Hey, Friends! Two updates as we settled into this fall season!
First, let’s burn bright all over and gather groups for worship, workouts, and wellness! We are offering a virtual Holy Barre Instructor Training for existing barre instructors. We’d love for you or a barre instructor you know to join us! Please help us spread the word!
You can find out more about this month-long virtual training by visiting this page and completing the form to sign up! Yay!
Second, as we ease into the holiday season, we’re going to start a series of tips for holiday health and wellness! We’ll be posting regularly here as well as sharing on social media! Let’s burn bright, better together throughout this fun and festive time of year!
Reminder to those living outside the OKC metro, you can connect with Holy Barre on Instagram, Facebook and move your bodies in love through our YouTube channel! Just search for ‘Holy Barre’! Or participate in our upcoming training to bring Holy Barre to your community!
As we conclude our 40 Days of Faith, Fitness, and Focus, we pray you’ve found these past few weeks valuable, deepening your roots in His love and stirring your heart for more of Him! Now let’s continue with intention and purpose, seeking the things of the Lord and living in His truth, grace, and freedom! Don’t stop moving in love or fueling yourself well with good food!
Holy Barre will continue to go through YouVersion Bibles Reading Plans, to gather Tuesdays at 6pm and Thursdays at 10am at All Fit Collective, to offer special connection opportunities, to post regularly here and to burn bright, better together as we enter into the holiday season!
There is one final truth I pray you fully grasp and believe as we move forward . . .
Friends, you are radiant! As you keep your eyes on Jesus, you will burn bright! Shame is not from Him and needs to be left behind. I pray you move forward in His freedom, His grace, His truth, His love, His power . . . not your own. The world might define health and beauty and even radiance in a variety of temporary ways, but our Lord provides health, beauty, and radiance that lasts forever! Look up, Ladies!
I love this quote below as it speaks so much truth and aligns so wonderfully with the mission of Holy Barre. Yes, it might be hard, but we’re pursuing health, wholeness, and holiness!
We’re better together . . . burning bright in His radiant glory!
We pray you rest in this truth of radiance so much that we created comfy sweatshirts for gals of all ages! Grab your own at All Fit Collective in Edmond, OK! (Or comment below if you’d like one mailed to you!)
I love this image. Not only does the Lord breathe life into our lungs, but His name alone, Yah Weh, aligns with our inhale/exhale rhythm. This holy name of our God requires little effort to express yet carries the power of His work within us.
Breathing is critical to life obviously, but it’s the way we breathe that brings life and healing and freedom. Fitness especially draws attention to our breathing as Lori reminded us this week during our special Holy Barre Yoga session. Whether we were flowing or standing in tree pose, proper and effective breathing is so valuable to our bodies and our hearts and our souls and our minds. And your abdomen is foundational to your breath, so keep your core engaged with that belt of truth wrapped tightly around your waist. I am continually in awe of our intricate design and how all aspects of our being are relate and designed to connect back with our Father and Creator.
Our friend Amy Griffith gathered more beneficial information about our core and breathing that is shared below . . . but ultimately, what if fitness was just a way to get God’s breath in our lungs? Let’s breathe deeply today . . . connecting with Yah-Weh!
Center Strength and Lateral Breathing
by Amy Griffith Based on Conditioning for Dance by Erik Franklin and Dance Anatomy by Jacqui Greene Hass
Four abdominal layers – listed from deepest to most superficial
*the internal obliques and the rectus abdominis are in the same layer but are separated by connective tissue **the external oblique muscles themselves do not come into contact with, or cover the rectus abdominis, but there is connective tissue that covers the rectus abdominis
When the abdominal muscles contract all together, their combined strength provides security for your lower spine, helping to keep length through the curves of your spine. Their support protects your spine when landing in petite or grand allegro, or when landing from pirouettes. They also aid in pelvic alignment, with the rectus abdominis being the primary initiator in achieving that imperative alignment.
