Be the Tree

TREELife is simple when we recognize that life is simply being–being with God and being with others while being ourselves.

Life is being in relationship with God and being in community with others.

But the simplicity of living can be elusive to us. It seems counter-intuitive.

We tend to think more in terms of doing than being. So we labor at living. We exhaust ourselves trying to do what we ought to do, forgetting that all of our doing flows from our being.

God gives us an image to help us remember the essence of real living. “Be the tree.”

A tree planted by a stream flourishes. It remains green and fruitful as it continually draws life from the stream. Being in the Presence of God–attentive and receptive to Him–causes us to flourish. We remain fruitful in community with others as we continually draw life from Him.

Life is simple, but it hasn’t been easy for me. I’ve made real living much harder than it is. Being myself has been more difficult than I would have thought.  As it turns out, much of my striving to do what I ought to do has really been my failed attempt at trying to be someone else. It was hard to be with God and with others when I wasn’t being myself.

Being with God was something that did not come easy for me either. For years I pursued God–through study and discipline–in such a way that I kept Him at arms length. I have only recently begun to experience His very real presence and to enjoy His company. I am learning to remain attentive and receptive to Him–alone and in community with others. And I’m seeing real fruit.

I like the tree life.

A watered fruit tree doesn’t strain to bear fruit, but yields its produce effortlessly according to its nature. It’s just being the tree.

So, whenever I revert to old habits and begin laboring, striving and fretting, I have to remind myself:

“Be the tree.”

7 thoughts on “Be the Tree

  1. You like tree life. I like trees. Always have. And I get the whole “Life is simple, but it hasn’t been easy for me” problem. I think I forget to plant myself at the proper source (God) and rush around, seeking for sustenance (approval) from what I do and who I hang with. Yeah, that leads to a pretty dry life.
    A favorite quote of mine from my friend known as Wise Guy: It shouldn’t be that hard to be yourself.
    Addendum: Be a tree.

    • You are so right. Thank you for getting to the heart of it by pointing out our tendency to seek approval we don’t need by trying to be someone other than who we are. We uproot ourselves from the Source of the life-giving approval we already have, and hobble off in search of hollow praise that leaves us parched, withered and fruitless. “A dry life” indeed. I love the Wise Guy’s quote. How about another one: “Now, with God’s help, I shall become myself.” ― Søren Kierkegaard

  2. What a great post. Be the tree. I find it so much easier to do and to seek affirmation by “being” who I think others want me to be. At times, I feel like just being me isn’t enough. You’re right though, producing fruit is much easier when I am just being–close to God, being who He created me to be. I needed this reminder. Thanks, Dave.

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