My sister, Ramona, and I used to take those silly quizzes in Mama’s Redbook magazine. The ones where the questions go something like, “If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?”
I’ve never been good as seeing myself clearly. While I am blessed with the spiritual gift of discernment, it doesn’t work too well when I view myself. So I need others to give me insight into who I am. But…when Ramona told me she saw me as an oak tree, I didn’t like that answer.
As she explained why she thought of me like an oak tree, she said I was strong and sturdy. Stable and dependable. In other words, solid. All of those things are good things, but I didn’t want to be sturdy and stable. I wanted to be beautiful and exciting, something one-of-a-kind like a Chinese magnolia. What middle school girl wants to be described as sturdy and stable?
This has been my lifelong struggle–unhappiness with who God made me. Maybe you are one of my fellow travelers on this journey?
The picture above is how I see myself. From the moment she said oak tree, this image formed in my mind.
I used to wonder how those solitary oaks became the only ones there. Did you ever wonder that, as well? Why are there no baby oaks? What happened to the other trees?
As I’ve aged, I’ve realized Ramona was correct in her assessment. I am like an oak tree. And, I’m a lot like the solitary tree in my mind’s eye. The storms have caused cracks. Sometimes a limb gets knocked off or I don’t think I can take another day of direct sun. But… I’m still standing and it’s because I’ve learned to sink my roots deep toward the bedrock of Jesus. There is where the life lies when you’re standing exposed.
I admit it gets lonely in that vast field. I often wonder why God made me this way. I always kind of wanted to be like the forest trees. Growing in groups where we visit and compare our leaves and our blooms.
However, that kind of socializing tires me. I’m happier out in the open air. But…it’s hard out there exposed to the full force of the elements and the swords of the evil one.
For some reason known only to God, He’s put me there in the meadow. And, it’s a daily battle to be content as a solid, sturdy, and dependable tree in the middle of empty space.
If you struggle with who God made you, you are not alone. Feel free to share your thoughts or encouragement to others as we each become comfortable with who God made us to be.
“If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?”