Hello my crazy friends,
On Monday of this week I stayed home and worked in the yard--mowing, weeding, edging, that whole bit. In the front yard, right in front of our main picture window looking out onto Thiessen Ave. is a small weeping-willow tree of some sort. The trunk is about 7-8 inches in diameter and it stands about 6 feet tall. It's a cute little tree and the little sparrows love to sit in its branches and torment our two cats. However, every year I have to prune the darn thing back because it has visions of grandeur. It wants to be a giant tree. However, I want it to stay small and low to the ground so that it doesn't block our view out that window. I want the tree to look like an umbrella with the branches going out and down. The little tree, on the other hand, wants to grow up and outward, reaching for the sky and taking over the whole front yard. It's not content to be what I want it to be.
Moreover, the little tree is sneaky. It sends out these skinny branches from the top reaching upward. Sometimes I don't notice for a while. But eventually I realize that the little guy is at it again, trying to make like a giant oak or a noble sequoia. On Monday, once again, I whacked the little guy back down to size and told him to knock it off. I don't want him to grow into a mighty tree. I like him the way he is and I'm the one in charge, not him.
That one-sided conversation started me thinking. I'm a lot like that little tree. I have my plans. I have a vision of what my life should be like. I want to be bigger, more noticed, more well-known. I want to pastor a bigger church. I want to have a more influential ministry. I want to preach to bigger crowds and make a bigger impact in my community. But every once in a while God has to say, "Settle down, Mike. I didn't make you for that. I made you for this. I like you this size. I want you to be a healthy, beautiful tree where I have planted you. It's not about your size. It's about My plans for you."
Sometimes I chaff under that. I look out and see some bigger trees around me and I want to be like them. When I compare myself to others I feel like a failure because I'm not bigger.
But that's the problem, isn't it? We have no business comparing ourselves to others. That is an inappropriate and inaccurate standard of measure. There is only one Person we need to please, and that is our Lord and Master, Jesus. His plan is perfect and it is beautifully form-fit and unique for each of us.
If we can just learn to rest in God's love and be content with His approval our stress level will go down significantly. The little tree in our front yard is stubborn though, and I'll probably have to have "the talk" with him again next year because he tends to forget what I tell him. And probably, the Lord will have to remind me of these things again, too, because I also have a short memory.
Trying to be content to be a little tree,