What hijacks my fall every year and what I’m doing about it
Fall is my happy-place season. Alleged crispness (we do live in South Texas y’all). Pumpkins everywhere. Football (again… Texas). But mostly, I love the fall because it feels like a new beginning. Fall’s a chance to live out what God has placed on my heart. Yet, every year, one thing hijacks my ideal fall.
My hijacked fall looks very different than my ideal fall.
My ideal fall is one where I stay focused on what God has invited me to do and live well in the assignments He’s given me: wife, mom, writer, and volunteer.
My hijacked fall is one where I’m distracted by shiny, new opportunities. I’m easily distracted by opportunities and needs, but these good requests hijack what God has in store.
One particular attitude hijacks my ideal fall every year.
My errant attitude says that when I obey God, I’m missing out, that what He’s invited me to do isn’t enough.
What’s going on in my heart when a prayerful “no” seems selfish? When a selective “yes” is unacceptable? When obedience to God doesn’t seem like enough?
Three issues arise when this one attitude is present.
We live deceived.
We’ve bought into the lie that what God gives us is never enough and that, somehow, He holds out on us. Eve was the first to believe this lie. When our enemy tricks us, Curt Thompson writes in Anatomy of the Soul it “always involves the subtle or blatant manipulation of fear… and shame.” Our enemy wants us to believe that God is unsafe and that we’re inadequate (Thompson).
When we reject what God has given us—a relationship with Him, a hopeful future, a job to do, — we’re “forever working to obtain and hoard enough so that we know we’ll eventually be enough.” (Thompson) When we experience a fear of missing out (FOMO), we’re quick to hide behind a busy calendar, our fake fine, and even our service.
Our enemy has us distracted.
Our enemy prefers that we stay distracted so we miss opportunities to know God, enjoy Him, love Him, and love others. In other words, our enemy wants us to miss out on what gives us life.
In a culture that glorifies busyness , it’s easy to feel the “pressure that makes us feel like we might be wrong… or selfish… or coldhearted … or snooty to enforce margin and boundaries in our schedule so that we can actually maintain enough time to be obedient to what the Lord has called us to do.” (Priscilla Shirer in Discerning the Voice of God)
Lesser things displace our devotion to God.
As an Achiever, someone who lives the try-hard life instead of a grace-filled one, I seek outside affirmation. I look for ways to measure up, and I delight in knowing I’m needed. And yet, Shirer says these desires aren’t healthy:
“When our lives are packed to the brim with things that squeeze God to the periphery, it’s a sure sign we’ve replaced our devotion to God with a love for something else. The pressure to perform, for example, often means you’ve made an idol of your reputation. The pressure to maintain a ridiculously jam-packed schedule: the idol of self-reliance. The pressure to maintain an impressive standard of living: the idol of achievement. The pressure to take on everything in which your kids show even the slightest interest: making an idol of your children.”
So how do we prevent our fall from getting hijacked?
Tiredness is where we start.
Are you like me because you’re tired actions dictated by fear when liberty is on the other side? I’m tired of sin separating me from the One who loves me unconditionally. To prevent a hijacked fall, let’s not allow an enemy who seeks to kill, destroy, and distract us to bully us. For a Fall Planning Guide to get back on track, click here.
Next we confront our reality.
We come to grips with the fact that we’re not living the life Christ has invited us into: the resurrection life that’s already extinguished shame and fear and replaced it with abundance and liberty.
Then we confess.
We confess that we’re living in a way that has hijacked not just our fall, but our attitude toward God. We don’t have to quit all the things completely, but we need to undergo an attitude shift away from “should”, guilt, and obligatory service and toward a spirit of gratitude and thankfulness.
And finally, we live by faith.
We believe what God says about Himself and about us is true. We trust that we’re loved right now and that we’re actively provided for, healed, and restored.
New opportunities, and pumpkin spice lattes and football… will distract me. I just don’t want to be hijacked by them. I want to believe that what I’m called to is enough, to avoid distractions, and to live out this season fully devoted to Him.