Trees that outgrow their planters (and plants that outgrow their pots) become rootbound–strangled by their own roots. Unable to grow. Unable to take in nutrients. What to do? First, remove the plant from its too-small container. Second, trim away the unhealthy roots. Third, place it in fresh soil–in a place with room to grow.
People can be rootbound, too. I had a friend whose mother, like the woman at the well in John 4, married five times and was engaged to a sixth when Treena moved out. One year into her own marriage, Treena thought she’d chosen “the wrong person” and was ready to file for divorce. A wise counselor said, “Of course you think that. Divorce is normal for you.” You’re being strangled by your roots!
A family I’ve known all my life is rootbound by three generation of substance abuse. The grandfather modelled alcoholism until he died. His three sons drank with him until they discovered drugs. Two are now dead and the third is hopelessly entangled in the roots that choked his brothers to death. Now his son, the third generation, is in rehab, trying desperately to cut away those drug-infested cords. My heart breaks for them. Every day.
But there is light. The surviving son’s wife, herself a recovering addict, has found the One who can disentangle her, whose Word is full of life-giving nutrients, who is in the process of replanting her in a place where she can begin to grow again (and through her, her son and husband, as well, I pray). It’s not pretty. Every day is full of dirt and rot. Her hands and heart are perpetually encrusted. But she’s praying. And so am I.
Are you rootbound? Trim away the lies that choke you–most likely with someone else’s help. Allow yourself to be re-planted in the life-giving soil of God’s word, in an environment where you will not just grow but thrive, bringing joy to the One who planted you, and shade to all who draw near.
Blessings till it hurts.
“Blessed are those who trust in the LORD. They will be like trees planted near the water, that extend their roots into the stream and do not fear when the heat comes. Their leaves will remain green and they will not grow anxious in the year of drought. Nor will they cease to yield fruit.” ~Jeremiah 17:8