Sunday Thoughts: Growing Roots

The end of the year typically leads people into reflection – on their past, what life is like today, and what could be to come in the future. I don’t always choose New Year’s resolutions but I do like to set goals and think about how things could be different in the coming year.

I spent some time in the book of Jeremiah this morning, reading about God’s promises and prophesies for Israel. Jeremiah is a prophet called by God to spread the message of repentance and turning away from false hope in empty idols.

I was convicted by this passage, which made me think about where I put my trust and the fruit I’m bearing (or, more honestly, not bearing):

This is what the Lord says:
“Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans,
    who rely on human strength
    and turn their hearts away from the Lord.
They are like stunted shrubs in the desert,
    with no hope for the future.
They will live in the barren wilderness,
    in an uninhabited salty land.

“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
    and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
    with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat
    or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
    and they never stop producing fruit.”
Jeremiah 17:5-8

Even though I committed my heart to Jesus many years ago, I still struggle with putting my hope and confidence in Him. I let things bother me too easily and often feel like there’s more that God could be doing with my life, if I were open to it.

I want roots that grow so deep in the Lord they never get thirsty. Doesn’t that sound so refreshing?

As part of Threshold in November and December, we have been experimenting with spiritual disciplines. I chose the disciplines of silence and solitude. I have noticed over the last couple of years how distracted I am. I only make time for God when I feel like it and my time with Him seems to just consist of me asking for things. I fill the air around me with music, tv, people and am always thinking about or processing something, whether it’s news, work, facebook or other blogs.

My assignment was to spend 15 minutes in silence and solitude every day. I set out to leave my desk at work and walk the surrounding streets without listening to music or looking at my phone. The goal was to clear my head and just be silent. It wasn’t that I was expecting to hear from God in those 15 minutes, it was more about creating space in my life that was open for Him to speak, without my specific parameters crowding the time.

To be honest, I haven’t been very successful. My first few days walking around the block were consumed with thoughts of where I was going to park in December when Tyler moved to Maine and my regular commute changed. This was such a glaring example of how I fret about stupid little things instead of letting God work them out.

I did have some sweet moments of His presence. One day in particular stands out when I was blessed with some memories of my maternal grandparents who both passed over a decade ago. I also experienced a lessening in my desire to be constantly multitasking. I’m hopeful that this will continue and translate into a more focused heart on God’s presence in my day to day life.

It’s easy to become stunted shrubs in the desert, inhabiting a barren land without even really noticing. I feel like my roots have tasted of good soil but have yet to grow deep. I want more of that good soil.

As we reflect on 2012 and look forward into 2013, I pray that we would not only taste the good soil but plant ourselves firmly and deeply into it. I look expectantly with hope that God is going to bear sweet fruit from my life, despite how barren the land before me may look.

Blessings to you and yours in 2013!

(Pssst… Growing roots has a two-fold meaning for us in the new year. Check out my new blog on organic living at http://simple-roots.blogspot.com)