Earlier today I read an email about finding a word that would embody who I want to be this year rather than making a list of resolutions.
I liked the idea.
Later, as I drove down the highway, I thought about the verses that teased my heart toward Him this morning…
Instead you thrill to God’s Word,
you chew on Scripture day and night.
You’re a tree replanted in Eden,
bearing fresh fruit every month,
Never dropping a leaf,
always in blossom.
(Psalm 1:2-3, the message)
Do you catch that?
Not planted. Re-planted.
As I drove I noticed all of the towering Pine trees. I imagined the roots that must go deep for them to grow and thrive the way they have.
Then I knew my word.
And then I knew my word for last year.
Can you see through me? I really hope so.
Striving and grasping leads to a withering soul.
Instead of a towering Pine I’ve been more like the Charlie Brown Christmas tree.
What are we drinking in, absorbing, into our hearts and minds?
Where have I been planted?
The stuff of blossoming is the stuff of deep-roots. Drinking in the presence of Creator. Touching and feeling, sometimes like a blind person, until we find what we are looking for in Jesus.
I’ve been ruined.
I’ve known a most fierce love and grace. My heart-roots drinking in the love of a God I could not fathom but yet fell, no crashed, into with force that shook loose my worries, fears and regrets.
Today I drove down 95 and we listened to the top country songs of 2013 and my kids said that I was in a good mood.
They fell asleep and I plugged in my phone and listened to a few of my favorite worship songs. Not because I had to or thought I should or felt some kind of illogical war inside. (I just wanted to and that, I think, is when things happen.)
I could feel the faint breeze of His love against my heart.
Like a tree reaching for the sun, I could feel my insides turn to face Him.
I’ve withered in my soul and yet my spirit still knows what it knows of Him. All of that next-breath-nearness is part of who I am.
You can’t go back, not really. You don’t disappear from who you were or who He is to you…no, it’s more a disjointed loss of intimacy.
You just turn and squirm and strive until you are so malnourished there is nothing left to offer except perhaps self-loathing. Your heart-roots absorb fear, negativity and selfishness until the poison lays claim to your words, thoughts and emotions.
I think at the end of the day it’s about where I lay down my roots. What I lay my heart up against.
And I smile because you can’t even really make them grow on your own. No matter what anyone tells you, Jesus has always been the worker and we have always been His workmanship.
All we can do is lay our hearts up against Him.
Say to Jesus our most honest words. Breathe and listen and be still.
Some of us just need to calm down and stop trying so hard to be perfect.
I’m just saying that today is the first day of a brand new year. Most of us have secret or declared goals. We know where we are and where we’d like to be. We know our glaring need for improvement.
So we’ll try really hard.
And then most of us will quit because it’s hard to be a disappointment and a failure.
What if we cut our striving down to the nubs and let our parched and malnourished souls lie gently against His powerful and loving hand?
He is Love. And kindness. And grace and gentleness and every last thing we wish we could be.
I’ve so much lack and He has so much abundance and yet really we are only asked to let Him replant our roots against His truth.
And just drink Him in and grow.