What kind of tree are you? I heard this analogy on the radio just the other day and it has stuck with me. The question has been lingering in my mind for days. I think that there is a reason that certain things stay with us and others don’t. I believe that God places things on us to create teachable moments for us. He. knows what I need and where my heart is, and it is no accident this metaphor is still with me. What kind of tree are you? When someone bumps into you (tree), what kind of fruit falls? I’ll wait while that sinks in…..
When the weight of life becomes crushing. When heartache breaks you. When anxiety paralyzes you. When isolation cripples your soul. How do you respond?
Honestly, let me make it a little less “heavy”…. When someone cuts you off in traffic (do I even remember how to drive?) When your text goes unread. When you are left out of a group gathering. When you get your feelings hurt. How do you respond?
Yep, I got my toes stepped on by this one. I had to do a serious heart check as I pondered this question. What kind of fruit do I bear? When times get hard, I do not always respond the way that I would like to. Anxiety and fear cause emotions and reactions to come out sideways. The fruit that falls from my tree when I’m shaken is not always good fruit. Initially, my reaction to all of this was to beat myself up and wish that I could just “be better.” I did the whole self-loathing thing for a minute, held a pity party for one, and then I quit. I left the party. I will never be perfect. Not. Even. Close. But I can strive each day to become more Christ-like. I can pray and ask and allow the Holy Spirit to produce those fruits in me. I can seek Him first in all that I do. I can fall down and get back up again, knowing that He still loves me and that no matter how many times I stumble, He STILL loves me.
I will always remember this tree metaphor. And when I am “bumped” I will think about what kind of fruit falls.
Lockdown. Shelter in place. Stay at home. No matter what it is called, it still means the same thing. We are ordered to stay in our homes. Together. For an undetermined amount of time. Of course we all love our families and we all want to do all that we can to keep ourselves and our communities safe. But let’s just get real for a minute…it ain’t easy. There are six of us who live in our house. Six humans and one very rambunctious, energetic dog. No matter how much we love and care about each other, we are still going to get on each other’s nerves. We are going to bicker and argue. We are going to have ups and downs.
I woke early this morning to steal the quiet moments that exist when everyone else is still sleeping. The weight of the coming day and week was bearing down on me. In my prayer I wept and cried to God “I’m not sure if I can do this…” God gently nudged me with “You can’t…but I can.”
These words: love, peace, self-control, peace, goodness, gentleness, kindness, joy. They are not going to come naturally or easily to me during these difficult times. Trying to teach from home, manage the house, help my own children do their school work, and help my whole family navigate this storm is so stressful to me! Those words do not describe my demeanor over the past few days. And its hard for me to admit that I need help…but the reality is, I need help. So my prayer for my household today and going forward is that I learn to rely on the Holy Spirit to change me. I will lean into to the power of the Spirit. “Only the Holy Spirt can produce the kinds of fruits in our lives…” (Galatians 5:22)
Another gloomy morning. Gray. Rain. Swampy back yard – which means muddy paw prints everywhere in the house. Twice this morning the tears have flooded my eyes, threatening to spill over and not stop. Holed up in the house for one week. Anxiety hangs in the air – unspoken but revealed in actions and eyerolls. I am truly seeking to be a positive source for my family (and for my own well-being). Sometimes though, I’m just faking it. And sometimes that can be exhausting. I feeling…scared, worn out, overwhelmed, tired, anxious, on edge. But these are just feelings. They are currently how I am but they are not who I am.
I am human. I have fears, but I am not fearful. I have worries, but I am not worried. I have so much to constantly do, but I am not buried. Who I truly am is a child of the one true King. I am His. And even though I am feeling all of these things, He still loves me. Even though I cry over the situation, He is not disappointed in me. I am His. The power of His spirit lives in me and I am a child of God. These are the things that define me – not the things I am thinking or feeling. I have been redeemed by Him and in His eyes I am perfect.
Sitting here in sweats, a Hootie and the Blowfish concert t-shirt, and my third (ish) day of a messy bun, I feel unworthy and broken. But soaking in His word and in prayer I am reminded that I am whole. How I am is not who I am. Resting in that right there!