The Lemon Tree

I have lemon trees growing in my backyard, and in the front yard of my workplace. When I drive down the hilly highway, I see them dotting the plots of land.

When it’s golden and sunny, I sit underneath the growing lemons trees and breathe.

We all know the saying “When Life gives you lemons….”. I like to think of Life as a Lemon Tree, with yellow-green leaves, and heavy, dripping fruit.

The lemons can be a circumstance, or a single moment. A choice, or a memory.

Lately, I’m beginning to understand some things about choices.

In Christendom, your choices are more like Choices: each and every giant choice is weighed with brevity. Yet…is this truly the way we should live?

I’m teetering on the edge of 30 and wondering exactly what my other big Choices will be, and if the ones I am making now are right.

In the New Testament, there isn’t a stress on what kind of job we have, or whether we’ve found our callings or followed our passions. It literally says, “Whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might.” and, “Do it unto the Lord”. There is no stress to find a perfect person to marry, or find “The One”; our only instructions are to find someone who follows Christ.

I am in a job that daily is becoming more and more stressful, choking my joy. I am living in a place that is beautiful but also very stressful and suffocating, and less than ideal. All of this can change, and it is up to me. I don’t believe that God desires us to be choked, and oppressed in our daily lives. He wants us to live a life of Joy. This could mean a perspective change, a heart change. It could also mean a change of scenery: a chance to loose ourselves from the shackles we allow to bind us in every day life.

I could waste time dithering around, twisting my hands, saying “Oh me, oh my, God should I change my job, is this what you want me to do?”, or I could put myself into motion, and invite change to happen. If I am truly supposed to stay somewhere, then my human efforts won’t get very far. If I shouldn’t switch jobs just yet, it will be made known to me.

I should be able to make choices and stand in them, knowing that what really matters is not the Macro-choices, but the Micro-choices.

The micro-choices are the ones that actually shape the outcome of our lives, that steer the course this way and that. The small, every day choices that aren’t as exciting as moving to a new country, or starting a new job, or marrying a person. These ones are the ones like waking up a half hour earlier to work out, or spend time with God. Choosing to not hold your anger towards someone, choosing to let the other lady have the parking space, asking someone how they are doing, being humble when your pride really wants to roar, taking an extra step to help someone, drinking more water and less coffee, being nicer to your siblings, calling your mom, kissing your baby, apologizing to your spouse…..all of these tiny choices shift our life course by the tiniest fractions, until at the end, they have carved out the river of our life.

We tend to focus on the larger choices, because it makes us feel better about the little choices we are or aren’t making. It’s ok if I didn’t spend time with God this morning, because I’m going to pursue my passion and He will like that. It’s ok that I didn’t treat my coworker nicely, I’m switching jobs. It’s okay that I’m sleeping with my boyfriend, He’s The One anyways. It’s okay that I haven’t been nice to my mom, I’m getting married and that’s more important. Etc, etc.

The American Church has trumpeted this mindset: that only the giant decisions matter, and everything else is less than.

God has given us life, so delicious and full of opportunity to enjoy its fruit. He does not give us a handful of lemons: there are many. Some are dark and yellow, heavy with readiness. Some are green and waiting, some have fallen to the ground already, some will rot. He doesn’t care so much which ones we choose, only that we are taking care of the whole tree. That we take care of our brothers and sisters, that we take care of our heart. The large, ripe choices will eventually reveal how we’ve been taking care of the tree, and if we’ve been neglecting the small choices of our everyday life, bitter will the taste be.

I’ve decided to let go of worrying whether or not my jobs are perfect, or my housing. This is why  I will sit under my lemon trees and take care in the little ways.

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