In June, Jeff and I took a trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I tagged along on a work trip as we essentially camped out in the middle of the National Park. Neither of us had ever been to that part of the country & to say it was breathtaking is an understatement. (To say we were in the middle of nowhere is also an understatement).
Before our arrival, I finished up a quick and easy read on the plane ride over. It was the book version of a hallmark movie and I enjoyed every single bit of it. Toward the end of the book, without giving it away, the main character comes to a major decision about her life. It's a difficult one that she knows won't be easy, but she describes it like this :
"Fire is nature's way of regenerating the woods and clearing the way for new growth. Some trees even depend on forest fires to spread their seed. The heat of the blaze causes pinecones to pop and explode, scattering seeds far and wide that have been waiting to germinate for years. As the land is being ravaged, it's already starting over. It's being reborn and rising from the ashes even before the flames burn away.
So every time I see a forest ablaze on television or pass a section of charred earth when I'm driving, I remember what it means: the forest is evolving. It's become stronger. The best is yet to come." - The Accidental Beauty Queen
This struck a chord with me. In the last year and a half, I feel like I've burned my own life down. I know that's a bit dramatic because so much of my life does remain the same. But my direction, my purpose and my aim are different.
Later that week in Wyoming, we rode with a guide to fly fish up in the mountains. We came to a part of acreage that had recently been burned and he confirmed what I had read in my little hallmark novel as true.
Burning it all down every once in a while is not only good, it's necessary if the forest is to continue to grow.
Similarly, if we want to grow, sometimes we have to burn it all down. This isn't walking away from your life or your family, but it could be letting go of a career, a relationship or a home. Often there are things in our life that hold us back from not only experiencing the life that God has for us but also hold us back from experiencing the faith He has for us.
Without the risk of losing it all, faith can seem unnecessary. If we aren't risking anything, we remain in control. We remain in the driver's seat of our life, comfortable sitting where we are in cruise control. But when things start to burn down beyond us, or we decide to light the match ourselves, we get to lean on our Creator for guidance.
Last week, my friend Katy shared on our Instastories about walking away from everything after a horrible breakup. In the middle of the night, she got on an airplane and never came back. She recalls looking out the window and telling God, "I'm not going to let go of You, but You better not let go of me."
This is the fire.
When we risk it all, emotionally or physically, and know God will come through. Not always in our timing and not always like we had planned, but better. He brings something fresh and new, He builds something greater, something beyond what we could have done on or own... or without the heat of the fire.
What needs to be burned down in your life? What area is starving for new growth, but the only way to get there is through a total rebirth?
Friend, you are totally brave enough to walk through the fire. I know it might feel scary, but there is One who promises to never leave or forsake you. One who says that He WILL make good out of bad, that all things are possible with Him and that in your weakest moments you can be strong... because of HIM.
If you need a reminder, like me, here it is: you can do this. As difficult and trying as it might be, it will be worth it. He is good even when life is not, let Him show you that. Let God have the forest in your life. Trust Him with the fire, and let Him give you new life.