On a recent road trip. I took note of the trees that dotted the brown, barren hills as I passed through.
Lonely little trees without leaves.
Bare. Naked. Twisted and jagged. Bumpy and exposed.
Braced for what turned out to be a cold and rainy winter. Brutal winds contorted their stiff branches in all directions against their will.
They preferred to do nothing but hope for survival.
Dormant. As if they were closed for business.
I can relate.
Winter, even in its mildest form, has that effect on many of us.
The season brings with it extended darkness. With each workday, we leave our homes at dawn and return after dusk. The winds are relentless and sunshine is rare, providing little motivation to seek fresh air or outdoor activities. The ten-day forecast starts and ends with gloom.
On days like this, I often find myself falling asleep too early and wondering where the day went. Much lazier and less productive than I should be.
Almost in a dormant state, like those trees.
But these few months don’t have to be a wasted season. While trees appear to be in hibernation and doing nothing, there is a deep internal process going on. Their roots continue to expand underneath the ground, and they store up water to prepare for an upcoming season of growth.
With all branches completely visible, Winter is a great time for pruning and getting rid of what’s broken. For paring down and rooting out what is no longer needed.
The same is true for us. Winter can be a great time to invest in our future as well.
Like a tree without leaves, here are a few ideas on how to pass the time in a way that also prepares us for an upcoming season of growth.
Five Things To Do in Winter
- Catch up on reading – Nothing goes together like a hot cup of coffee and a great book. Snuggle in, get cozy and take a few adventures with your mind. Or better yet, explore the Gospels in the New Testament. Reading one book a week will take you right into Spring with a renewed relationship with God.
- Learn a new skill – Determine the one thing you wished you knew how to do and learn how. Youtube videos can teach us anything, good and bad, so approach with caution. Try a knockoff recipe from your favorite restaurant. Practice calligraphy. Learn to sew. Keep your hands and mind busy and before you know it, the days will be longer and your skills will be sharper.
- Organize one area of your home per week. Start with that junk drawer or the closet you hope no one ever opens. Get rid of anything you haven’t used in a year and keep what you need where you use it most. Get your spring cleaning out of the way so that when it finally warms up, you are free to step outside and enjoy it.
- Find ways to keep active – Get moving, however you can. Turn up the music and dance to the beat while cleaning your house. Find a great video workout series to do in front of your television. Wake up those endorphins and remind them you are no longer in hibernation. You need them now more than ever!
- Seek the beauty of a sunrise or sunset. Open the blinds and look out the windows. After all, the trees have no leaves, so there is nothing to block the view. The sun may be a rare sight these days, but it still rises and falls in breathtaking fashion. Take time to notice and consider it a promise of great things to come.