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wild : what if the trial IS the point

over the years i’ve had many relationships that didn’t work the way i wanted at the time.  misunderstanding, miscommunication, taking people and things for granted, a divorce, the end of a friendship or relationship.  you could call them failures.  i have.  but i don’t think the word fits anymore.  i feel like God is showing me something new.  something renewed.

in the past i’ve been a little annoyed at God for bringing repeating or similar situations into my life.  patterns of relationship, stories with similar threads: rejection, unworthiness, misunderstanding, abandonment, unforgiveness, and i would go, “really God?  really?  we’re going to do this again?”  {sigh}  i’d be frustrated, question what was wrong with me.  why did this keep happening?  and i’d resist the teaching.  believing the lie that it was my fault; i was a fraud, unworthy, the critics are right.  and i’d get small.  life would get small.

but out for a run i saw something.  nature gives us so many metaphors for life.  an afternoon run down an ordinary country road led to a surprising change in perspective.

what if these trials, circumstances, abandonments, rejections and prunings are not just a misunderstanding or a failure?  i’ve always believed growth and change are born out of adversity but what if it’s more?  what if it’s part of the plan?  what if it’s deliberate?  that’s not to say we don’t fail in relationships; become selfish, frustrated, prideful, bitter or mean or say and do things that cause damage.  we are all guilty of that.  but sometimes it’s more.  sometimes it’s beyond our control.   sometimes it’s really not about us.  sometimes, it seems, it’s His will.  we tell God what we want, and turn our back or get mad when it doesn’t happen on our timeline.  but what if it’s not meant to happen.  what if it’s somehow better that it doesn’t happen?  what if the trial IS the point?

some of my most painful or difficult “failures” have birthed self reliance, determination, faith, independence, freedom and good old fashioned grit.   not failures at all.  what if the trial is just part of the carving process to make us strong where we are otherwise weak?  what if it’s the process by which He takes our wild nature and crafts our character.

my vision for life is often short-sighted.  far too often my pride and controlling nature prevent me from seeing a greater perspective.  because what if He didn’t give us trials, prune relationships or sever them completely?  what if He didn’t test us, ask us to trust Him, and demand that we develop a strong foundation?  what if He let everything grow wild?  a hundred different branches growing in random and competing directions, each demanding it’s own way, seeking it’s own path, commanding one another to yield.  it might look something like this:

wild

it isn’t what i want to think of when i look at my life.  tangled.  twisted, competing branches twining around one another, growing through and above.  each one of these branches looks out for herself.  they’re not operating as a group, concerned about the growth of the whole.  wild.  every branch for herself.  selfish ambition.  disorder.  division.  pride.

what if He cares so much, loves us so much that He prunes.  tests.  cuts off.  shapes and forms us so that our branches grow in strength, unity, interconnection, and peace.  that each individual branch grows healthy and strong; that each has purpose, brings profit, and benefits the whole.  He CAN stop pruning.  let everything grow wild; tangled.  and yet He loves us enough to prune and sometimes sever; to cut away the unusable to make us more usable.  He continues to provide opportunities for us to learn the lesson that He loves us well.  that what we need is Him.  that we are inadequate by our own strength.

so instead of being angry, frustrated with the chaos and the repetition, maybe we pull in closer.  we lean into the hurt and the pruning, and allow Him sovereignty.  we abide in Him and let him tend.  instead of thinking that the world is against us, just maybe….we start to believe it’s conspiring to make us better.  we let Him do this thing.  this work.  we practice renewing our minds over and over again.  and again.  we learn the lesson.  we offer Him our life and thank Him for such acts of grace and mercy because we know that it means He loves us and cares enough to want the very best for us.  that in Him we are growing strong, strengthened from within like my beautiful naked tree.

perhaps like you, my first instinct is to control.  to shut down, close off, turn in.  to put power in my own hands and delude myself into thinking that i can do it on my own.  i can protect myself, take care of myself.  i’m trying to let go of the control, release the urge to fix it, finding peace in the whirlwind, and allowing Him to be sovereign.  it’s the only way i believe i can get to where i want to be.  it sets us free.  it set me free.  an every day miracle on an ordinary road.

this is one of my favorite songs and so in tune with the message of this post.  i encourage you to listen.  i hope it blesses you as much as it has blessed me.

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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Annie March 29, 2013, 10:17 pm

    Brilliant.

  • Noelle March 30, 2013, 12:41 am

    Very insightful post. I have listened to the song just recently and it is just so beautiful. yes what if the trial is the thing? We must trust in God and all will be well. Thanks for such a thoughtful post as always.

  • Kay Fredrick April 1, 2013, 1:56 am

    You are absolutely right! God’s purpose is to “conform me to the image of his son”. I love the way the Phillips Translation puts James 1:2-4:

    When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realise that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of mature character, men of integrity with no weak spots.

    • Tammy April 1, 2013, 2:48 am

      love that! so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. yes…. 🙂

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