names and trees.

This weekend. Goodness. It was so good. Nashville will always have this place in my heart that’s bittersweet. I loved that city when I lived there in a way that I didn’t even love my hometown…and I LOVE my hometown. That’s a whole different post. But it had my heart. It won me over. I had found a new home that was my own. Then everything changed. So when I go back it’s always such a two sided coin. Heads and tails. Good and bad. Actually, no, not bad…just hard. And that doesn’t always have to mean bad. Anyways, I digress. There was Nashville for NEEDTOBREATHE with some of the greatest people I know, and then there was a trip to Louisville to see the INCOMPARABLE Johnnyswim with a few other of the greatest.

But in between Nashville and Louisville there was a car ride with one of my favorite people. And he was telling me about one of his kids that he helps sponsor in Africa. His name’s Gideon. He wasn’t always Gideon but a couple of years ago a pastor said that God had a new name for him and that was it. So as my friend was telling me about him and his story he told me that at one point he used to hide in trees to escape harm and ridicule from the town and people that he lived around. So much so that when they were on a trip one time his friends encouraged the boy to climb a decent sized tree and the kid was up it in no time flat. I’m picturing the crazy guys in Jamaica that I saw in high school that you could pay them increasingly more money to climb to a higher and higher branch and frankly, could have probably done it in their sleep…all the while, I’m having a panic attack trying to jump of the 8 foot cliff. But as he is telling me this story we start talking about what names mean. Therefore, google. Right?!

So check this out. The first definition we come across says that Gideon means “Destroyer”, “Mighty Warrior”, AND THEN “Feller of Trees”. Now in Kentucky when you call someone a “feller” it’s just a short version of fellow. (i.e. “That feller over there is a Louisville fan…he musta lost his mind.”). But the ACTUAL definition of “feller” for people not from Kentucky is “a person who cuts down trees”.

So as I’m listening to my friend tell me about Gideon it’s clicking to me that God gave a new name to this sweet boy that means to CUT DOWN the the very things that he used to hide in. He doesn’t have to hide anymore. His past no longer defines him. He belongs to and is chosen by a God that is stronger than the trees. He is a destroyer and mighty warrior of all things that could inhibit the kingdom of God because he is apart of it.

That all makes me think…what do I hide in? What’s my tree? What keeps me trapped? In the words of Jon Foreman “Is it fear that you’re afraid of?”. I don’t know yet, I’m working on it. But what I do know is that I serve a God that is bigger than my fear and my anxiety and the things that day in a day out keep me from loving people like Jesus would, so it’s worth figuring out.

Also, I hope I get to meet Gideon one day and see him cut down a tree.


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