What does it look like out your window? My view is filled with the reds, yellows and browns of fall leaves intermingled with the green of hemlocks and other evergreens that hold onto their color even in winter. Very few of the leaves have fallen yet, but I know they will. The trees eventually let go of their summer growth preparing for a time of deep sleep.

During this period of dormancy, “a tree’s metabolism, energy consumption, and growth all slow down significantly in order to endure the harsh season of winter when water and sunlight are more scarce. Dormancy occurs in stages; it begins in the fall with the loss of leaves. A chemical called Abscisic Acid is released, which signals the leaves to detach so trees do not expend energy in keeping them alive during the winter.”

I believe there is something to learn from this habit of the tree. I recently purchased a sign that says, “Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go.” As I ponder that truth, my mind is flooded with things I need to let go. Holding on requires time and energy that depletes my resources for the things that really matter.

. . . but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Philippians 3:13-14

I do well to let go of my past. The failures of my past keep me from stepping into new places in my present. When I continue to recall and keep alive the memory of what I didn’t do or didn’t do well, I prevent myself from taking a risk today. Letting go of the past, giving myself a chance to do it differently, enables me to be the person God put me together to be.

The same can be said of accomplishments of the past. If I live always recalling the award I won, the place I held or the accolades of yesterday, I won’t step into a new challenge today. The successes of yesterday cannot be the end all. As the song goes, “If I’m not dead then you’re not done.” Since I am not dead, I want to look forward to what is next.

Letting go of my past is a beautiful thing. It allows me to live fully in the present with a heart and mind attentive to the possibility of today. Getting stuck in the past drains my energy and depletes my resources. It’s not a place I want to live.

I invite you to consider the beautiful result of letting IT go — whatever IT is.

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