The Busy Disease

{by Heather Spring Gilion}

There is this tree that stands in my backyard. It’s dying. I didn’t know it was dying until all the other trees were sprouting buds and it remained unclothed. Naked. Well almost. There’s still some sign of life, but it’s dwindling. It’s taller than my house, so obviously at some point it was healthy. But a vine wrapped itself around the trunk and wound itself through the branches and started stealing from it.

It began just like every other tree, I suppose. A seed was planted. The rain came and the earth drank and the seed began its process of establishing roots. Breaking through the surface of the earth, it stretched its arms upward, making its ascent toward the sky. With every passing year it gained height and dimension. It grew. And grew. Birds made their home in its branches. Squirrels zipped up and down its trunk with ease, hunting nuts and racing other squirrely friends. This tree endured winter as the temperatures dropped and the sun hid her face. It stood tall as the ice thawed and the sun gave reason to awaken the buds to come alive once more. But something has happened. My tree is dead…. or is dying. Whichever it is, I’m left to wonder when it’ll have to be taken down before it takes down my house.

I love trees. I love looking at them. I love the different shapes and sizes and styles of trees. Go ahead and say it, you think I’m a tree hugger. I enjoy paper like the next person, and I wouldn’t wish away my toilet paper to keep the shade over my head, that’s for sure. But there have been moments when the mere sight of a tree has sent my heart swooning for my God. The Bible says that God shows some of His invisible qualities through creation, so no one has an excuse.

Nope, no excuses here. God is awesome. He’s a genius.

God said, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” {John 15:5}

I’ve been busy, y’all. Way too busy. And maybe you’ve been busy too. I’m confessing here, friends. I’ve let the “busy” wrap around me like a weed, it’s been subtle but destructive, as this busy disease continues to suck the life right out of me. My abiding has been more like fast food dinners or hurried nibbles off of my kid’s plates. Half-eaten cold hamburgers is definitely NOT what God had in mind when He said, “Come and eat!”

 “They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.” {Psalm 36:8}

“Abide in Me.” He says.

“…apart from Me you can do nothing.” He says.

So this girl became a tree in her mind today. I asked the Lord what kind of tree I was. Aspen? Elm? Or maybe a Sugar Maple? That sounds inviting. Or, a better question—am I growing? Thriving? Or… could I be… *gulp*… dying?

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So this is how our conversation went as I confessed my lack of abiding in the midst of the busyness…

“Lord, I want to grow!”

“Abide.” He says.

I stretched out my hands toward the sky. My arms and hands extended like the branches of the tree. I’m still. Still. I haven’t felt that in a while. A tender sway in the gentle breeze calms my spirit. He’s near. He’s been near. With my gaze upward I dream of stretching high enough that I might reach the Heavens. I whisper, “Forgive me, my God, my Vine and Source of Life, for the season of busyness that I’ve let rule my days, hours, and minutes. I need YOU and only YOU.”

“Sweet girl, when you remain IN Me, you are ‘like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” {Jeremiah 17:8}

“God, I have felt the drought, and I’ve allowed the “busy disease” to tangle and taunt me to do on my own. But our mysterious entanglement is what causes me to stand even now. You remain my Source of strength.”

“When you remain in Me you are strong, immovable, and glorious. The roots beneath you are growing deeper with each passing day. This is necessary as the winds come and storms rage. For the winds will come. But don’t fear, my love, for if you remain in Me, you might bend, but you won’t break. You will be shaken, but you’ll never fall. For I AM your strength and you are never alone. For when you remain in Me, I remain in you. Abide.”

“I want to be everything You want me to be. I want to be just like Your Son, Jesus.” As those words left my lips, and with my arms still spread-out before the Heavens, I saw Him. Jesus with His arms and hands stretched out—but He was on a tree. A tree fashioned into a cross. And looking up to the Heavens, even then, He knew we would be. I would be His and He would be mine.

His tree sheds light on this little tree—me.
His tree sheds light on my busyness.
His tree sheds light on why I do everything I do.

The invitation to abide sounds less like another thing to do, but the only thing worth doing.

*He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

And oh, how He loves us, oh,
Oh, how He loves us,
How He loves us all

{*lyrics: How He Loves}

____

Want to hear more of the story?
Holly and I wrote a book about our journey called Dancing On My Ashes.
It’s a beautiful picture of restoration, and recounts God’s faithfulness on every page.
Prepare yourself to weep and rejoice with us.

You can also watch our 3 minute story here.

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