It’s been nearly three weeks since our calendars read “First Day of Autumn.” It feels like it’s been over fifteen years since I’ve anxiously awaited and anticipated that time of the year when I could have a reason to wear a scarf. And boots. In the same outfit. And as an aside, the amount of jackets I own as a Southern California native grossly outnumbers the actual number of “fall” or “winter” days we’ve had in the past, like, 45 years. I mean, I can’t even order a Pumpkin Spice Latte (thanks for that Starbucks) in this lifelong heatwave without making people question my sanity.
So, as I sit here looking out the window, hopeful for a dreary, foggy morning that might one day replace our standard view, I’m reminded of what autumn is supposed to mean. Sure, it’s about the undying love I have for all things pumpkin and the need I feel to buy Vogue’s September issue every year, but it’s about so much more. It’s about harvest. It’s the time of year when crops and fruits are gathered or harvested. Autumn is also a transitional state. It’s the time of year when we wave goodbye to the glistening highlights of summer and welcome the parkas that keep the bite of the winter’s chill at bay.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately. About a lot. But about one thing in particular. Anticipation. Each year, summer comes, and after about the first week of June I’m already waiting and anticipating the start of autumn. Autumn comes and I’m on to the next (figurative) season of life, anticipating winter.
There was a time in my not-so-distant past that I found myself a member of a local Crossfit gym. Engaging in any type of physical activity, particularly one which involves heavy lifting, requires your body to have moments and days of rest. A term I have become familiar with through my varied exercise endeavors is the concept of “active rest.” Active rest is the time in between two exercises where you allow your body time to recover. The best part about active rest is that it can be an exercise that’s easy on your muscles or it can be absolutely nothing at all. The purpose behind the rest is what is key. It’s intentional. Meaningful. You are readying your body to make the next move.
What would these times of waiting that God provides us look like if our waiting and anticipation became “active waiting”? What if our intention in this time of waiting actually had purpose and we didn’t just wait for God to act and reveal His purpose for our waiting and anticipating? I’ve looked at countless reviews by certified health professionals that believe that active rest is as vital a component to overall health as each individual exercise you explore. Waiting and anticipating the next phase of life and the next challenge is without a doubt a vital thread in the fabric of life. But, how do I make that waiting period have greater value and revel in those times of seeming nothingness that I’m given?
So, my challenge to you (and my stubborn self): what kind of active waiting are you engaging in? How are you anticipating God’s movements? Your waiting and anticipation is not given in vain. There is purpose in the times when we don’t know which way to move or which promptings to follow. God is gracious enough to allow us time to calm our aching muscles and a time of reprieve before we head into a new territory again. Be grateful in that, but don’t waste it either.
So, as I sit here anxiously anticipating the next season of life and of weather, I’ll revel in Isaiah 40:31, “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
May your time of active waiting be a time of renewal, of hope, and of courage to not grow weary of the race you have been called to run. Run it wisely and run it well.