Sadly, some folks think great stories are only found in books. Maybe, you pick up a fiction, and escape. But, the call that knocks on the door of your soul, to fulfill your life-story, won’t be ignored. Some people feel like their lives are going nowhere, so they stop believing they have a purpose.
In the modern parable, “The Tale of Three Trees”, Angela Hunt tells the story of three trees and their ambitions. One wanted to become a treasure chest. The second tree desired to be a big sailing ship on the ocean, that carries kings. The third tree purposed to be the tallest tree in the world.
In the real world, we have our own dreams, but a journey awaits us to discover them. Parker J. Palmer writes:
“Most of us arrive at a sense of self and vocation only after a long journey through alien lands. But this journey bears no resemblance to the trouble-free “travel packages” sold by the tourism industry. It is more akin to the ancient tradition of pilgrimage- “a transformative journey to a sacred center” full of hardships, darkness, and peril.”
Ms. Hunt continues her story. Instead of the first tree becoming a treasure chest, it was used as a feeding trough for farm animals. The second tree didn’t become a ship. It was hammered and sawed into a fishing boat. The woodcutter cut the third tree into strong beams and left them in a lumberyard.
From grand ambitions, to divine purposes. King David had aspirations to build a glorious temple. Nathan (the prophet) told David it wasn’t God’s will for him to build the temple, as discovered in I Chronicles 17. Did David feel like his life-story was over? David wrote:
“God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.” (Psalm 18:24, MSG)
More problems occur when you refuse to believe God wrote every chapter of your story. You can stay depressed, or trust God’s purposes. When I receive the dreaded Gmail, of rewrites and corrections, from the mentor that is helping me write my memoir, I can fight his advice, or I can trust his expertise.
So what were the purposes of those three trees? According to Hunt, the first tree became the manger to hold the treasure: baby Jesus. The second tree became a boat to carry men through a storm, including the King of Kings. The third tree’s beams were yanked from a woodpile, and carried through an angry mob. It shuddered when soldiers nailed Jesus’ hands and feet to its beams.
When I feel crappy with no vision, I go outside, after I have emptied my feelings on paper. I walk or bike. The key is to move, to breathe, and to not just stand there, but to pray-something. Yeah, you will feel like you have no purpose, if you scroll through everyone else’s life on Instagram and Facebook. Consider letting God’s story live through yours.
pictures courtesy of “Nelson & his Nikon”