Even though there is no bony structure within your four abdominal walls, there is incredible strength in the layering of these muscles and in the opposing directions in which their fibers run. The transversus abdominis, also known as your “corset muscle”, has muscle fibers that run horizontally. This muscle encircles your entire torso from back to front, by starting as connective tissue at your sacrum and spinal vertebrae. The tissue ends and the muscle starts at the side of your body and then horizontally wraps around the towards the front. At the side of your body where the connective tissue ends and the muscle starts, it connects to the crest of the ilium (those hip bones you can feel on the sides of your pelvis) and to the six lower ribs, then into more connective tissue that ends somewhat close to the medial (center) line of your body.
The internal obliques have fibers that run in an ascending diagonal from the back portion of your side (low part of the diagonal) to the front of your body (high part of the diagonal). These muscles on either side, similar to the transversus abdominis, connect at the crest of the ilium and ribs, then continue to wrap upward around to the front of your body by connecting into tissue close to the medial line. Unlike the transversus abdominis however, these muscles start at the side of your body instead of the back.
The external obliques’fibers run diagonally as well, but in opposition to the internal obliques’ fibers. Their points of connection are just like like the internal obliques’ from the sides of the body to the front, but these wrap around in a descending diagonal from the back portion of your side (high part of the diagonal) to the front of your body (low part of the diagonal). The external oblique muscles, again just like the internal obliques, start attached to the crest of the ilium and your lower ribs. Then they wrap in a downward flow and connect into tissue on the outer edge of your rectus abdominis.
The rectus abdominis, your 6-pack muscle, has fibers that run vertically. As you know from our talks on pelvic alignment, the rectus abdominis starts at the pubic bone and ends in connection to your upper ribs.
PAUSE:exercises to find & feel each of the abdominal walls work – show & have try the action(s) of each layer
ACTION – “corset muscle” / stabilization & posture control
TO ENGAGE – hard breath out
CONDITIONING – hard breath out and hold contraction for 5-10 seconds
Internal & External Obliques:
ACTION – both: trunk flexion, bending side to side /both: trunk rotation – contraction on rotating side and extension on opposite side by pulling towards the rotating side / external obliques: lace ribs together by funneling inward and downward towards the medial (center) line.
TO ENGAGE – trunk rotation, feeling purposeful contraction on one side and pulling extension on other side
CONDITIONING – standing oblique crunches with arms straight overhead; be sure not to lean forward or twist at all.
TO ENGAGE – slowly roll up from a cambré forward position in plié, starting with a pelvic floor contraction; imagine each pair of the “6-pack” muscles contracting from cartilage connection to rib connection as roll up.
Lay on back with knees bent in “chair” position; use fingers to monitor hip flexors – they should be able to keep completely relaxed in this position, using the rectus abdominis instead, to hold legs in the position.
Once you are able to hold the position with hip flexors relaxed, bring head, neck, and shoulder blades (or lower) straight up off of the ground. The chin and shoulders should still be facing the ceiling.
As I said before, imagine the strength and protective power these four muscles have when working together, because their muscle fibers run in different directions! When you can feel them lengthening in contraction instead of “hunkering down” or gripping to contract them, this strong center is where all of a dancer’s power comes from, and this powerful foundation is the reason we’re able to execute movement with fluidity and lightness, making it look easy!
So, our goal should be to strengthen these muscles along with equal strengthening and stretching of our back muscles, but we won’t go into the back muscles right now. Once the abdominals are strengthened and you begin to get used to dancing while actively holding the torso with a lengthened strength, you should next focus on training your muscles to help you with breathing correctly. Learning how to use lateral breath will make it much easier to breathe and keep up your energy while executing combinations like petite allegro, pirouettes, and adagio. It’s worth noting too, that your ability to breathe is directly connected to any tension you’re holding while you move, whether it’s in the abdominals, shoulders, foot, jaw, hand…anywhere!
