Thursday, August 23, 2012

On A Limb

God, You have made us for Yourself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in You.  Augustine
The first time I saw this picture it literally took my breath away.  I saw myself immediately. It was her eyes that caused me to recognize myself.  While her body looks at rest, you can see something in her eyes.  Her crossed legs and folded hands give the illusion of peace, but her eyes and mouth are a dead give away for some level of discomfort...some degree of hesitancy.  Yet there she sits, literally hanging out on a limb.  

And aren't we all just hanging out on a limb in some way? 

What I love about this picture is that although her arms are over the branch, it's the limb that is actually holding her.  Her only task is to lean in and rest.  While I love being able to see her eyes, I almost wish that they were closed.  But I suppose having them open is a better picture of the reality most of us choose every day.  We almost rest.  We come close to almost tuning the noise of the world out.  We almost trust that the limb that is holding our sometimes crushing weight will actually do just that - hold.  But instead, our eyes open and tenuously look about us. Even as we assume a posture of rest, it's feigned.  

Jesus says "Are you tired?  Worn out?  Come to me.  Get away with me and you'll recover your life.  I'll show you how to take a real rest." - Matthew 11:28 (The Message) 

I admit it.  I'm tired.  I'm worn out. Okay, the truth is I'm exhausted and I want a real rest. My burdens seem heavy, my failures seem great and my vision is blurry. Yet I'm not even as smart as the little girl in the picture...I won't even climb up on that limb to give myself an opportunity to rest.  How foolish. The Tree of Life has never stopped calling my name and beckoning me into a real rest. 

It's time to climb up on that limb, throw my arms over the branch, lay my head down and close my eyes.  In rest, the Tree carves truth and identity into me.  The Tree breathes oxygen into my soul, life into my very being. I am a mere shell without it. 

"For I will restore health to you and your wounds I will heal," declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 30:17)  Did you catch that?  There's nothing for us to do except come to the Lord and let HIM restore us. He does the work, because after all, rest that we have to work for is no rest at all.  God desires that we simply receive from Him.  And yet somehow, that makes me skittish.  Simply RECEIVE??? It goes against the grain.  My mind tells me I can both receive AND continue working towards something.  However, I know this one thing deeply - my doing has become my undoing.  And there is Jesus saying just COME. RECEIVE. REST. BE.   

So this squirming little girl is going to climb up on that limb after all.  And she's going to recover her life.  


  1. Praying for you, friend. And relating. Let us both climb up on the branch, lean in, and close our eyes KNOWING God will hold us up. I just read a quote by Lloyd John Ogilvie yesterday that relates: "There is no rest in the heart of God until He knows that we are at rest in His grace." I like this because it reminds me God is passionate in His pursuit of His kids...He won't rest til we do. All the more incentive, is it not? Love you!

  2. perfect. lovely life-filled abiding to you, sweet friend.