we are cautioned to have self-control and be alert.
Is it possible to be alert without feeling all-consuming fear? Yes. But we must be determined and ask for grace to achieve that state. Paul of Tarsus tells us that we are at our best when we recognize that we are weak and allow God to move through us.
So what does determination look like when we know that we are weak? Here are seven indicators:
We expect God to help when we are doing His will.
We believe in the importance of our role in the kingdom of God.
We focus our attention on the work we are doing.
We listen to God’s word and seek his will for next steps.
We avoid distraction.
We ask for help when we need it.
We keep going even when things get difficult.
None of us alive on 9/11 predicted the next 20 years. But God did know what would happen. Walking with Him in Christian mindfulness may help us to make the next 20 more successful for the kingdom.
The weather is glorious this weekend in my Midwestern city. It’s a perfect time to plant spring bulbs. Plant mindfully, welcoming God’s presence. We just may learn two lessons that these bulbs provide.
Christian life is all about delayed gratification. The bulbs will be working invisibly for a while. But the end game is beautiful.
You will get signs of hope as a new season begins. The green tops of the bulbs peeking through the dirt … what can be more hopeful than that.
You can plant bulbs no matter where you live. Inside, if necessary. I do hyacinths indoors. The front garden is tulips and daffodils. Just enjoy the beautiful weather.