In order to understand lateral breathing we have to start with learning about the muscle used the most for breathing: the diaphragm. In the exercise where we forcefully blew out our breath in order to find and feel the transversus abdominis contracting, we learned that this contraction happens because the diaphragm is actually interwoven into the horizontal fibers of the transversus abdominis. The diaphragm is a dome-like muscle that lies inside of your ribcage and attaches to your lower sternum. Upon inhalation it flattens out and is pressed downward, expanding your ribcage and pushing your abdominal muscles out. On exhalation it relaxes and becomes dome-like again, returning to it’s original place. When all of your torso muscles are completely relaxed, you can feel your abdominals and ribs expand naturally while you take a deep breath. Give that a try once, then place your hand on your chest and, again with your torso muscles completely relaxed, take another deep breath. You should find that you don’t have much movement at all in your upper chest. Something that’s very important to remember when breathing correctly is that you don’t want to completely eliminate all abdominal muscle expansion on inhalation. If you grip your abdominals to have no expansion at all there or in your rib cage, you’ll just trade too much abdominal relaxation for chest breathing. Chest breathing is an extremely tense way to breathe and it will hinder everything from spotting in turns to port de bras and balancing. It will reduce your power to jump because you’ll trap your energy in tension instead of allowing it traveling out of your body. Enter lateral breathing to save the day!
Earlier when we went over the actions of the each of the four abdominal walls, I mentioned that the external obliques have a sort of funneling action for the ribcage. Using the forceful breath exercise again and keeping in mind that the external obliques are attached to the front edges of your ribs, see if you can’t feel that funnel motion happening when you blow out your breath while contracting all four abdominal layers at once.
PAUSE: breathe out forcefully a few times sitting to engage the core, then once aware of core muscles, do “Breathing with side bend” exercise in DA book, pg 42
PAUSE: try a forceful breath exhalation while performing a pirouette – inhale on preparation & upon execution forcefully exhale, feeling external obliques funnel down in opposition to the lengthening upward of the spine & rectus abdominis.
PAUSE: do “Breathing with port de bras” exercise in DA book, pg 44
PAUSE: do “Breathing plié” exercise in DA book, pg. 48
PAUSE: sit and place hand on front of rib cage & perform a few relaxed breaths allowing all 3 directions of breath to happen – expansion forward, side to side, & back. Now take deep breaths & on inhale engage external obliques to keep ribs in front funneling down, but allow expansion side to side & back. Remind them that a small amount frontal abdominal movement is necessary for no tension.
Jacqui Greene Hass states in her Dance Anatomy book, “Organizing the process of breathing will 1) reduce tension in the upper body, 2) improve oxygen flow to your muscles, and 3) engage your core muscles.” Start sitting and practicing lateral breathing exercises, keeping one hand on the front of your ribs to remind the external obliques to allow them to move only side to side instead of allowing the diaphragm to force them open. Keep your other hand on your stomach, feeling only minimal lengthening of those muscles. Focus some of your attention too on releasing any tension upon every exhalation. In all of your movement classes begin building the habit of “organizing your breathing process” when you need control, to inhale properly on preparations and to exhale consciously upon execution of the movement, releasing all tension.
‘Stability is created through concerted action of the whole body in dialogue with a centered mind. It is a mental image as much as it is physical fact.’
As we finish out our study of the passage above, we’re reminded how true fullness of life and power come from the Lord! We are complete in Him, healthy, whole, and holy. Earlier this week the below devotional was included in our YouVersion Bible Reading plan, The Wellness Revelation. I can’t think of a better way to articulate the complete and full life He desires for us, deeply rooted in His love:
God’s Wellness Plan
taken from The Wellness Revelation, A 40-Day Journey
By the grace of God’s Word and His love, may you get this: God wants to heal your heart so that you may have deeper faith for wholehearted living and a fuller life. He wants you to be holy (producing the fruit of the Spirit) and whole (healthy in heart, mind, and body) so that you will be fully alive, a living testimony to God’s goodness and faithfulness. This is God’s wellness plan for all humankind.
We must live well because we can’t help our neighbors if we can’t help ourselves. God’s love does not, cannot, and will not stop with us. Before Jesus comes back, we need to point others to God’s hope.
Will we make a difference in a hurting world by turning away from those familiar and comfortable habits that ensnare us? If we give God our hearts and bodies, we will be able to help others break free from their own traps.
Ask God to deliver you from the chains and whispered deceptions that keep you from bearing fruit. Jesus did not die, so those deceptions would bury you alive and leave you feeling overwhelmed, paralyzed, and numb.
