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Fallow Time

Today’s Reflection

FARMERS SPEAK OF the value of allowing a field to lie fallow for a while, to remain idle in order to rejuvenate the soil for future productivity. Listening to winter teaches us that we too can find refreshment through lying fallow.

Joining this cycle of nature—work and rest, action and contemplation, productivity and passivity—puts us in harmony with creation itself. Jesus modeled this rhythm for us. On occasion, he left needy crowds behind to commune with God in prayer, to celebrate with friends, or just to be alone for a time.

When our souls lie fallow, they become aware of the quiet infusion of God in and through everything—not merely the moments we might deem spiritual or religious. …

We can find pockets of refreshment even in a busy day—soaking in a hot bath, reading a few pages from an inspiring book, watching the cardinal flutter at the feeder, petting the new puppy, sitting in silence.

Our souls need the same kind of renewal as the farmer’s field. Perhaps we too will be more fruitful if we respect our need to life fallow occasionally.

– Linda Douty
Rhythms of Growth

From pages 15-16 of Rhythms of Growth: 365 Meditations to Nurture the Soul by Linda Douty. Copyright © 2014 by Linda Douty. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

What do you do to experience renewal? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Luke 3:16, NRSV

This Week: pray for someone beginning a good habit. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section below.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers, call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center web site.

Saints, Inc.:

This week we remember: Simeon Stylites (January 5).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2016 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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{ 10 comments… add one }

  • Mary Ng Shwu Ling January 9, 2016, 3:40 am

    Taking a few days of annual leave to catch up with old friends over a meal, listening to instrumental music, worship songs, hymns, taking time to reflect, reading the Upperroom reflection, retail therapy, or just having a facial, a pedicure one even trying a new restaurant helps me experience renewal.

    Grateful for time to catch up with an old Friend over lunch today. So much to share about God’s goodness and blessings. Absolutely, a time of renewal today.

    Thank you Father God for a refreshing time of renewal today. May you continue to renew each of us in he UR family.

  • Jill January 9, 2016, 5:10 am

    I find, more and more, that I simply need time to be still and quiet. I am not sure if it is my age, coupled with the lack of volume and language control in the halls at school – but I find myself craving the quietness of my home.
    I have also grown to appreciate the breaks that are built into the school schedule. Of course, I always enjoyed winter break – two weeks to be free of school activities. But, now, it is something more…a NEEDED break – to re-charge, to step away.
    I also experience renewal by getting out in nature. When I have the opportunity to get to the beach – there is something about the rhythmic sound of the waves, the patterns of sand on the seashore, the anticipation of seeing dolphins lazily loping in and out of the deep waters. I usually travel to Carolina over winter break – and my personal tradition is to take a walk alone on New Year’s Eve night – on the beach. It is a timeless walk, and no matter the temperature – I will sit for a spell on the beach and pray, talking over the year with God, and the anticipation of the new year. I missed that so very much this past holiday season. However – I will be escaping to the beach briefly next month.
    Grateful for a fairly unscheduled weekend, time to be still and read. Grateful for a bit warmer temperatures this morning. Grateful that my uncle is home from the hospital with a positive prognosis, following his stroke.

  • robert moeller January 9, 2016, 6:07 am

    Thankful for some work in the garden, the rose bushes are covered with burlap; good meals, a long sleep, and progress editing an article. Thankful that every day quiet time starts my day.

    I recharge every morning with daily devotions and reflections here at the Upper Room. Sunday church service is up lifting. Prayer, Bible reading, walks, and experiencing nature, especially the woods and mountains, all are empowering experiences. Glad too to talk to friends and family.

    Thankful that positive new habits are being developed. I need to follow suit and return to good habits that have faded.

    Thank you all for sharing your experiences, learning of them recharge me.

  • Sara January 9, 2016, 6:35 am

    The comments made me smile – we must be of one mind because the comments resonate with ways I renew. Today I will be attending our grandson’s wrestling tournament and it’s a long day. Don’t know if that’s considered renewal time as it can get intense. But it’s encouraging to see the progress he’s made and I’m proud of him.

