The other night, amidst the wind and the rain of an autumnal thunderstorm, we heard a crrraaack followed by a THUD in the middle of the night.
Sure enough, when we looked out the window in the morning, a giant tree branch had split from one of the trees in our backyard. It was giant and dangling precariously, so my husband got out the saw and put it out of its misery.
I didn't even know that branch was dead! I had no idea that somewhere inside it was rotting and weak and doing no good whatsoever for the tree. It was just hanging on, waiting to meet its demise. It had no purpose. It just was. And now, that it's safely removed and out of the way, the tree can continue to be fruitful and grow as it is meant to.
[Hmm. Suspiciously sounds like I'm about to make an analogy here.]
Now that I'm seeing clients on a regular basis, I'm so privileged to get to join with them in their various journeys. I get to witness brokenness, growth, confusion, compassion, and progress - sometimes all in one day! But, most commonly, I get to see dead weight fall to the side. Dead weight they didn't even know they were carrying. Dead weight that had no purpose but to take up precious energy and resources from them, stealing joy and creating roadblocks in their journey towards real growth.
Dead weight comes in many forms. I'm constantly challenged to hand over my worries and concerns to God. Again and again I am reminded that God is in control, and my weakling efforts to predict and protect my own future are zapping me of my opportunity to stretch my trust and faith in Him alone. Sometimes my dead weight is a rotten self-image, or a jealous thought that corrupts my core. Sometimes my doubt drains me dry and I can't help but feel forgotten.
Then, something wonderful happens. Truth sets the dead weight free. Truth like "You are fearfully and wonderfully made" or "For I know the plans I have for you" or "Perfect love drives out fear" and even those bits and pieces of a larger picture of Capital-T TRUTH that are deeply rooted in my soul help me shake free from the burden of deception that tries to hang on for good.
Sometimes those dead branches take years and years to rot until they are ready to truly break off. Sometimes we don't even know they are zapping us dry inside. Sometimes, like the branch in my yard, it can appear totally normal and part of the whole...until one day it becomes so obvious it was only standing in the way of progress.
We all have dead weight. And sometimes it will take a thunderstorm to shake it loose before we even know it's there. But, when that happens, get ready. Sunshine and new growth are on the way.