It might still be hot outside, but school has started, and summer is slowly receding to give way to Fall. I don’t know about you, but I can already taste the pumpkin spice lattes and hear the leaves crunch beneath my boots.
Perhaps Fall is most often associated with a fresh start because it signals the beginning of the school year. Just as students tote new backpacks and unstained lunchboxes into class, we as women can tote a new attitude and a fresh outlook for the upcoming season.
Here are 15 Small Ways to Make a Fresh Start this Fall.
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Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. (Colossians 3:12-13 ESV)
One of the most important things we can do going into any new season is to forgive. As difficult as it can be, it’s crucial to extend forgiveness to anyone who has wronged us. It doesn’t mean you condone the behavior or that the hurt wasn’t real—it means releasing the other person and trusting the Lord to act on your behalf. When we remember what all Christ has forgiven us for, it suddenly becomes a lot easier to let go of the grudge.
But all things should be done decently and in order. (1 Corinthians 14:40 ESV)
The context of this verse is referring to speaking in tongues, but we can still learn from the theme. When our homes are in order, we feel more peaceful and settled. Pick a closet or a drawer and get organized this Fall! Whether you’re sorting clothes or knickknacks, putting things in order makes your life easier and lets your spirit breathe.
3. Meal plan.
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV)
One of the biggest time-consuming stresses of running a family—or even eating as a single—is cooking. This Fall, consider taking the time to healthy meal prep on the weekend to give yourself more free time in the evenings during the week.
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Let all that you do be done in love. (1 Corinthians 16:14 ESV)
Loving can sometimes be one of the hardest things to do genuinely. It seems our pride and selfishness creeps in to steal any pure motivation we might have. Yet the Bible tells us to do everything in love. We can look to 1 Corinthians 13 to remind ourselves what love is (patient, kind, not envious, boastful, or proud, etc.). Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can love like that this Fall.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10)
Just as we thrive in fellowship with a clean heart toward God, we thrive in our homes with a clean environment. It doesn’t mean things have to be tidy twenty-four-seven. If you have children, you know that’s not a realistic expectation! But even the smallest effort toward decluttering an area of your home can feel like a clean slate for Fall.
6. Listen well.
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. (James 1:19 ESV)
In an over-stimulating culture, it can be difficult to listen. Even the people we care the most about can easily overwhelm us with stories from their day or needs that need to be met. But James tells us to be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. When we put aside our flesh and listen, we’re showing respect and love to the person speaking to us.
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7. Join a small group.
Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. (Romans 12:4-5(NLT)
Community is essential. If you haven’t joined a small group at your church, this Fall might be the perfect time to jump in and connect with your church body. Small groups allow accountability, friendship and support. What are you waiting for?
8. Spend time in the Word.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:1 ESV)
If you don’t already have a habit of getting up early to read the Word, make the time this Fall. Find a through-the-year Bible reading plan or just jump into reading one of your favorite books. Wherever you choose to start, the important thing is immersing yourself in God’s Word. It’s our bread, our armor, and our sword.
9. Start a new book.
It’s important to read the Bible, and it’s also beneficial to stretch our way of thinking with literature. Jesus even spoke in parables! The use of story has been a rewarding method of learning from the beginning of time.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8 ESV)
Making time to read, be it fiction or nonfiction, can help you keep your mind on things that are good and expand your boundaries.
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Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16 ESV)
Most people wait to start a new diet or work out plan in January, but why not beat the crowd? Honor your body and start getting some exercise now. Whether you join a gym or simply start taking brisk walks around the block, get moving and take care of your temple.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV)
We need prayer no matter what season of life we’re in. This Fall, commit to being more aware of your thoughts. When they drift, try to steer them toward prayer. We still have to use our minds to focus on other tasks during our day, but our hearts should always be in close fellowship with the Lord, ready to switch into prayer at any moment.
12. Plan that lunch date.
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV)
You know that friend you keep saying you’ll get together with for coffee or lunch soon, but never do? Call her! Make it happen this Fall. Set a time and date and build each other up in the Lord. She’ll benefit from it as much as you will.
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And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful. (Titus 3:14 ESV)
This Fall, why not get involved with a new ministry opportunity in your church or local community? Get out of your comfort zone and volunteer at the local shelter when it’s not a holiday. Volunteering doesn’t have to be through an official organization, though there’s plenty of quality ones that need help. It can simply be doing a good deed or meeting a need for someone in your neighborhood. Keep your eyes open for ways to be a blessing.
14. Start a journal.
And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. (Habakkuk 2:2)
This verse was written to Habakkuk in a specific time in history, but we can take the theme and learn from it by writing down our goals for the year. The Lord might change our steps down the road, but having plans are good. It keeps us from being stagnant in our faith and allows us to record mile-markers of the Lord’s provision and goodness along the way. And one day, someone else might read that testimony of faith and “run” with it!
15. Face a fear.
I sought the Lord, and he answered meand delivered me from all my fears. (Psalm 34:4)
This Fall, why not strive to overcome a fear in your life? This might not mean doing something as dramatic as scheduling a bungee-jumping appointment or surrounding yourself with clowns—it could just mean that you step out of your comfort zone and reach out to a new girl at church, or join a small group where you don’t know anyone. The Lord is our deliverer, and He often uses us to help deliver fellow believers. What can you overcome this Fall that might be a testimony to someone else?
Betsy St. Amant Haddox is the author of fourteen inspirational romance novels and novellas. She resides in north Louisiana with her newlywed hubby, two story-telling young daughters, a collection of Austen novels, and an impressive stash of Pickle Pringles. Betsy has a B.A. in Communications and a deep-rooted passion for seeing women restored in Christ. When she's not composing her next book or trying to prove unicorns are real, Betsy can usually be found somewhere in the vicinity of a white-chocolate mocha. Look for her latest novel with HarperCollins, LOVE ARRIVES IN PIECES, and POCKET PRAYERS FOR FRIENDS with Max Lucado. Visit her at http://www.betsystamant.com./
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Originally published Thursday, 15 August 2019.