New Beginnings

September in the midwest. The weather has begun to turn, the sticky heat yielding to cool breezes, cooler nights, and not-quite-yet crisp mornings. Glimpses of red and gold are appearing amongst the green of the trees. Cider mills are open and apples are ripe for the picking. Pumpkin spice everything is everywhere, equally loved and despised. Halloween (sometimes even Christmas!) merchandise is on store shelves. And back-to-school pictures began appearing on social media—a few here, a few there, and then in droves.

It’s a season of new beginnings.

I have to admit—I have a love/hate relationship with this time of year. I love the weather, the beauty of the season shedding the vestiges of summer in preparation for a season of rest. I love it even more when it hangs on and on, not wanting to let go and give in to the bitter cold of winter, like a child on the verge of sleep trying desperately to stay awake and keep his eyes open. But as creation winds down, my life speeds up. I can’t sync to the rhythms of nature; I need to keep pace with humanity. So when that school bell sounds to begin the long-distance race that lasts from September to May, I start running.

This Tuesday, I turned forty-five and started running.

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If you’re new to this blog, you may not know that I teach writing at a local university. Unless you’re familiar with the nuances of academia, you may not know the differences between assistant professors, professors, full-time and part-time lecturers, etc. For the past seven years, I’ve been a full-time lecturer, which simply means that I a) can’t get tenure (basically, a job-for-life guarantee); and b) my is to teach—a lot—rather than do research. In my job, I teach writing to a lot of people that don’t necessarily like to write, but will need to for their careers (it’s called technical writing).

Like I said, though, it’s a season of new beginnings. And this season is full of new new beginnings for me. Beginnings I’ve been eagerly waiting to announce to the world, and now I’m free to do so.

This season, I’m choosing to follow God’s leading in my life. I’ve been feeling the pull away from teaching and into more intentional ministry for a while now, and this season I stepped out in faith to follow that guidance. So starting in November I’ll be teaching part-time and freeing up more time to serve my local church body. I’m not hoping to be a minister (as in pastor) as some people outside the church have mistakenly thought, but to serve by offering my time and talents to God and to his people. For the foreseeable future, that means starting a guinea-pig, small group/writing group (October 1 start date! Eek!) and serving in a different and (I think/hope) more frequent role on the production team that runs the weekend services. For the long-term future? I have my hopes and dreams, but what’s exciting is that God has his plans—and they’re much better than I could ever dare to dream.

This morning, as I was pondering the new beginnings in my life, I thought of God’s promise in Revelation:

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:5, ESV)

All things new. That’s what I’m looking forward to this year, and in the future, and definitely in the end of the age when truly all things are made new. But the moment God started working in my life—and each moment I let him work in my life by saying “Yes!” to his leading and following in obedience—is a moment that God begins something new. I can’t wait to see what God brings, and I ask that you pray along with me that I will be faithful with these few things and prove worthy of being faithful with much (Matthew 25:21).

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