It’s as if someone clapped chalkboard erasers over my town this morning, the dust still lingering over buildings and hazing sunlight. This fog blurs headlights and creates a sleepy tone over morning activities. A sip of pumpkin steamer warms my throat as I observe the bustling coffee shop around me. 20-somethings in business attire work on silver laptops and sip coffee while college students in leggings and just-rolled-out-of-bed ponytails are surfing Facebook, most likely trying to find motivation to get work done during fall break. A group of middle-aged adults all laugh loudly at the same time, their excitement causing others to look up curiously. It’s almost too cliche to write about, yet here I am.
Another sip of my steamed milk + pumpkin pushes me to focus, picking up my pen to journal. Today is my monthly “Day with the Lord,” yet I must confess that I feel like too many things are distracting me from Jesus. Thoughts about my birthday celebration yesterday, what needs to happen with my schedule this week, and those cute boots I’ve had my eye on are all wearing hi-vis apparel in my mind, and I am struggling to look at anything else, especially God. Lord, why can’t I take my mind off other things? Why must material things and the expectations and approval of the world be so much more attractive than You?
I’m embarrassed to admit it. My head knows that Jesus is better than anything this world has to offer, but my desires right now are for tangible things. Success in ministry. Cute fall outfits. Having a well-decorated home. Spoiling my husband with one of his favorite dinners. Not bad things, I suppose, but I can tell they are encroaching on Christ’s rule in my heart, and I am fighting a losing battle on my own.
We all fight a losing battle on our own. Our flesh is weak when it comes to the flirtations of this world. Paul David Tripp describes a constant war going on “between the awe of God and all of the awe-inspiring things that are around you that God created… any glorious thing in creation was given that glory by God so it would function as a finger pointing you to the one glory that should rule your heart – him.” Too often, though, I am focused on that finger and miss the purpose of the finger. What is it pointing to?
The leaves here are transitioning from green to golds and burgundies and fire colors. The cool, crisp air persists later in the morning and develops earlier in the evening. The angle of light is sentimental, seeming to always provide the perfect backdrop for the beginning of a story. Boots and scarves have made their appearance, and warm drinks are a standard accessory to any outfit. Yesterday morning, a playful wind whipped through our yard while Eric and I were planting tulip bulbs and a tree, and it coaxed some leaves to let go of their tree and dance around aimlessly before resting on the ground at our feet.
These are the fingers pointing my heart to God. These are the things God wants to use to draw me to Himself during this season — and while my tendency is to focus on the glory of fall and the coziness of cardigans, I am now praying that God allows me to enjoy these things because they are reflections of His character, not just because they are fun things in themselves. He is Creator. He is the one clapping chalkboard erasers and selecting colors for each leaf. The comfort I find in a flannel scarf and wool socks is an emotion created by Him, and I can rejoice in how He created my heart.
There is an awe of creation. But there is an even more amazing awe that we are loved by the God who created it all. And that’s what – or rather, Who – I want to capture my heart this season. Through His grace, I am able to fight back against the temptations to worship the wrong things. His grace is sufficient for me, and His love is beyond what I deserve.