The Courage to Excavate

In the last post I was talking about courage. We need courage to answer the call that Yahweh has placed on our lives, courage to withstand external pressure and rejection.

But we also need courage to face ourselves. We need the courage to excavate.

According to Merriam – Webster via Google, to excavate means “to expose to view by or as if by digging away a covering.” Basically, digging up the ground. Excavation is what happens before a foundation is laid. Everything that’s buried and will compromise the strength of the foundation that will be built is removed.

I think in words and pictures, and I’m learning that Yahweh communicates with me through words and pictures, too. Lately, all I can see are trees.

Whenever I think about this season of my life, and what this time is bringing about in the lives of the people I’m connected to, the only images I’ve been constantly coming back to are trees.

Trees take time to grow, and their health and potential for growth are based on what feeds them, their environment, the strength of their root system, and the health of the soil they’re planted in. Trees can look majestic and lovely on the outside, and be completely hollow and rotten within. In fact, people won’t know that it’s dead until a storm or some other strong external force pushes it over and it completely crumbles.

How many of us are like that – pretty on the outside but empty on the inside? How many of us are living lives that pass society’s test of success but that are no longer bearing healthy fruit? How many of us are tall, but are no longer growing?

How’s your soil? And by that I mean, how’s your heart?

We live in a world where terrible things happen. Hurt is inevitable, and nothing is fair. People reject us, death ambushes us, hope abandons us, but still we are called to make the most of what we have been given. Sometimes when the bad things happen, we bury them instead of processing them. When hurt consumes us at an early age, we turn it into a seed. We plant our pain in the soil of our heart, and we falsely assume that it’s dead.

But pain buried alive never dies, it grows.

Soon, there’s a tree where that pain used to be.  Our lives can be likened to orchards full of trees – relationship trees, career trees, health trees, faith trees. But this tree is unhealthy. This tree has deep roots but grew from a bad seed. If you’re honest, you can admit that that one bad tree has affected the growth of all your other trees. That tree has contaminated your soil and compromised your harvest.

That’s what unaddressed issues do – they consume every other part of your life.

I strongly believe that in this season, Yahweh is extending an unusual grace for honest introspection and Holy Spirt – led excavation. Yahweh wants to help you uproot some dead trees in your life, He wants to help you dig down into the soil of your soul and remove what’s killing you.

He wants to expose some things privately so we can get rid of them before they destroy us publicly, or get into our bloodline and affect the generations that will come after us.

Yahweh wants to point out the places where you planted pain, and He wants to give you the tools and the power you need to completely uproot it.

This is not the time to cut trees down at the trunk and leave their root systems intact. The things that live below the surface of our lives are what matter. It’s the pain that people can’t see that’s eating you alive. It’s the brokenness that wrecked you when you were twelve that still keeps you up at night. It’s the love you never got as a child that you’re still looking for as an adult. It’s the anger, the unforgiveness, the consuming jealousy, the rejection, the fear, the hopelessness that you have buried that is destroying your quality of life.

Until you uproot the trees that are killing you, you will never be able to keep the good ones alive.

Until you feel the pain you never faced, you’ll never be able to move past it. Until you find out why you only seem to attract men that use and abuse you, you’ll always end up in toxic relationships. Until you face the emptiness you’ve never been able to escape, you’ll always chase after material things hoping that they bring happiness. Until you process the loss and allow yourself to grieve, you’ll never be able to feel hopeful about the future.

Yahweh wants to clear you out. He wants to till your soil and fertilize your future. He wants you to grow beyond your pain. He wants you to move past it. He wants you to be the best version of yourself, the version that doesn’t bury pain, but has the courage and faith to face it head on.

I’m not naïve to the fact that this process will be excruciating. Pulling up anything, especially something that has been there for years, will hurt.

I’m in my own process right now, so I have a few blunt tips for you.

  1. You won’t be able to pull anything up if you’re not willing to be honest. – You are going to come face to face with the ugliest parts of yourself. You are going to encounter your worst sides, and see the depths of your darkness. Hear me, you need to be admit that it’s in you. When Yahweh takes your hand, leads you to the toxic trees that are planted, and reveals their roots, don’t close your eyes and pretend they’re not there. Face it. Take the tool He’s handing you. And dig it up. Let me put this in practical terms: when someone tells you that you’re being a hater, are consumed with jealousy, or have an anger problem, don’t dismiss them. You need to drop your defensiveness and self-righteousness and see things from Yahweh’s perspective and the perspectives of those around you. Stop closing your ears to correction. It’s time to see and hear things other than what you like seeing and hearing. It’s time to receive the truth.


