Dead Trees Standing

Photo by Jakob Owens

Over the past weekend, I traveled with some friends to do some camping and fishing.  It was a nice relaxing two days out in nature.  I was able to clear my head a little, met some amazing people and enjoyed the down time.  This was much needed.

Saturday as we stood along the creek while the kids fished, one friend points to all the snags along the creek.  A snag is a standing dead or nearly dead tree.  I stood there staring at those snags thinking, “How long are they dead before they fall?  How long do we stand and not know we are dead inside or that we are no longer producing life?”  I stood there looking at these dead trees and realized I probably would not have noticed they were dead if they were not surround by vibrant, flourishing trees.

This really left me thinking about how we withdraw during hard seasons.  We pull back, retract our arms and turn within.  This is a dangerous place.  When we become secluded and withdrawn we do not even know, we are dying, stale, stagnant or disoriented.  We think we are ok.  UNTIL…we get around those full of life and then we can clearly see we are standing dead just like those trees.

Ecclesiastes 4: 12 “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”

Galatians 6: 2 “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

1 Peter 5: 8 “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

Romans 12: 5 “so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others”

I believe we all experience this at many different levels. From extreme changes in behavior to noticing mild changes in ourselves.  Isolation leads to a lack of true self-awareness because we have nothing to compare to or use a gauge to see where we are.  Then we drift.  As the storm rages around us off on our own there is no help to encourage us or point us to God.

God created us to live roots fully submerged in His living water, planted firmly upon the riverbank, and living in community with one another.  We are in this life together and when we live fully awake in our own lives, we are more aware of our surroundings, those in need and our own behaviors.

I believe there are seasons God calls us into isolation to do a work in us but when we withdraw and shut down while going through a trial, we can truly deceive ourselves.

When going through a storm we should run to God, run to our tribe and find ourselves in the center of the fold because in those places healing comes, life is given and protection is all around.  Whatever you are going through right now do not draw back.  Find a friend, talk with your Pastor or share with women around you and press into God.  Position yourself among those full of life and do not be caught like the dead trees standing.

At His Feet,

Sheila Millinder