    God, bless all who come to the UR site today and renew our soul, mind and body and to feel Your presence throughout the day. Thank you for Your generous gifts to us and may we pass along to others the blessings and peace You so freely give to us. Amen

  • Betsy January 9, 2016, 7:40 am

    Such heartfelt words, Sara! There is a common thread to our comments; quiet time to pause and renew seems to be something we all value. After retiring last spring, my renewal time has taken on a new priority. My life has become so busy in different ways than teaching all day. It’s filled with volunteering, Bible study, meetings, and other things; I have to make myself carve out time to be still. Walking outdoors, reading quietly or watching an old movie helps me to recharge and recalibrate. Thanks be to God for the different seasons of life, where He meets us in many different ways.
    Thankful today for movie date tonight with fiends, anticipation of Bible study starting back up this week after Holiday break, and snuggle time now with my lap dog, Gus.

    • Rusty January 9, 2016, 8:00 am

      Yay lap dogs! Thanks Betsy.

  • Rusty January 9, 2016, 7:58 am

    Two kinds of renewal mentioned in the reading are especially helpful to me. One is reading inspirational (or inspired) writings. I love reading on the various electronic devices so many people have, now. With my phone I have instant access to God’s word, to the book of Common Prayer, or any of several theological or devotional books I have going at any given time. Being able to put life or work on pause for a few moments during the day, take a breather, and read is wonderfully renewing. The other example that struck me was about the puppy. My wife and I have acquired four small dogs in recent years. All rescues, each with a hidden past. One of them, Lady, was very skitterish when we got her almost two years ago. She was awkward when we picked her up and seemed to be rigid as a rail rather than relaxing and settling in to being held. Now, though, she has come to love getting picked up. My wife K says Lady “wants her hug” (knowing that when I pick Lady up I’m getting my hug too!). So renewing peaceful, and affirming of God’s love.

  • Connie January 9, 2016, 8:55 am

    I was raised in a farming community so the “fallow” time resonated with me. I will lie fallow now, looking forward to the Lenten season. I was an only child and so I like stillness and quiet very much, even during the child-raising years. Today is my daughter’s birthday and God has brought her through some harrowing times (health), and today I thank Him for her and for watching over her always.
    I have enjoyed all the comments. I am an animal lover and lost my last pet a few years ago. Maybe I need to adopt one in 2016. Over the years I have had cats, dogs, horse, rabbits, mice, chameleons, fish, a turtle, so I have done my share of “spreading the love”!

  • Carol January 9, 2016, 9:31 am

    A few years ago, I returned to living on the (now 4th generation) family farm with my brother and sister-in-law. The fields appear to be resting, but during this time of rest, a powerful rejuvenation is occurring. There aren’t words to describe the winter months’ rejuvenation for my brother and family, for each day continues to be very busy. But an inner excitement is slowly brewing, totally unseen, that restores hope and vision and inspiration. Restoration will continue, moving through the process of conditioning monstrous pieces of heavy, very expensive equipment, readying it to return to the fields. It will be used to gently lay tiny seeds, precisely into the soil. As the sun warms soil to a just right temperature, the seeds will send roots down and shoots up.

    Each spring, I am in awe how hope causes a farmer to work so very, very hard to put a crop into soil with no guarantee that the yield will be great enough to cover the cost of spring planting. It requires that renewal of hearts mind and soul that occurs during the winter months.

    During this time of year, renewal for me comes in times of quietness. Being a visual person, I am envisioning what my flower gardening is going to look like in the spring, love Pinterest for this. Renewal in the summer comes from sitting on the ground amongst the flowers, listening through the quiet of nature as it takes me to places in my heart and mind that need resolution and healing. Through all of this writing, the word “hope” stands out. Renewal of “hope” is what I need each day.

  • Andrea January 9, 2016, 12:31 pm

    The landscape is so peaceful with fresh snow. It has turned very cold. The earth is just as beautiful when it is fallow as when it is in full bloom. At this later stage of life, there is time to be fallow, so welcome after many years of hard, demanding work and family obligations/stresses. I am thankful for each day of quiet stillness, for health, for all the gifts of late middle age (or early old age.) I pray for all who are beginning new habits. I pray all in the UR community will have a blessed weekend of rest, knowing each and everyone of us is and always will be held tenderly in God’s caring hands.

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