When God’s love displaces the lies in your heart, something amazing happens – you receive an overflow that is meant to be poured out on others. Next time you walk into a room, walk confidently in who you are because of whose you are. Decide to enter every situation as a royal son or daughter with all heaven’s resources. Freely sow the seeds of love, and name what is excellent in people or situations, even if they look hopeless.
Love refuses human-imposed rules; it resists charts, graphs, and measuring tools. Love does not demand this for that. Love moves and flows freely from God to us to others and back again.
God is love. His love is the ultimate divine weight-loss plan – lifting the self-hatred, pride, and fear that burden us. With the burdens off our shoulders, we can take hold of a life transformed by the blood of Jesus. This journey is almost over, but God’s work in you is just getting started!
How is God’s wellness plan different from your own? How does God’s wellness plan free you to live healthy and whole?
In leading Holy Barre, we desire for this ministry to be Spirit-led. As a planner, doer, and achiever, this has been a challenge but an amazing journey as this desire continually draws me back to the Father and gives me the freedom to not have a plan. And it’s so fun when He clearly lays out a plan for us like He did today.
This morning, the morning of our Holy Barre class, I woke up for my daily coffee and quiet time (YouVersion Reading Plan, emails, social media, day prep, etc.). In reading today’s devotional in the Bible Plan The Wellness Revelation 40-Day Journey, I copied and pasted this:
‘We much choose to receive and rest in that love so that when the storms come, we will remember and declare who is fighting for us!’
The Wellness Revelation 40-Day Journey
We must RECEIVE and REST in His love! If we are to have deep roots, stand firm, survive the storms, focus on posture, flourish in this season, and bear good fruit, we must receive and rest in His love! I then went back to Ephesians 3:14-19 and read it in The Passion Translation.
Verse 17 in that translation this morning made me crave a time to receive and rest. I thought back on our last post from Amy about how tension hinders proper posture and movement. We must worship, release, and surrender any tension in order to truly receive and rest. On my phone I then saw today’s Verse of the Day image, and I smiled.
I reflected on our 40 Days of Faith, Focus, & Fitness and how we’ve added some many valuable opportunities yet not much rest. I looked at my schedule the past several weeks and didn’t find many moments of true receiving and resting. My soul longed for such a time.
So that’s what we did at Holy Barre. We moved and burned bright but in a posture of receiving and resting. We slowed our pace, we breathed deeply, we moved freely, and we connected beautifully in a time of worship and workout. And it left me in awe. And it ‘released His love deep inside me’. And it reminded me of ‘the resting place of His love’. It truly is ‘the very source and root of our lives’.
I pray the women who filled the room today experienced something similar. And I pray each of you reading this make time to move freely and lightly, receiving and resting in Him. Here’s the link to today’s playlist, and if you don’t use Spotify, here are the songs below. Go now . . . receive and rest in His love!
Today Amy Griffith is back with more technical posture info. I pray you grasp the value in proper posture, and now we’re going to discuss the role of expansive movement and tension. And I also pray that you correlate once again our physical posture and movement with our spiritual posture and movement. While this was initially written for dancers, it so applies to our movement in barre and in every day life. We appreciate your contributing all your experience and info with us, Amy!
“Even though we may focus on a specific muscle group, you must also consider the whole body’s coordination.”
Tension ultimately resides in the mind. Mental stress and muscular tension usually work together to our detriment, whether you’re a mover or not. Even though everyone has mental stress, we as dancers can become very aware of our bodies and can learn to let muscular tension go.
Many dancers have a mindset to control or to “muscle” their movements and balances. When tension is repeatedly inserted into movement, that tension becomes a habit. Take a moment to think through this description and see if it sounds and feels familiar: “tension causes bones and joints to be held rigidly and limits the coordination, flexibility, and power of movement.” If that is how you feel when you move, you know all too well that tension is a vicious cycle to live in. It erases fluidity and ease of movement…which leads to the inability to turn, balance, etc….which leads to frustration and, with a sad ‘huzzah!’ we’re back at tension again. So how do we get rid of this frustration? It’s easy to say but takes time to do: you develop a conscious and deep mind-body connection.
