I used to believe I had it all together. I had a schedule to follow, obligations to keep, things to arrange. I was someone and what I did was important.
This all changed when Andy and I moved and I began looking for a new job.
I assumed that employers would see that I was capable and important too. After all, I am a university graduate, have quite a few years of valuable work experience under my belt, and am fairly positive and personable – all desirable characteristics in a prospective employee. However, one by one the doors for me to work in a variety of capacities have closed.
Now friends, I must admit that I don’t do very well with rejection. I like feeling important, desirable, and needed. I like to be that person with the schedule to follow and the obligations to keep and the things to arrange. I like to feel like I am working towards something, building something, making something happen. So when I am handed a plate of rejection, a little piece of my heart seems to shrivel up, and I feel like a failure.
Did I do something wrong?
Should I have said something different?
What is wrong with me?
And the cycle continues, rejection cutting deeper and deeper each time.
Needless to say, this season has been rough for me. I feel insecure and vulnerable, unsure about what to do or which direction to go in. Lately I’ve been seeking the Lord a lot, asking him what the heck is up with this whole life thing. What about the dreams he has so deeply ingrained into my heart? What about my passion for writing, for creativity, for inspiring beauty in this world? I thought I was supposed to do something with that, but everywhere I look I just see reminders of my own failed attempts and broken dreams.
But today I was reminded of the importance of prunes and roots.
Several months ago one of my best friends drew me a beautiful picture of a tree, representing my life. On the branches, she wrote words capturing aspects of the fruit my life has produced on my “outsides,” such as relationships, or dreams awakening, or love bursting forth. She drew pictures of flowers and leaves, budding and bringing forth beauty to be seen by all the world. The tree did not stop there, though. She also drew what was under the surface, the roots. On those she wrote words capturing aspects of my life journey that have grown me into who I am today, such as marriage, moving to a new country, and experiences in university and around the world. Those were things over the years that have refined my character and personality, have strengthen my faith and have grown my “insides” – my heart and who I am in my deepest places.
With this image in mind, today it occurred to me that I’ve been approaching this whole life thing in the wrong way. I’ve been trying to force the fruit of my life to grow, by seeking out opportunities and trying to make things happen, when in fact the Lord has actually been pruning me in this season of life. I think closed doors make me weaker, but he sees them as an opportunity to go deeper. He has completely stripped me of the identity I found in having a job, the security I found in having an income, and the confidence I found in having gifts and talents. Those things are not bad at all, but the Lord is using this unique season of my life to prune me back, so that my roots can grow deeper in him. Those other things will come, but he says first things first.
Now neither the process of pruning nor of growing roots are glamorous, but they are essential. Pruning is a mess. It is painful and unattractive. And quite frankly, my life is a mess. I don’t have it all together and it is not something I am proud to show people. But pruning is needed to produce. When a tree is pruned, it produces much healthier fruit down the road. Likewise, I know that this season of pruning in my own life will not last forever and it will eventually produce much healthier fruit in the seasons to come.
And roots… They are dirty and most often, no one sees them growing underground, as they nuzzle their way through the dirt, going deeper and deeper. But right now, I know that I need to strengthen my roots and go deep. Roots keep the rest of the tree standing tall. With tons of fruit, but no roots, a tree would just fall over. It is probably for this reason that the Lord cares more about growing my roots than my reputation. He doesn’t want my life to be one that bears tons of fruit, but then topples when the slightest nudge comes my way. No thank you. My insides need to be bigger than my outsides. I need to go deep.
That all being said, thank you for reading this and bearing with the inner-workings of my heart and mind. As I go on this journey of growing roots, I hope to share with you some of the things I learn along the way. I welcome you to join with me, as we unpack what it means to be rooted in God along this journey of life and how we can do that. Stay tuned for more in the weeks to come. In the meantime, feel free to drop a note below. 🙂