I pulled up to our cottage Sunday afternoon for the beginning of my annual leaf-raking expedition.  The leaves were mostly out of the trees, covering our double lot with a thick, golden brown layer of beauty, and the only snow to be seen was on the rooftop.  But I had a problem.

I have been looking forward to this trip for weeks.  Most years when I arrive, I jump out of my car, put on some old clothes, and get to work with a smile on my face and adrenaline running through my veins.  But not this year.  I did change my clothes and bring the mower into the cottage to warm up for the following morning.  But then, instead of going back out to get started, I sat down at the kitchen table.  There I realized what I really needed to do was take some time for myself – to rest, reflect, and prepare for the rest of 2021.

All the leaves are still where I found them.  I never touched a rake in the 40 hours I was at the cottage, and the only place I touched the leaves was with the soles of my shoes.  I walked a little, read a little, rested a lot, and did little things on my laptop and iPad that brought me peace.  As I drove back on Tuesday morning, I listened to our STL Faith Connection Podcast.  Even the 2.5 hours on the road each way helped to refresh me.

And now I am suggesting that you “Take 20”.  No, I am not asking you to stop by our cottage and rake up 20 bags of leaves (That would require close to 10 of you to stop by, so I will take care of them in the spring).  What I am suggesting is that you take 20 minutes (18:48 to be exact) to listen to podcast #6.  Here is the link: https://www.stl-eastpointe.org/2020/10/10/faith-connection-podcast/#listen. Or you can go to www.stl-easpointe.org and click on “ministries” to scroll down to the Faith Connection Podcasts.

My impression from speaking with people is that I am not the only one who has experienced mental fatigue.  In many ways it has stymied many lives.  We may need some sort of a ‘jump start’ to get moving again.  I think this podcast might help.

Of course, listening to this podcast is no magic wand … nor is anything else.  But every journey starts with the first, small steps.  And this is what I am encouraging you to do.  Who knows, you may just end up listening to all ten of those podcasts!  And then getting involved in an FHL group in the new year.  And then hosting one sometime thereafter!

Then again you might find yourself to be the encourager of another person who is currently stymied.  And they another … and … and … and.  You know how this goes.  Life can actually get pretty exciting when we lose ourselves in encouraging others – even if only 1 out of 20 attempts ends up with a positive result.

Remember the words of Jesus from John 16.33: “I have said these things to you, that you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation.  But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

I am going to cut this short this week, in the hope that can read this in about 1:12 … and then use 18:48 to listen … No I am not trying to take anything away from you – just suggesting that you take 20 to make a small step forward … while, at the same time, I expect you might be hearing Jesus whispering in your ear, The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that you may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10.10)

Is this a little discombobulated?  I think it is.  Perhaps I need to “Take 20” AGAIN!

Take 20!