First and foremost, you need to understand that creating new patterns of movement with expansion instead of tension will take time. You have to be okay with the time your nerves and muscles need to slowly and correctly develop this skill; I promise it will be worth it!
Here’s the battle plan: in order to get to the point of erasing tension from your dancing, you need to start at tension headquarters – your brain. Did you know that when you break a habit you are physically changing a pathway in your brain that can be seen on a brain scan? Super cool, right?? Someone gave me a great example of what mental pathways are like on your brain.
If you walk through your yard every day to get to your mailbox, you will eventually wear a pathway into the grass. That’s what a habit looks like to your brain.
Think of it like this:
Unconscious Trigger: you hear the mailman
Action: you take the same habitual pathway to get your mail
Consequence: that path gets more worn down
However if you decide to change paths:
Unconscious Trigger: you hear the mailman
Action: you consciously take a different pathway through the yard to get your mail
Consequence: you eventually wear down a new path in the grass, and the old path grows over
So that’s what you need to focus on when you’re doing those slow and repetitive movements at ballet barre. You need to be mentally present at all times and be on the watch for tension so that you can catch it and retry the movement again without allowing the tension in. If you’re used to all of your muscles being gripped at the same time, your movements will feel (and possibly look) weird and wrong. That’s okay though, because you’re un-learning while re-learning and your muscles and joints will throw a fit. You need to learn to isolate muscles instead of moving them all together like they’re in a vacuum sealed shrink-bag.
Where do you start, you ask? I’d suggest starting with your shoulders. Shoulder tension might seem like a small issue that doesn’t really affect anything but your arms. So wrong. Shoulder tension will affect your arms, yes, but everything from your spot during turns to your ability to use your turnout and hip’s range of motion will be limited by it.
Fun Tip: if you feel like you’re not able to simply hold your shoulder and back muscles instead of gripping and tensing them, try relaxing your tongue. This will relax your jaw, which will relax your cervical spine (neck), which will allow you to relax your shoulders.
Here are a few exercises you can do before classes to increase your awareness of tension vs. no tension before you start moving. These are taken from Erik Franklin’s wonderful book, Conditioning For Dance:
Focus on the neck while moving the head forward and backward.
Clench the jaw, shut it tight, and move the head forward and backward again. Notice how the jaw affects the tension level in the neck.
Relax the jaw again. Rotate the head to the left and right. Then clench the jaw and notice how this affects the rotation of the jaw.
Lift the right arm and move it around while noticing the flexibility of the shoulder.
Make a fist with the right hand and notice how this affects shoulder flexibility. Release the hand, shake it, and move the arm around again to feel the freedom in the shoulder’s movement.
Repeat this exercise on the other side.
Rotate the torso to the right and let. Feel the flexibility of the spine.
Lift the shoulders and rotate the torso again while noticing what happens to the mobility of the spine.
Slowly drop the shoulders and rotate the torso to the right and left again. Discover how shoulder positioning and tension relate to spinal flexibility.
While standing, lift the right knee by flexing the hip joint. Then lower the leg.
Tighten the shoulders, lift them up a bit, and lift the right leg again. You may notice that the movement in the right hip joint is more restricted.
Drop the shoulders, relax them, and life the leg again. If you are warmed up, perform a grand battement with lifted shoulders, and notice the restriction in the hip joint.
Lift the shoulders and drop them slowly, and as they arrive at the lowest, most relaxed point, perform a grand battement with the same leg. The leg will go higher and move with more freedom in the hip joint.
While standing, imagine a force pushing the head down, compressing the spine.
With this image in your mind, swing one leg forward, and notice especially the effect on the hip joint and the hamstring muscle at the back of the leg.
Imagine the head floating upward and the tailbone dropping down. Imagine that the spine is a flexible chain of pearls.
Swing the leg once again and see if you feel any difference in ease of motion and flexibility in the hip joint and hamstrings.
