I am obsessed with palm trees. Seriously.
Everytime I see one, I literally get tears in my eyes, because they fill me with such an exorbitant amount of joy. I’m so infatuated in fact, that last year, on a work trip, I “stole” a piece of a palm tree to bring home with me. I know, I’m rediculous, you don’t have to tell me.
Palm trees signify warm weather, sunshine, Vitamin D, and for me, in this season of my life, vacation. One day, I will live where the plam trees grow, but for now, I only see them when work or vacation takes me south.
Recently, as I have thought more and more about palm trees, I have also come to realize that palm trees also signify three things that I need now more than ever in my life. And if you’re being honest, you probably need these things too. Today, let’s dig into the first one!
Palm trees signify RESILIENCE.
Have you ever noticed that in live footage of hurricanes and tsunamis, the images of the palm trees, being blown back and forth, and bending nearly in half, only to realize once the storm is passed, that they may be the only things left standing in the area? (Okay, my obsession with the plant may make me a little more hyperaware, so go check out some youtube videos and then come back.)
The reason the palm trees are so resilient is because of the unique root system. Unlike your traditional oak or elm trees, palm trees have many shorter roots that stay closer to the surface. These roots don’t go as deep as other trees’ roots, but because they are shorter, the tree is able to generate many, many, more roots than the average tree. Because there are significantly more roots under a palm tree, the roots are able to collect a large amount of soil in between each root, creating an extremely heavy anchor underneath the surface. This “anchor” is what allows palm trees to stand tall before, and after, some of earth’s most deadly storms.
” This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. “
Hebrews 6:19 NLT
The most prominent theme throughout the book of Hebrews was to urge the Jewish people to continue to remain faithful to Jesus. At the time this book was written, Christians were persecuted all the time for their belief in Jesus and His Lorsdship in their lives. They were weathering the storms, and some were having a hard time being resilient when opposition kept coming their way. The Jewish people were acting more like an elm tree rather than a palm tree. They had had a few experiences with the love of Jesus. They had roots, just not many. And when the storms of persecution and hardship and difficulties came, they found that their intimacy with Jesus had only been here and there, and they had allowed those interactions with Him to be buried deep in distant memories. Deep beneath the surface. They stood tall, they looked strong, and sturdy. They could hold a lot of weight. But under the surface, their roots were not built to weather the storms. And when the storms came, it threatened their entire life.
Some people reading this can identify with the elm tree. On the surface, you look strong in your faith. You look indestructible and can even hold a lot of weights of the world on your branches. But, if we were to look under the surface, we would have to journey pretty far back to find the last time you spent time in His presence, or sought His will, or “heard” His voice, or experienced His healing, or leaned on His truth or wrapped yourself in His promises. Those few and far between experiences are what keep you grounded in the good times, and make you appear unstoppable should the hard times come. But when the storms of life come rolling in, you begin to break and snap with the wind. You begin to crumble under the weight. You’ve found that you have been relying on your own strength, when in reality your strength comes from the encounters you have had with Jesus. Color me an elm at times.
It only takes one encounter with Jesus to give you life and to help you grow, but it takes many, consistent, encounters with Him to make you RESILIENT.
I want to live one day, where I can look at palm trees all the time. But even more than that, I want my life to resemble that of a palm tree. Resilient. Not because of anything I have done. But solely because I have allowed God to meet with me everyday. Have encounters with me everyday. Encounters that I don’t push down, hide away, or let get too distant in my memory. But encounters that I keep close to the surface. Reminders of his oath, and his promises for my life, that I constantly let Him whisper to my heart. The promises that stay close and become an anchor for my soul. So that when the winds of life start blowing, my anchor holds. I want my life to resemble a palm tree. Allowing God to use the dirt in my life, to be a constant close reminder that I need Jesus. That I choose Jesus. Just like the dirt sitting between the roots of a palm, making it stable, I desire my dirt to be surrounded by His grace.
Maybe you get to sit and read this blog while staring out your window at a palm tree. I can’t stand you. (Just kidding, I love you, invite me over!) But I have resolved that whether my eyes ever see an actual palm tree again or not, I will be able to look in the mirror more often, and look less like an elm and more like a palm tree in progress.
Stay Tuned for Profound Thoughts.