Lessons from Treetops: What I Learned from Playing Guitars In, And Nearly Falling Out Of, A Tree
There’s nothing quite like shooting a music video to expose every little insecurity you have buried deep. Any artist can tell you that putting your work out there can be a vulnerable thing, and for me, this one took the cake. Many lessons were learned through the process and for that, I am thankful. (For one, I realized I had adopted a lie that today’s pop culture sells: “Your hair will flow perfectly in the wind…” False.)
Now, my friends who directed the shoot are truly great. They know me, and know what semi-ridiculous things I would be willing to do for this sort of thing. I shot part of my music video in a tree. Like seriously, in a tree. This was not an easy task, and with help from a gust of wind, I nearly fell out of that very tree. As I reflected on that hilarious moment over the next few days, God began to open my eyes to something of a spiritual epidemic that can quickly plague our journey of becoming, if we never identify it.
Some of us are living our lives from a place among the treetops.
There was a man named Zacchaeus who Jesus found sitting in a tree.
Zacchaeus was a rich tax collector. To get rich in his business required playing dirty—taking more than what was needed during collection time, only to keep the rest for himself. You can imagine the dent that would have made on his popularity, and as an added bonus, the Bible tells us that he was noticeably short. I am pretty confident that he had insecurities, too.
His story in Luke 19 tells us that he climbed a tree to get a better view of Jesus. When his stature and the mass of people made things difficult, he made his own way of dealing with those insecurities. Sitting among the treetops, on the branch of “I’ve got this handled”, and probably feeling pretty good about himself, everything in Zacchaeus’ life was about to change.
“When Jesus came by, He looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. ‘Zacchaeus!’ He said. ‘Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.'” (Luke 19:5, NLT)
Jesus looked up and called him by name–just as He calls us and knows us each by name. He sees us sitting in our trees, dealing with our insecurities, and all He ever wants from us is a relationship with Him. Just as Jesus told Zacchaeus that He wanted to join him in his home, his most personal place, He wants to spend time with us, love on us, and coach us to greatness out of that loving relationship. That exchange between Zacchaeus and Jesus resulted in a change of heart for a corrupt tax collector, which in turn, impacted his entire community for the better. Jesus doesn’t ask us to deal with our problems in our own means, but simply to spend time with Him and allow Him to change us authentically and powerfully through that relationship.
He is our Prince of Peace, even helping us achieve peace with ourselves. Insecurity is birthed out of unsettlement with who we are or where we are in this moment. He is the one who births dreams and visions in our hearts to lead us into where we need to be. He gives us wisdom, guidance, and a coaching spirit to help us get there. When we sit up in the tree of self-doing, or as the Bible calls it, pride, we run a great risk of falling out when life sends a gust of wind.
Proverbs 16:18 reminds us that “Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.”
And 1 Peter 5:6-7 echoes that with practical advice: “So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time He will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.”
It’s okay to not have it all together yet, as long as we are committed to the journey of becoming. When we choose the path of humility and come down from our trees, we are graced by the presence of our King. Out of that comes the transforming power to become who we are created to be.
Watch the music video for Amanda’s original song, “Becoming”:
Author: Emily B. Cummins
Emily Cummins is a University of Florida & College of Central Florida grad who is passionate about partnering with people to become who they were made to be. Emily is the Online Campus Pastor at Church of Hope in Ocala, Florida. She’s passionate about storytelling, good cups of coffee, and jamming to country music. And most importantly, she’s passionately pursuing becoming the woman God made her to be.