“By habitually putting consciousness before control, you make controlling the body’s movement more flexible and alive, ready to respond to the realities of the moment. If your only resource is control, then you will dance through tension…The more tension you develop, the less you feel the flow and rhythm…
If the dancer trains the muscles consciously, he will achieve his technical AND aesthetic goals and he will make long-term changes, creating more efficient movement patterns that will also reduce the chance of injury.
…optimal flexibility is a product of good alignment and the resulting muscular balance. Good alignment reduces the stress placed on muscles and increases elasticity. In faulty alignment, too much weight is held by the musculature, increasing tension and reducing flexibility.”
Today we are going to pray to experience His love. A synonym of ‘experience’ is ‘encounter’. I love that thought – to encounter the love of Christ in our lives. If my children can encounter His love and know His presence, they will be changed. If our families experience the love of Christ, they will become deeply rooted. If we as women encounter His love on a regular basis, the completeness, fullness, and wholeness Jesus died for will all become real. Relationships are birthed from experiences and encounters. And a relationship with Christ changes everything.
As we experience the love of Christ, we will be moved. We can encounter something without responding in some way. And as we are filled with His love, we will move in love. I realize this might sound idealistic as we abide in Him, He’ll move in such ways that allow us to just enjoy the ride!
The word ‘flourish’ has shown up over and over throughout the past few months. It aligns some beautifully to our imagery of being a thriving branch on the Vine or being deeply rooted in His love. We truly flourish as we experience His love.
What if we viewed fitness through this message? What if exercise was a response to experiencing His love? What if working out was worship of His joy, blessing, health and prosperity? What if caring for our bodies was founded on His holy ground, growing deep roots?
Father, we come before you with a sincere desire to encounter you. May we experience Christ’s love, may our roots grow down deep in Your truth, may we flourish and thrive in Your fullness and freedom. And may we respond and move in Your love! Amen!
When it comes to physical posture, we ultimately desire to align our bodies in the way He designed them and to lengthen and engage each part with intention. As we continue our focus of Ephesians 3:14-19, we’re challenged in these passages to do the same things in our spiritual posture.
First with MUST align ourselves with the TRUTH that YOU ARE LOVED. The whole Bible is a love story written for each of us! This specific passage is founded on His love for you. God is love, and Jesus came, taught, died, rose again, and now reigns because of His love for you! The width, length, height, and depth of His love is beyond words and honestly beyond comprehension! Keep growing your roots down and He’ll keep revealing His love!
Let’s use our bodies to worship and reveal His love through our physical posture. Proper posture protects and strengthens in all the best ways! Please stand up, stand firm, and move in His love. Turn on a Holy Barre Playlist on Spotify or your favorite worship music. Spend a few moments in each pose, intentional aligning and lengthening your body and asking Him to do the same with your heart, mind, and soul!
Ultimately, this is the most valuable posture . . .
I’m currently fascinated by trees and their role in His beautiful creation as well as their role in His beautiful biblical story for us. In case you haven’t figured that out by now. Ha!
I recently was able to visit some of the largest trees in the world in Muir Woods, CA, with my hubby. It was jaw-dropping to walk through the gorgeous structures, soaking in His power and majesty in this little version of Eden. Yet I was shocked when we learned that these huge trees have very shallow roots. And the only reason they can survive and grow so tall is due to their location in California, which is mostly free from severe storms and wind. We also noticed their branches were not long or wide at all. The trees appeared to be focused on growing up. So from the outside, these tall beauties appear strong and mighty. (Receiving lots of praise and attention, kind of like our current culture.) But if things were to get tough and crazy in their little world, they’d likely topple down! Crazy, huh?
So that got me thinking about trees with deep roots, and I began a little research. And what I found just made my heart smile. The trees with the deepest roots live in places with more extreme weather, grow slowly, and often grow wide and high rather than just straight up like the ones in Muir Woods. Even in considering a tree, we see His beautiful design and purpose in all things!
In the analogy of our being trees, our Lord desires us to have deep roots and wide branches, resulting from slow, intentional growth. Scripture reveals all this. Just search tree in your Bible. We’re to be planted on a firm foundation, near flowing (or Living) Water, deeply rooted and finding our strength, power, and understanding in His love. Rather than just growing straight up, rising above others, we’re to grow out, reaching others. And our visible height and health aren’t the focus – it’s our root system that reveals our health, wholeness, and holiness.
