What I learned this Autumn

As one season comes to a close and the next begins, I pause for a moment and reflect. What have I learned over the past few months? What have life, God and my experiences been revealing to me from the silly to the mundane to the profound? Emily Freeman has the practice of reflecting on and writing about what she has learned and I have joined her in this for the past year or so. Here in Australia, Autumn is drawing to a close and Winter is beginning. Here’s what I have learned over the past three months.

  • This is not a season of writing for me and I can’t force it to be. I have a book sitting almost completed, blog post ideas and opportunities to write that could be carved out but I feel deep down to my core that writing is not where my focus and energy is supposed to be concentrated for this season. I still carry that identity as a writer within and know that seasons will come again where my soul and mind will pursue it more fully once more. For now, I will not beat myself up or play the comparison game but let it be.

  • Related in some ways is the sense of being in limbo in some way. I can’t explain it or chase it away. I can’t ignore it into being something else. I am learning to just observe it and sit in that place. I am reminded of the concept of liminal spaces that I have wrestled with before. I guess what has taken me by surprise with this particular feeling of being in a liminal space is the fact that I am in a new season in many ways, with my new position with MOPS Australia, a new pilot program I am part of at work and my daughter starting full-time school. I am learning that this feeling can have little to do with external circumstances and what appears to be happening and more to do with an internal space. Time will show what this is all about.
  • A camping trip doesn’t have to be perfect, to be perfect. Over the last school holidays, we went on a family camping trip that has been declared our best trip ever. It was not without its issues, challenges, irritable moments and causes of sleeplessness and yet was brilliant. How often do I focus on the negative instead of viewing as a whole? This time was different. I look forward to more trips like that.

  • Shiny shoes do not have to be reserved for special occasions but can brighten my everyday. 
  • I have long known that I have amazing friends. I was reminded again of how small gestures between friends can mean the world. It has been an incredibly tough couple of weeks for my family and a dear friend bought these flowers for me. She even took the time to find my favourite colour. 

  • Mother’s Day is just as much or even more for my child than it is for me. Seeing her joy and excitement at pampering me and giving me gifts is what it is all about. That is where the true gift and appreciation comes from. 

  • Sunrises are worth braving the chilly morning air for.

  • The biggest lesson of the past month has been the reminder that life comes with the unexpected. A single day can change the whole outlook of your year. In the midst of it, I still have a choice. Do I allow the unexpected to wipe me out, derail everything and bury me? Do I stand in faith and peace, the kind of peace that is not dependent on good outcomes and my emotions all being positive? This is when my faith goes deeper, is tested and refined. This is when the words that I spout are proven or shown to be nothing but air. 
You can read what others have learned in this season over on Emily Freeman’s site.