  1. You can do it, no matter what your mind tells you. – There’s going to come a point when you don’t think you can take it anymore. You’re going to realize how broken you are and you’re going to want to give up on yourself. DON’T. The fact that Yahweh led you to this tree and put a tool in your hand means that you are able to dig it up. Don’t allow the disappointment you feel in yourself to talk you out of destiny. Don’t allow your guilt to convince you that you don’t deserve to be healed, whole, and free. That is your inheritance as a child of Yahweh. You can do it, trust me.


  1. Picking the fruit, pruning the branches and chopping it down at the trunk is not enough. You need to dig up the roots. – This not the time for surface cleaning and simple housekeeping. This is not the time for general reflection and popular meditation practices. This is the time to dig down, and pull up. You need to get to the bottom of your brokenness or the tree will come right back, with deeper roots, and more fruit. It will destroy you from the inside out. I know it feels like you’re going to die sifting through the past hurt and pain, but darling, you are so able to overcome. You may not believe it, but you are able. Ask for the courage to face yourself. Ask for the courage to stand in front of your pain and fight it the way you didn’t have the courage to when you buried it.


  1. You may have to expose the wounds so they can heal. You may have to admit it. – I had to admit to my best friend that her progression was making me bitter while I was going through a dark season. I had to root up an insecurity tree, and I’m still rooting it up. Exposing your pain to trusted people frees you from shame. It shines light in dark places and stops the enemy from using it against you. It takes the what-if’s away, and clears out the confusion. It is incredibly freeing to confess your deepest struggles and be affirmed in return. Don’t be afraid to own up to your shortcomings, in fact, Yahweh is often waiting for us to do just that so He can get involved with our healing process.


  1. You may lose a few other trees in the process of uprooting the ones that are dead. – We have to be careful who we bond with in seasons of dysfunction. If the only thing you have in common with someone is your pain, the relationship is toxic. How do I know? Think about what’s going to happen when you decide to get well. If you only bonded over an addiction, what happens when you get sober? If you only bonded over rejection, what happens when you decide to not let it define you anymore? If you only bonded over loss, what happens when you decide to raise your head and acknowledge all you still have left? Those trees will fall because they are hollow and because they have no roots. Unhealthy relationships can never withstand storms meant to weed out things. If you notice that people, lifestyles and inclinations start to fade away, let them. Let the uprooting of the dead trees in your life uproot all the relationships that grew out of it. Let them go.


  1. Be careful who and what you allow to help you heal your land. – Not everyone can speak into your life during excavation season. You’re ripped raw, shredded, and there are deep holes where the hurt trees used to stand. This is not the time to be around that one friend who never has anything positive or life-giving to say. You need people who can pour into you, people who can speak into your present and future in ways that make you come alive. You need safe spaces to let your guard down and be bare. You need people who can help you care for yourself in a new way. You also need to curate your sensory intake. If you’ve just excavated the pain you endured when your ex-husband cheated on you, let go of all of the rebound relationships you’ve acquired since then, and are finally learning how to forgive and move on in a healthy way, you don’t need to be listening to sad love songs. They fed the tree when it was standing, it’s gone now. You need something with more substances that can stimulate the ground to yield a good harvest.


  1. Excavation is always for a purpose. – Excavation involved digging down for the purpose of building something up. When a house is being built, the land isn’t excavated for nothing. The cost of excavation is far too high for the land to be left bare. Excavation precedes the building of a foundation. And the building of a foundation always precedes the construction of a structure. You are not uprooting your past, facing your pain, and walking through Hell, in order to stay stuck. Facing your pain costs you way too much. Yahweh isn’t pointing out these trees He wants you to uproot because He wants to leave you empty. He is doing it because there is a plan for your life. You have to be excavated in order to be built up. You have to process and conquer past pain in order to fulfill your destiny. And as new trees grow, your purpose is being built. As the orchard of your life begins to grow more trees, and bear more fruits, your purpose is being built in the place where your pain once stood.

I don’t take for granted how hard any of this is. I’m not an expert on grief, but I have lived enough life to know that unaddressed emotional issues always catch up to us. I believe that Yahweh wants to help us heal in this season. He wants to give us the courage to look within and handle our brokenness.

He’s a trustworthy Father, and an expert excavator. You can trust Him with your life, you can trust Him with your good, bad, and ugly. He won’t leave you in the same state He found you, but you have to be willing to do the work.

You have no idea how much you’re loved. Give His grace a shot.

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