Monday, March 7, 2011

Put down the axe

[This post is part of a group synchroblog. This month the bloggers will be sharing insights and thoughts about Wilderness Experiences. I will add links to the other synchrobloggers below as they come in. Check them out!  They are way cool.]

It recently occurred to me that I seem to always want that balance of remembering the “mountain top” season of blessings while I’m in the midst of a wilderness experience and yet, I also seem to want to remember what He showed me in the wilderness when I’m “on top of the mountain”!?  It’s like I need to think about His blessings and great love for me to get through desert times and then, I need to remember my brokenness and my complete dependence on Him to humble myself when I’m on the mountain top!
And, as much as I hate to admit it, I think sometimes what I might call a wilderness experience may have been just circumstance or “hard times” versus Him truly testing me/transforming me. I can’t deny the fact that sometimes when an earthly comfort is taken away I’m the one that quickly wants to yell out, “You said You’d never heap upon me more than I can bear!” True confession...and, He hasn’t. And, earthly comforts aren’t really what I need. What I need is my heart to be transformed to trust Him.  I need to trust the path that He has me on even though it may be through a wilderness.  I also believe I'm one that tends to try so hard to get through the wilderness on my own strength or at least as fast as I can!  Yea, that last one never works out for me neither!

Right now, I seem to be taking a look back at 5 years of wilderness. In these last 5 years, I truly have had many times of trauma, physical pain, heart pain, struggle and loss. During this time, I believe I always tried to look to Him and I have been very careful to listen to His voice. However, I believe at times I tried too hard. It’s like I've been trying so hard at being a good and faithful follower that I “missed the forest for the trees”.  Like taking an axe and trying to work hard at chopping down a very large tree right in front of me.  I kept chopping and swinging and hitting and believing the whole time the tree was going to fall over.  And well, it never did.

It wasn’t until recently that I stopped. I stopped and realized that He wants me to just put down the axe and know that I can’t work at this any more. I can’t make things happen. I need to just stop and let HIM do the chopping. And, I believe right now He is chopping down that tree. He is showing me glimpses of the forest and I’m getting tastes of freedom that I believe will allow me to rest in Him and just enjoy Him…even in the wilderness.

Am I moving into another season? I sure hope so. But, I don’t believe there are any guarantees. And, I don’t know that our true desert or wilderness ever completely goes away here on earth. I believe it's part of this "tension" we all talk about and experience and can be there for all kinds of reasons, but mostly I believe the tension is there because we just don’t belong here. I believe it could be that we all are just longing to go home and longing to be with Him.

I would like to think that this 5 year wilderness I've experienced would be preparing me for something here on earth. Ministering to the traumatized, the broken-hearted, the abused or the forgotten? I don’t know. It's a hope...a dream.  One that I pray He would bless and anoint.  But, I just know that for right now I need to put down the axe. And I pray that I would leave it there. For the only thing I believe I can do is take baby steps each day into the plans He has for me. To do my best to surrender and just know He is there guiding each step. He is holding me, preparing me, guiding me and completing me.  As His beloved, I pray I can truly know this, let it sink deep into my heart and trust Him.

10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
11 All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced;
those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish.
12 Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them.
Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all.
13 For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. -Isaiah 41:10-13

Links to Synchrobloggers below:


  1. Tammy - I know what you mean about striving too hard. I am also trying to learn to relax more in the knowledge that wherever I am and whatever I do God is with me. Are you familiar with the song "Held" by Natalie Grant? I love that song and even though it is sad it is also comforting. Here's a link to it in case you don't know it:

  2. Putting down the axe is so hard. Especially when it seems you might finally have that tree chopped down. Putting down the axe means "wasting" all that time and effort. I like the analogy. Thank you.

  3. Liz, I LOVE that song! Thanks for the link...I went and listened to it a couple of times...shed some good tears...very helpful/comforting. And, Jeremy, thanks for reading! I appreciate the understanding of how hard it is to just surrender! Thanks for the encouragement!