i’m looking at this picture of a tree deeply rooted into the ground. its roots are intricate, strong, full of life, producing such stability and strength. i look at roots with such fascination now. breathtaking. roots carry such symbolism to me. so much so i don’t know that i’ll be able to make it through this post without tearing up.
how i long for roots.
i used to resist growing roots. i didn’t even realize it. i think i was fearful of relational commitment. maybe fearful i would let someone down. or that they would let me down. maybe i even feared that my burdens felt so heavy, how could i have the capacity to carry someone else’s? or maybe i just didn’t want them to see my baggage up close. so somewhere along the line i decided i was going to fight this spiritual battle on my very own. just me and God. and i actually convinced myself that this was biblical. as if i didn’t need anyone but Jesus. typing it out even now, makes me twinge. i lived a huge portion of my life this way. avoiding consistent connection with others as if i had a biblical permit to do so. what foolishness. we need each other. we need God. but we are a body. we are one. of course we need each other to thrive. we were created for God. but we were also created for each other. we need to be close enough in each other’s lives where we can see what is inside each other. that’s how we protect each other. that is real community. its not that people can save us, its that God has chosen to reach down and interact with our lives and he has chosen people to be an extension of his grace. whether or not we drop the ball. and if this type of intimacy isn’t occurring in our lives within the context of community, i think is prevents us from growing strong roots. thats why i think community is worth fighting for.
as beautiful as solitude is, as much as i believe it should be a thriving part of our life’s rhythm… its only a part. i made it bigger than it should have been. it enabled my immaturity and prevented me from growing roots. roots temper my immaturity. they keep me from inconsistency and retreating in fear. i ran from roots. and somehow God threw me into marriage very quickly and allowed me to grow a tiny soul in my belly nine months later. all of which threw me right into a steady motion of growing roots. i fought it. i cried a whole lot of tears. there were times when it felt that these roots were growing just a little too strong too fast. i wanted my load to be lighter. i wanted to drift when i felt like drifting. i wanted to flee when i felt like fleeing. you can’t flee with roots. you can blow a bit. you can have solitude. but only in balance. because you are rooted down. and being rooted is beautiful. i fear that some people will never experience this beauty because they are so afraid of roots.
you see, without roots, you can’t grow. you can’t bloom flowers in spring. you can’t bear fruit in the summer. you can’t see who you might become. and you certainly can’t multiply. you can’t stretch your branches into the sky, giving full glory to the One who created you to be exactly who you are.
my friend blakely described roots like this, “when i think about the oaks of righteousness that are found in the book isaiah , it reminds me that our trees have to have strong roots so we can grow branches tall and wide enough for someone to actually sit under them to find rest and shade.” thats what the kingdom of God is. its us actually investing long enough relationally to grow roots. so that we can become huge oaks that people can actually rest under. if we don’t stay put long enough to grow roots we won’t be shelter for anyone. Jesus is worth sharing because he is shelter. thats why the kingdom is worth sharing. people need that shelter. i need that shelter.
i desire earnestly, a root system beneath me. i want it to grow intricately and complex, with strength, stability, and nourishment. through the nourishment of scripture and intimacy with God and investing in community. so when heavy winds blow, my branches may bend, but i’m rooted into something deeper than my emotions, fears, insecurity, and lack of faith sometimes. i want a root system the enables me to stretch my branches toward the sun and bear fruit in season. fruit that points to a God that is real. a God that is worth everything we are holding back.
yes. i want roots. so i can bear fruit.
fruit that bears fruit. that bears fruit. that bears fruit.