Imagine a large tree. This tree's oranges are the most ripe, the most sweet, the most desirable. A little girl walks past this tree frequently. Each day this young girl passes the tree, and the fruit intrigues her. She realizes that her ability to reach this fruit is limited by her height. So, she continues each day, passing by this fruit, only to admire and not to enjoy for herself.
Last week I experienced a reunion with beloved friends I have come to love and adore over the last six years. For some reason, I was returning to Guatemala with more baggage and burdens than I anticipated. Many friends assured me that this trip was exactly what I needed, yet I was hesitant. I did not want to put pressure on this trip to fix me, because I knew that the to do list would meet me right at the gates when I reentered America, my anxious heart would continue, and my mind would not rest. Yet, God in His mercy, is kind enough to give me this special trip as an opportunity to see myself reflected in these friends of mine.
I wanted to go to a place where I could marvel at something. Before Guatemala, I was hustling and wrestling and fighting for myself. But this trip brought attention to a growing hunger; a need for nourishment through a desperate dependence on Jesus. No longer shall I rely on the strength I thought I had. When I returned home on Saturday, I knew something was different. My mind was clear, my speech was refreshed, and my heart was soothed. Yet I wake up a couple of days later, feeling my heart slowly creeping back to how it was; full of anxiety over how I am spending time, over how I can control my time. But then I heard Him loud and clear, "MY GOODNESS DEAR DAUGHTER, get out of the way and let the Lord’s sweet orange REFRESH YOUR SOUL."
Guatemala allowed the simple truth of the Gospel to speak loudly. The Lord used my sweet time in Guatemala as a tool. Let’s imagine this tool to be a flashlight; a flashlight He used to search the darkest and hardest parts of my heart.
What I have realized is that the enemy has such a stronghold on me, and I am done with it. He has used the darkest parts of my prideful heart in too many ways, for too many years, and I am done with his games. I am EXHAUSTED with the hustle and the worth I feel I have to prove.My rhetoric was becoming mechanical, and I am just DONE with this cycle. My heart is waving the white flag of surrender as I raise my hands to declare “NO MORE SATAN.” No more of your stupid games that have subtly crept into my everyday life. The enemy has taken my gifts and warped them with pride, making me believe that I had control over something that was never mine to begin with.
The story that I shared at the beginning was a story that Yelsi, a Guatemalan teenager, shared with my friend Liza and me. We were discussing what the barriers are in our life that are keeping us from following Jesus. Yelsi continued to tell us that she knows Jesus but she does not trust Jesus. We began to ask her why, and she did not really know. On the second day of asking her what her barrier was, she gave us this image. All the while, Liza is pleading with her. Liza is telling and expressing to this dear friend of ours that we have nothing to fix and nothing to prove before Jesus. Yet, our friend had an idea that she had to. She told us the story of the tree and of the fruit. She acknowledged that this was where she was.
Something that I adore of Liza Miller is her passionate heart. Liza is a beloved friend and mentor that I have known for quite a while. She has a way of talking about the Gospel that brings herself and those around her to tears. Do you know why?
Because she has tasted and she has seen that the Lord is good.
Oh the passion from Liza in that moment of Yelsi sharing the vision will be something that I will never forget. Tears streamed from Liza's eyes. Why? Because she has tasted and she has seen that the Lord is good.
Our conversation continued with Yelsi as I saw myself in her eyes. She is a strong woman with intelligence and wisdom that is too good for her. Her barriers were not known to her because she was overcomplicating. Oh the similarities between the two of us. On the last night, I looked at Yelsi and told her,
"You are your own barrier. With your desire to be the best, pursue perfection and control each aspect of yur life, you are actually keeping yourself from experiencing the freedom and love of Christ."
She KNOWS who God is but does TRUST Him. As I spoke these words to her, I cried because she is me. I was blind to see this in myself and it took this friend for the scales to be peeled from my eyes.
Dear friends, what if we have the same passion in regards to the Gospel? What if we acknowledged the barriers that are in the way of following Christ? What if we take a flashlight to our hearts and see the years of decay in our own hearts? What would happen?
Taste and see that He is good. Let Him bridge the gap of reaching for that fruit. You do not need to strive for that dear one. Just ask for help to taste and see this fruit.