I’m gonna geek out even more and copy some info below that I got from this webpage. (Like I shared in the last post, I really like knowledge. But let’s apply this to our Tree of Life!)
‘The beauty and utility of trees are unsurpassed. If you live on an oak-lined street you know these are the most coveted neighborhoods.’
‘They act as windbreaks in the winter and shade your house in the summer to drive down energy costs. And they look beautiful while doing it.’
May this be the kind of beauty we pursue and put energy towards – serving, protecting, and loving those around us.
‘You don’t want a tree that’s going to topple over in high winds, which means you do want trees with a robust root system.’
‘Some trees have evolved the ability to grow very deep and robust taproots to find a deeper water table and withstand drought conditions.’
‘Did you know trees can grow their roots through rock? It’s true! Rather than try to grow around a rock, a tree will go right through, over time.’
We’re probably all familiar with the ‘storms of life’. Paul in writing Ephesians 3 knew these storms all too well, which resulted in this wonderful prayer. Francis Chan gave a sermon over this particular passage and repeatedly stated how this is ultimately what we should pray for ourselves, our kids, our spouses, our family and friends . . . that we are DEEPLY ROOTED in His love. We can’t control the storms they will face or the challenges with which they will struggle. So we pray for a root system that goes deep, wide, and through the Rock!
‘The growth of tree roots is all about the search for nutrients and the support of the tree’s canopy.’
‘If either one of these missions fails, the tree is much more likely to die. Large trees have an even more significant substructure: primary roots that are perennial and secondary roots that grow in waves as the canopy is expanding.’
Smiling again because now we’re talking about what the trees soak in and how they are better together! Food is fuel to grow and serve and the support around us impacts our growth and service as well.
‘Trees will show very little visible growth in their first years of life as their taproots are growing down. However, this isn’t all they are doing.’
‘Trees must spend their energy developing a diverse root system.’
Yes. This. This final line is what it’s all about, Friends. We can find our strength and our power and understanding and even our rest in His love (Eph 3:17-18). Let’s put our energy towards pursuing the King and serving His Kingdom. Let’s focus on being deep and wide trees, not tall and thin ones. 🙂
As the Lord has been showing us more and more of His good creation and significance of trees (trees, bushes, vines, etc), I’ve been greatly challenged and convicted in my pursuit of the Tree of Life. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were given the option of the Tree of Life or the Tree of Knowledge.
I love to imagine this original Eden, full of beauty and wonder and fruit and flowers. I’ve been blessed to see gardens and areas of His creation so glorious here on earth. And just like there are present wonders reflecting His beauty, there are even more present wonders around life and knowledge.
Our world continues to present the temptations of life and knowledge of good and evil. And just like Adam and Eve in the beginning, we are constantly faced with choices like theirs.
Ya’ll, I love to learn. I love to study and gain understanding. I love knowledge. And I love to know good and evil. I’m even quick to judge based upon this knowledge. And I’m afraid I’m not the only one. We have so many resources at the touch of our fingertips constantly. We scroll, we google, we ask Siri and Alexa, we even ask (or tell) through public posts. Knowledge and wisdom are not bad but so easily lead toward self-sufficiency rather than Spirit-led living.
But life! Life in Christ! The life of love, freedom, truth, and grace that He desires is not found in this knowledge. We exhaust ourselves trying to cling to the Tree of Life AND the Tree of Knowledge! We can’t have both. Adam and Eve learned this in the beginning, and we continue to learn this today. Which tree are you nurturing today?
The ultimate Tree of Life can now be found as a cross. A cross that held our Savior and represents the life He gave so we can have an abundant one in Him.
As we’re deeply rooted, abiding in Him, let’s cling to the Tree of Life. His good, gracious, beautiful Tree that bring protection, shelter, provision, strength, and adventure. Let us worship with all that we are – heart, soul, strength, and mind. Stand firm in tree pose and celebrate our life in Christ!