Sunday, August 30, 2015

Not totally gone

Trees have a lot more roots than I can see- and probably more roots than you can see, too.  In fact, I typically can't see any of the roots.  I just see the trunk, branches, and leaves (i.e. a "tree").  There are certain trees I like more than others. I am not very good with their names though.  For example, there are these trees in my neighborhood that I LOVE.  I didn't know I loved them until spring came and they started to get leaves and take on a new shape- the tree is in the shape of a lantern-like acorn when it fills out with leaves!  What on earth kind of a description is that?  That is the best way I know to describe it.  And it is lovely.  But I don't know it's name.  Sorry, tree.

Even though the trees were there all winter, I just drove and walked by them each day without a second glance.  The next thing I knew, they were the prettiest things I had ever seen.

On a similar note, there are trees that are repulsive in the spring.  They let off a foul odor when they bloom, and it causes me to gag.  Some of these types of trees were planted on the south side of the freshman dorms where I went to college.  Unfortunately, this type of tree is not limited just to Oregon.  There are also some of these trees outside my current place of employment.  Who allowed this to happen?!?!

I like how God uses trees throughout the Bible to symbolize just about everything.  I get trees.  I can climb them and touch them and hang upside down in their branches. I can eat their fruit and play in their leaves.  I can lie down in their shade.  I can run into low-hanging branches when I am not paying attention. I get trees.  Even when God is mysterious, or He feels distant, I can still understand trees.  And I can understand God better when I look at trees.

So what?  Well, there's a lot of directions I could go here.  The way I will go is in the way of spiritually smelly trees, and how, spiritually, they need to be chopped down.  I've touched on the topic of self-hatred in a previous post, and how I let it sabotage God's and man's attempts to help me in the past.  I thought it was gone. Like way gone.  Goner than gone. Adios. Chau. Hasta nunca.  But it turns out, the root is still there, somewhere in me, lying dormant.  Grr.

I don't really know how to handle it or what to do with it- how to get rid of it.  I'd like to chop it to smithereens and burn it.  But if I go in there, inside my soul, chopping and ripping and burning things, I will likely destroy myself.  And that is exactly what self-hatred wants.  It's a foul, nasty, tormenting spirit that does not belong in me.  It's at the root of pretty much every destructive decision I've made, and pretty much everything I've written about in this blog.  The only way I know of to get rid of it is to keep allowing the Holy Spirit to go in my soul in the careful way that only He can, and divide the good from the bad, the clean from the unclean, the life from the death.

Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor, which is awesome, because finding good counsel is hard enough.  Finding wonderful counsel?  Now you're probably going to be searching for a while.  That is, unless you look to Jesus.  So that is where I am going, and He is who I am trusting.  I don't have much more to say on the subject at this point. 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Reflections and Redos

February feels like a lifetime ago. 
I have a list of monthly goals on my cubicle wall at work.  My goals for May were to breathe clean ocean air and have a stellar birthday.  Check.  I did not intend to take a break from writing during the past months (it was not on my goal list). 
I had a lot of time to reflect on life while I was on the coast, and God gave me a freshly grateful heart for where He has taken me and where He has ultimately planted me since I first walked on the Oregon coast in 2002.
I've been back in North Dakota for two entire months now, and it is amazing how quickly that gratefulness wears off and the doubts come in again; doubts over the complexity of life, the constant striving, and the weight of the world.  I feel light when I am outside, stepping on the sand, getting sprayed with ocean mist, watching the clouds move with the wind.


I start to feel a death when I am inside too much.  I get weighed down, separated from God's creation and the breath of the Holy Spirit.  Immune to the power of Jesus.

I went for a bike ride tonight, and it refreshed me.  Being out in the open, I felt my heart soften again.  I heard the still small voice of the Lord give direction on how to reconcile a personal situation.  I felt some of the weight lift off my shoulders.  It's a good feeling!

The sun was intensely bright, the breeze was soft and cool, and the evening was lazy and restful.  No pressure, no schedule, no rush.  I drank it in deeply.

Here's to Sunday evenings, and vacationing only minutes from home.