I was listening to a Tim Keller message today and he was telling a story about a town that banded together to keep the state from tearing down a landmark tree to put in a freeway. They were so relentless that the state eventually put in the freeway AROUND the tree. And then he said that there are trees in our lives that we demand God to build around. We guard and protest and stand our ground. We just won't let him touch that damn tree.
Me. Right there.
I have got me a tree, friends. I have a big ol' tree that I skirt around. It's not some big sin, or awful something. It's just my carefully preserved, vulnerable wounding. It's the most delicate, fragile, destroyed space. It's deep inside of me, but it's roots stretch into everything.
What I've been doing over the last nine months is hacking away at the roots. I've been cutting off, pruning back, repositioning, but I have yet to let God uproot me. Somehow I want to be healed without having to plow straight through. I want a softer road to freedom. Is there a softer road? Is there any way but through that thick trunked, deeply planted sorrow? Even if there is another way, do I really want to take it?
You know what I did this morning? I surrendered. I stepped away from my defensive position and I let words of relinquishment fill my heart. I felt the shift, the giant kind of letting go. I felt like Much Afraid, in Hinds Feet on High Places. I asked to be tied down in case I try to run back to that safe, rotten tree. Enough with the hope that God will overlook that one thing, that God will just clean me up AROUND the tree, and not touch the tree itself. Done.
You know what it felt like? For my fellow birthers, it felt like the moment when you finally push. You've been agonizing, your body has been in the THROES of labor... and then you push and the feeling changes. It's actually not worse. It's relief. It's active and it dulls the pain of the contractions. Don't get me wrong, it's hard work and it doesn't feel GOOD, but it feels strong. We dig into the soil of our inner strength, we root our heels into the spirit and then we produce life. Once that baby topples into the world, we are instantly, hormonally empowered.
That's what surrender feels like. That's what it is. Once we decide we're in, and we're in all the way, we are immersed in a great wave of relief. A. Great. Wave. Of. Relief.
If you've been living with a tree in the center of your heart; if you've been diverting traffic AROUND that tree, then maybe it's time to start considering taking a small step away. Maybe it's time to start thinking about how much energy you're putting into protecting something that keeps you stuck and weak. Maybe it's time to just take one finger off the trunk of whatever has rooted itself into you.
Really, what is there to lose? Maybe there is more to gain.