Raw. Naked. Vulnerable. This is how I feel.
Stretched to the max. Out of my comfort zone. At the breaking point. This is where I am.
Crying. Laughing. Straining. This is what I do.
In the past, I’ve written posts that draw the parallels between the lives of humans and rose bushes; I strongly believe that we must be pruned before we can grow. I know that our lives have seasons, but what I’m experiencing is more.
Right now I feel like a tree. I am stripped of all that flourishes. The things that made me beautiful, that rustled in the wind, that provided a place of refuge for others, that protected me…my leaves have fallen. I can hear them crinkle beneath boots. While they no longer clothe me in brilliance, they provide joy for others as they jump into colorful piles of my former radiance with both feet.
I stand bare before the world. Vulnerable to nature and the storms that threaten to overwhelm me, but strong nonetheless. For my roots go deep and are nurtured in rich soil. My vulnerability reveals the strength of the solid ground on which I stand. It is good.
This feeling, place, and process is not without meaning. With my leaves stripped away, I am free to see myself as I am. Not as who I’ve imagined myself to be and not who I aspire to be in the future. I see myself in the present. Whole. I make no judgement, but accept myself for who and where I am. Now.
And that’s when God begins to work. Just as a tree must shed its leaves to give way to new life, so must I let go of defining characteristics to embrace my future. God cannot bless us with newness until we have let go of the old. We must be willing to sacrifice the beautiful in faith; trusting that the best is yet to come.
I am bursting. While there are losses to mourn, the brightness of the future overwhelms me. I am astonished at the blessings that are being bestowed upon me in my present condition. In the past, this “raw” feeling would have destroyed me. I would have been imprisoned by fear.
This week I’ve had several people ask me what has changed. What allows me to function in these simultaneously joyful and sorrowful times? That’s simple: I’ve been set free. I am no longer a captive of hopelessness. The veil of darkness has been torn. I’ve broken through the lies and I’ve seen the truth. I still struggle. I’m human, imperfect, and flawed. But I struggle well.
The leaves on the trees turn lovely shades of red, orange, and yellow. They fall to the ground. And I’m reminded that we exist in a state of constant change. I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s painful at times, but I have no desire to stay as I am. And the future is brilliant. Transitions are scary and unsettling to say the least, but the tree doesn’t die when it looses its leaves. It lets the leaves fall because it knows there’s newness in store.
God continues to strip away the comfortable to lead me into a greater story.
What does fall mean to you?
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