Make Room to Grow

By Erika Davis
As I look out the window, I’m delighted by the beautiful sights before me. The weather is finally cooling off and the leaves are taking on their beautiful yellow, orange, and red tones that signal the start of the autumn and winter seasons. Part of the life cycle of a tree is to drop the leaves of one season to make room for the fresh, new growth in the next. Before it can grow and take in more sunlight, there is a period of release and rest. The cycle of a tree reminds me of how we grow in our spiritual lives.
Isaiah 43:18-19(NIV) says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
Our past is full of difficulties that weigh us down. If we desire to take the easy route, we hold onto these burdens and use them as a definition of our character. We say things like, “This is part of me now,” and, “If I let go, I’ll get hurt again.” We wear our past like a shield and cling tightly to our pain. If we look at the trees, how different would this season look if they had the ability to choose to hold on to their own leaves? As spring rolls around, we would see forests of dead, brown leaves, with no room for new buds to bloom. So to, when we hold on to former things, no room is left to grow.
Autumn doesn’t happen all at once. The leaves don’t all fall one day and the new growth starts the next. They fall gradually as they are released from the tree and the wind takes them away. Then, the tree lies dormant for the winter, conserving energy until it is time to grow again. God doesn’t expect us to release everything to Him all at once. Some difficulties take time to process and let go. Just like the wind helps the trees, sometimes we need help from a friend, a counselor, or a pastor to work through with what we are struggling.
Once we are able to let go, there is time for rest. We are not expected to immediately pick up the next task, but allow for God’s timing to spring up what is next. In this season of release and rest, I invite you to take time for personal growth. Spend some extra time caring for your relationship with God and relationships with others. Find a small group that fills you up with both! When the tree has time to conserve energy and rest, the fruit is so much sweeter come springtime.

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