We have a saying around here. “The Tree is Me”. Kind of a strange way to introduce the topic of brokenness and restoration, but we love the imagery. Studying the charcoal that we commissioned will reveal a host of realities that each person on the planet must cope with; from the day we’re born. As we journey through this life and the reality of the world we live in, there’s a crisis of identity that needs to be sorted out. Yet, so many of us avoid this crucial truth.
Sixty-five percent of the population are visual learners. That’s why we love the representation in, what we call, “The Tree of Brokenness”. The imagery is perfect. There are so many references to trees out there but in this case, you’ll see that it makes sense. Let’s look at it in detail.
Imagine the trunk of the tree as your identity. The roots of the tree are what allows your identity to come forth – to blossom in fact. Roots are what transfer nourishment, in the form of water and nutrients, to the branches of the tree. Your personhood and true reflection of Christ is represented in branches, leaves, or fruit of the tree. The branches are the most visible, especially when a healthy tree begins to yield its intended crop.
In the root system of the tree depicted in this drawing, you’ll see breaks. Those breaks represent the wounds or trauma that occur in our lives. Some as a result of the actions of others and some as a result of our own choices. The roots themselves represent our core longings. Those longings were met entirely by God when we walked and talked with Him daily in the Garden – prior to the “Fall”. As you can see, the roots are connected to our heart and God’s heart for us, which is represented as such. When sin entered our world the root system was damaged, and we became disconnect from our own hearts and distanced from God. The result of sin interfered with our ability to have those core longings met in Him. The longing for significance, for purpose, to give and receive love as originally intended, to understand and be understood, for safety and security and perhaps the one that plagues us most, belonging.
Since wounding interferes with our ability to receive the nourishment that God intended, the branches yield little or nothing as a result. In fact, if you notice what’s labeled in the branches, we choose all sorts of dysfunctional behaviors to get our needs met. To fill the “God Spot”, only intended for Him to occupy. We turn to alternative sinful behavior – that we call “ism’s” – like alcohol, drugs, pornography, gambling, and countless addictive activities. We even turn to religion (the great coverup) and workaholism to meet our needs and satisfy our core longings. None of which can replace God’s love intended to fill the void left by sin. We believe the lies of Satan used to tear us apart. Then we try and manage the isms without regard to the spiritual reality of the warfare raging around us.
Our true identity can only be revealed as we accept His love and seek to heal the wounds that left us all traumatized. Jesus saves but He also heals. The fruit of the Spirit is God’s intended yield. For each of us who have been restored by His love, we see branches filled with greenery and lush fruit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
The Tree is Me – but it does not represent our true-self – our true-identity – the one who God predestined and chose! His Child. Adopted. Loved and valued.
Ephesians 1: 4-5 sum it up: “…. even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love, he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.”
Friends, we encourage you to sit quietly with this image and ask God to show you where life wounded you. It’ll be painful for sure. But without facing those wounds head-on and allowing Jesus to reinterpret those events there is no true, lasting healing available. We’re just managing the sin without regard to the cause. True freedom comes when we seek what God had always intended and rest in each moment knowing He’s got this.
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released, and prisoners will be freed.” Isaiah 61:1 (NLT)