Take an Axe to the Root
Every Friday, I join an online Christian writing community, Five Minute Friday. We are given a one-word prompt and write – unscripted, unedited, pure free-write – for 5 minutes. The prompt this week is ‘ROOT’
I was excited to see this prompt-word last night, as I had just returned from a weekend of a prayer ministry course, which is focussed on eradicating ‘bitter fruit’ by identifying the ‘bitter root’ and laying an axe to that root.
The person seeking prayer ministry recognises some ‘bitter fruit’ in their life – issues that they wish were not there, aspects of behaviour that are problematic. These may be very obvious ‘bitter fruit’ like addictions and uncontrollable behaviour, or more subtle weaknesses which they may even consider to be ‘just the way I am’. It is something we want to change, but seem unable to change – it has become a ‘stronghold’.
The presence of the bitter fruit indicates the presence of the bitter root, whence it sprang, and the crux of the ministry is to lay the axe to the root, in repentance, and then bring all the habits of resultant behaviour to the cross.
The bitter roots are our sinful responses to the painful things that usually happen in our early life. The root is not the event or trauma itself, but my response to it. bitter roots (sinful responses) always cause ‘bitter fruit’ in our lives. God wants us to bring these to death on the cross.
The most common sinful response is to make judgments on the person we perceive to have caused our hurt (usually parents, siblings, family when we are so young). We also believe lies about ourself, the world or God, and we make vows to ‘always’ or ‘never’… in order to protect ourselves from further pain. In our young hearts, we create the expectancy that others will do this same thing.
This weekend I enjoyed the incredible (but slightly scary) power of this.
I wanted to receive this ministry to finally deal with some bitter fruit in my life.
One ‘fruit’ was never knowing what I need or want – decisions were treacherously difficult.
Another was being tired and resentful – sick and tired – of always striving to meet the needs of others to justify my existence. If you asked me why I said yes to everything, my answer would be ‘Why not? I see no reason why I shouldn’t. They need this and I have time.’
I didn’t think this was wrong. I thought it was good; that I was being a good girl.
I thought I was pleasing God by serving Him, because ‘inasmuch as you do this to the least of these, you do it for me.’
But I was feeling very tired, sometimes a little sad, sometimes resentful, lonely and weary. I was tired from constant striving to please, and striving to justify my existence, in order to deserve to breathe and live.
All my ‘service’ was coming out of duty. It was a sense of ‘I’ve got to do this today’, instead of ‘I get to do this today’.
In ministry I got to the roots – to judgments I made of my parents, lies I believed about myself and my worth, vows I made not to need or ask for anything. Therefore this is what I reaped all my life. True to my vow, I kept my needs and wants hidden from all, even myself. True to my judgments and expectations, my intimate experiences confirmed that my needs would not be met.
I felt exhilarated seeing this sure recipe for suffering as a direct result of my own responses to a child’s broken heart. I experienced the relief of repenting for my sinful judgments and responses, forgiving my parents, forgiving myself and God. I renounced my vow not to need or want and I confronted all of the lies with the truth.
Moving forward will not be quick and easy. The lies ran deep and no matter what my head told me, despite the word of God, my heart now needs to relearn how to operate and feel in truth.
I know that I cannot earn God’s love. I know that Jesus is my only justification. I know that Jesus forgives all the sins I bring to the cross. I know that He came to bring life to the full and that He is my provider and He gives us the deepest desires of our hearts. This is the truth and it is the truth that sets us free and brings joy.
I know this in my head, but it is not what my heart believed, nor was it the motivation behind my behaviour.
I came out of ministry feeling like my operating system had been wiped clean and all the functions need reprogramming.
But I am also so incredibly grateful and relieved, excited and full of joy.
I shall take it easy for a while. I want to learn what His will for me is.
I really don’t want to reach the end of my days saying ‘Phew! Are you happy, God?’ And to hear my heavenly Father reply, ‘Well, you were very busy, Dawn, but you didn’t do any of the wonderful things I had in mind for you. You missed out on freedom and joy and on your true calling.’
The word says in Ephesians –
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
I want to be vigilant to take contrary thoughts captive and watch for automatic patterns kicking back in, as I don’t want my healing to be snatched away by my own carelessness.
To be transformed by the renewing of my mind.
My first task is to meditate on this verse and spend some time allowing Father God to let me rest as a human-being and not as a human-doing.