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 decided she’d chosen “the wrong person” and was ready to file for divorce. A wise counselor told her, “Of course you think that. Divorce is Rootboundnormal 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. 

nature___rivers_and_lakes_flowering_trees_near_the_water_041725_“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

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Quips and Quotes, Religion/Faith, Story Power and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Rootbound

  1. loreguardian says:

    I stole your photo! It’s beautiful!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. blmaluso says:

    Enlightening and thought provoking. Thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Good post. Where is the second picture? It is amazing 🙂 The third pic is gorgeous

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Oh, this is deep! (The roots and the message ;-)) Thanks! Such a great metaphor!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Since many of the substances, which people abuse can trace their roots to nasty addictive botanicals, and these plants then cause people to suffer “root rot”, no doubt these plant roots grow so deep, they reach all the way down to Hell.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jay says:

    This is so lovely, Mitch.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Heather says:

    The concept of being “strangled by one’s roots”…wow! That’s a great way to think of how our past, unresolved experiences can prevent current growth in Christ.

    Thanks, Mitch!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Laurie Welch says:

    I love that scripture. And your words before it were pretty great, too 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I love these photos! They are so beautiful 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I’ve read this scripture before—countless times, but the imagery you painted to go with it gives it a deeper meaning for me. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Karen L Greene says:

    Thank you Mitch
    I needed these words.
    Brings clarity to something I thought was long buried with my second husband and has resurfaced. So I am just trusting the Vine dresser to cut away those dead roots and replant me.
    Have a blessed day!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Love the creative symbols, metaphors for generational sin – powerful. Thy Kingdom Come – may the saints of God go to battle for the hearts and souls caught in the mire of bad choices and dysfunction – Set the captives Free!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Nancy Ruegg says:

    Wise words, Mitch, to use when the issue of generational sin comes up. To speak in metaphor may be less threatening and broaden understanding of what’s going on. Also, ‘love Jeremiah 17:8. Just reading that verse of beautiful imagery calms and replenishes my spirit!

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Good words, Mitch. I’m only getting around to reading this on Saturday (I’m so behind in my emails!). But the scripture about the tree and water was brought up to me in my own writing as I was searching my journal and found my illustration attending it. God is speaking! Thanks so much for allowing the Spirit to speak through you.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. bkmoore says:

    Beautiful description of the generational curse broken. I continue to grow new roots.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Reblogged this on bogpalibrarian and commented:
    Something to ponder:

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Love it Mitch! Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I enjoyed the originality of your graphics, although tragic. The devil Satan is a master deceiver, able to bind generations of bad seeds, yet still, there is hope in Jesus Christ, who reveals such human conditions with such light of truth and enable freedom, indeed. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

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