Start as you mean to go on...
September signifies for many the beginning of something new. In my case, it's always the beginning of a new school term. For mums like me we have a frantic last minute dash to M&S for school trousers that actually fit and school socks with no holes in, often only to discover that they've sold out because the organised mums out there were actually prepared and went earlier than the afternoon before school starts the next day! For me, this means the start of term often looks like and feels like a fast paced miserable blur, the kind of feeling you get when a car zooms past, hits a puddle and leaves you soaked from top to toe! Anyone with me in this?
For others, September marks the end of summer and the beginning of Autumn, time to dust off the boots and find the cardigan ready for the chillier days to come. For another, it may be the start of a new job, a new work colleague joining the team or a neighbour moving in next door. September is one of those 'marker' months of the year where things change a little and there is often 'newness' along the way. That change, that newness, often brings with it some busy-ness too.
Today, as I'm sat in the spa at Centre Parcs, enjoying a long awaited birthday treat, a phrase keeps running through my head. "Start as you mean to go on." I'd say this is a timely reminder, not just for me, but for all of us as. Mike and I have just taken on the leadership of Freedom Church. For us and our family, it certainly is a season of 'newness'. It is the same for those who are a part of Freedom Church. We're beginning a new rhythm for our Sunday gatherings. There is some change, some new things to get used to at this time. I'd like to suggest that how we begin, marks the pace which we want the season to be governed by. If we race off too fast, the momentum will be hard to sustain and we may end up feeling like me and my miserable puddle feeling I mentioned earlier! If we start too slow, we may miss the things ahead which God has for us because we haven't stretched ourselves enough to build the muscles we need for the journey ahead. How we launch into all that September holds will impact how we grow and how diligently we can hold what is in our hands.
As I sit here, cosy and comfy in one of those amazing egg shaped sun loungers beside the pool, my eager hope that is rising in me is not that I leave it all to the last minute, constantly firefighting and rushing around in this new season, instead that I discover the right pace, God's pace, the Spirit's pace for this time. Starting as I mean to go on, walking in step with the pace God sets out before me. I don't know about you, but I would like this September to start from a place of peace, the place that I find myself in today. Today, sat in the stillness of a spa simply talking to Jesus. I've surrendered my busy-ness and I've decided to pause. It's from this place of pause that each of us can discover the right pace for each of our individual 'Septembers'.
Together, if we start from this pause place, we'll discover this is the best way to carry on. It is sustainable for the future, it will be without lack and it will be from a place of relationship with a God who knows us and goes with us into the 'newness' As we tune our ears, quieten the distractions, we can go into the metaphorical shelves of M&S and discover that Jesus has everything we need for the new beginning. He even has the right sized pair of trousers! Today why not lay down the mad rush, avoid the puddle and try a new approach; let's 'start as we mean to go on.'