I just went on the “rootiest” hike I have ever been on. You have no idea my delight at knowing that this is, in fact, a word. I thought it was a new addition to my own personal dictionary. This rooty hike was on a path to High Schoals Falls near Hiawassee, GA. (Stunning! Highly recommend.) I took pictures from every angle, on just about every stretch, due to the many different root systems along the path. In many places, our feet didn’t touch the ground, they floated over it on roots.
Some roots were python-type thickness and undulated above the ground, leaving gaps, before diving into the earth. Other roots were garden hose thickness, but had much more “squiggle” to them than a hose could ever have. There were roots with rope-type thickness of varying diameters. The roots varied from squiggly to straight, some even had a straw broom-type appearance.
With the root nets that sprawled before us, we had to be incredibly careful, not only with where we stepped, but how. We learned quickly that we could not sightsee or drink from our water bottles without coming to a stop. If we took our eyes off the path while we were moving, we could trip, fall or risk bodily injury.
There are so many lessons to be learned and applied to life from roots themselves, but in this particular instance, the Lord (and my husband) directed my attention to the roots as a footpath. It occurred to me that we all walk through life on our roots.
We all have a variety of roots that build our path:
- Family Roots – characteristics, cultures and traditions that have not only formed our physical traits, but also impacted our behavioral molding in our formative years.
- Community Roots – derived from physical location and our interactions and involvement with the land, people and organizations around us – sometimes this is generational in one locale, sometimes transitional as we move from place to place.
- Personal Roots – developed through our own life experiences that create in us tendencies and habits that influence our mental, emotional and physical responses and behavior.
- Spiritual Roots – these can arise from any mix of the above listed root types, but they are ultimately established by each individual, and demonstrated from the form and depth of our beliefs.
We all have times when we are built up by these roots. Our family and community celebrate milestones with us, or these milestones occur because of these roots. There are also times when these same roots cause us to stumble over shame, or trouble caused by association or proximity to events or people. On a personal level, we may possess skills that have yielded success or recognition for us. Then, there are times we make poor decisions that steal our confidence and joy as we press forward.
As we walk on this pathway full of roots, the question becomes: are we sure-footed enough to avoid falling when we stumble?
Good news! There is a surefire way to keep the tripping to a minimum: Trust in the Lord with all our heart and do not lean not on our own understanding. In all our ways, acknowledge HIM, and He will make our path straight! Proverbs 3:5-6.
In Colossians 2: 6-7, the apostle Paul exhorts believers in Jesus: “You received Christ Jesus as Lord. So keep on living your lives in Him. Have your roots in Him. Build yourselves up in Him.”
There will still be times we stumble, and have trouble, but we are stronger, and more sure-footed, when we acknowledge Christ with each step. The result is more of an appreciation for the scenery around us, because we see people, places and events through His loving, wise eyes. Best of all, we will arrive safely at the most beautiful of destinations: heaven, in the presence of our glorious Lord!