Thank You For Not Trying to Change This Tree

Thank you, peeps for not trying to change this little tree,

Because it was created with originality.

Thanks for accepting it the way that God meant it to be –

Because, you see, it has been put together carefully.

 

This tree did not amount to much until somebody hung

Some ornaments to highlight its green branches so far flung.

They’re reaching out in hopes that they might get a little lift

From presents down below, as each supporter gives a gift.

 

We do not need to change this tree, but help each drooping branch

By recognizing what it’s worth. Let’s give this tree a chance,

Through waters of encouragement, with bells to make it sing

And – wrapped around its little trunk – a joyful covering.

 

For, you can’t really change a tree, but you can give it care

And if you nurture it, who know what beauty it will share?

It may not fit your concept of what you think it should be.

Perhaps it will not hold big ornaments reliably.

 

But if it fills the purpose for which God chose it to be,

Then who are we to treat its branches superficially?

Because, like trees, we all fall short and we don’t always see

That God accepts us as we are but wants to set us free

 

Of wrongs we’ve done to damage one another’s destiny.

He wants to change those hurts into a bright reality.

And I believe He wants to do it supernaturally.

So, let’s thank Him for grace instead of trying to fix that tree

 

Because it’s kind of like a peep in that you tend to get

The good you give to it and the example that you set.

So, thank you, peeps, for trying not to change this little tree

Because to help it may involve some creativity.

Once Upon a Rooftop: Four Men and a Mat

Rejected or Protected From Too Much Popularity?

Protected or rejected? That’s the question.

Once there was a very young prince named Joash (II Kings 11:2). They protected him, but did he feel rejected? After all, he didn’t go out much, if ever. He had zero contact with his peers. In fact, he stayed inside a back room for most of his young life. He had no public voice. As for his activity on social media, who could speak of it?

He wasn’t popular. Few knew about him. For the most part, he got ignored.

Imagine living year after year in the same room, looking at the same four walls, and having to keep very quiet about it.

Every time you want to speak, you hear, “SHHHH!”

Joash stayed hidden in a secret place for six years. Did he understand why? We don’t know. He was a mere babe when the tragedy occurred. What we do know is that popularity has a downside. Fallen leaders becomes targets for attack. So do their children.

Sometimes children shut up inside a room may feel rejected. Have you ever felt isolated or rejected? If you have, perhaps – just perhaps, it’s because God was protecting you.

Who knows how old Josiah was when they told him that his brothers had been killed? Their own grandmother Athaliah had them murdered so that she could rule the land. After her son Ahaziah died, she took over. She must have had a strange mindset to kill her own grandchildren.

Obviously she thought she knew best, but God had other plans.

But wherever she went, silence was sure to follow. All talking must be kept to a whisper, because the moment she found about this king, all would be lost.

Life outside that room was dangerous. Whatever isolation Joash felt inside the bedchamber served to protect him from his wicked grandmother.

Did he ever feel abandoned? If so, he wasn’t alone. He had a caretaker, a nurse who looked after him. We’re never totally in our troubles. Even if everyone else leaves us, God is still there.

“When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.” Psalm 27:10

 

When You’re Born Different: Identity Crisis

I. When You’re Born Different

When you’re born different, people look at you funny – like you’ll never measure up to their perfect standards. I should know. From a young age I struggled with self-worth. At school I had to wear a “pirate’s” patch to correct my lazy eye and plates in my shoes to help flat feet develop arches. Shorter than most of my peers, I had a painful shyness that kept me from telling the so-called “beautician” not to crop my locks to match my height. No other girl in my kindergarten class had a pixie cut. I hated that boyish look and the way my teachers tried to fix me.

“Why don’t you keep a tidy desk like other girls?” they asked.

“What TV programs keep you from getting your homework done?”

“Don’t be afraid. I won’t bite. Why won’t you talk?”

Maybe I clammed up because I felt so messed up inside – identity crisis city. My hair could not grow fast enough to hide the shame I felt. Why didn’t this late bloomer fit in with everybody else? I tried to please them but all I got was frustration. That’s where all this garbled chicken scratch came from: multiple ideas bottled up inside, exploding like warm soda once the cork is popped. Piles of unorganized papers strewn everywhere litter my office space. This makes no sense.

CRINKLE, RIP, SHRED!

II. Identity Crises Caused By Peer Pressure

Tears roll down my cheeks as hours of exhaustive research get flushed down the drain. At least, that’s how it feels sometimes. But perhaps I can salvage this mess. Meanwhile, this is what it feels like:

Pearls before swine. Fruit rotting on the vine plops into a sinkhole for creativity. What a waste of time and ink and trees! Identity crisis. Who am I? Help!

Living to meet others’ expectations is like the Israelites gathering stubble to make bricks. It doesn’t blunt the crack of Pharaoh’s whip. After you’ve been under it a while, you start to wonder, “Who am I anymore?”

Aaron tried to please people, and look what happened. Caving to peer pressure, he cast aside faith more precious than gold in favor or worldly gold. He took wealth plundered from Egyptians – God’s favor so richly poured out on His people – and from it formed a killer calf which caused three thousand deaths – all because they had their eyes fixed on absent Moses. Tired of waiting for his promised return, they sought an excuse to reconnect with old bondages.

Like Esau, they squandered their birthright on temporary feel-good pleasures. Then there’s Samson who was born different – meaning, he had a special purpose. Yet he yielded to Delilah’s badgering. Close-up and personal peer pressure foisted upon him an identity crisis of major proportions.

Snip, snip! There went his locks.

Back to the hair thing again.

I wear it the way I want to know, rather than how others want it styled.

III. Free to Be Different

Because I’m different. I don’t need to wear my hair the way they say I should. Instead of giving in to others, I’ll fight to keep it long. I’m not changing it to fit their mold, or other aspects of my personal appearance for that matter. And when it comes to personality, I’m free to be myself – which means, I’ll gladly be the person God wants me to be. Because that’s what’s it’s all about for the Bible believer – believing who God says you are in Christ.

“For if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. All things have become new.” (II Corinthians 5:17)

So, don’t let your identity crisis define you.

I pray that this article blesses someone.

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