Are You Rootbound?


Thought for the Week

Trees that outgrow their planters become rootbound–strangled by their own roots, unable to grow, unable to take in nutrients. Solution? First, remove the tree from its container. Second, trim away the unhealthy roots. Third, place it in fresh soil — in a place where it has room to grow.

People can be rootbound, too. I had a friend whose mother 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 normal for you.” You’re being strangled by your roots!

My aunt’s family, rootbound by three generation of substance abuse, has virtually ceased to exist. She passed away some years ago, and her husband, my uncle, died a dedicated alcoholic. His three sons drank with him until they discovered drugs. Two of them died as a result of their addictions, and the third remains hopelessly entangled — despite the fact that just last year his only child died from a drug overdose. My heart breaks for them. Every day.

But there is light. The third brother’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. It’s not pretty. She wrestles with aching despair at the loss of her son. Every day is full of dirt and rot. Her hands and heart are perpetually encrusted. But she continues to pray. And do 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 truth, 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.

nature___rivers_and_lakes_flowering_trees_near_the_water_041725_“Blessed are those who trust in their Creator. 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 17:7-8

About mitchteemley

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

45 Responses to Are You Rootbound?

  1. Vera Day says:

    This is an excellent message. Thanks, Mitch!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thoughtful, encouraging, prayerful piece, Mitch.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thotaramani says:

    Moral of the story is ” Trust our creator” Absolutely Mitch.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Paula Light says:

    Thanks Mitch for this enlightening post 💜

    Liked by 2 people

  5. joannie6535 says:

    Wonderful metaphor.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Way to shine light on the rootbound plants, Mitch! God bless!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks Mitch. Tangling and strangling… It’s too easy to see those for whom it’s a long term condition… I know that it’s a danger for me to drift there without realising it… I seek wisdom, humility and a focus on the master-disentangler.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Absolutely Beautiful! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. #hood says:

    verse 9 missing


  10. Such a sad situation in the Aunt’s family-Glad to see some hope sprouting.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Kevin says:

    Isn’t it true how we are just products of our circumstances. Fortunately, there is a way out for some people.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Mary Sweeney says:

    I love this metaphor, Mitch! I remember you posting this years ago because Bill and I talked about it as we have family members who are rootbound. It’s a picture of what I see in so many in my own family. I love this: “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 truth, in an environment where you will not just grow but thrive, bringing joy to the one who planted you…” There’s always hope in Jesus! I just wish more could find that hope.
    I will be in your next of the woods Wednesday. Sadly, my nephew died in a motorcycle accident. He was one of those family members that were rootbound. He will be buried next to his dad (my brother) who also died in a motorcycle accident 40 years ago at ago 25, my nephew was only one year old at the time. That was the last time I was in Cincinnati.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Kara Luker says:

    Hesrtbreaking and hopeful, but in both regards truly a powerful analogy, Mitch!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Your root bound analogy applies to many life situations, which is proof that you’re a pretty good parable teller, Mitch. At present, I seek to leave one round bound music teacher job and seek more room to grow as an administrator. I appreciate your blog ministry. May God continue to bless your efforts on multiple fronts.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. The verse by Jeremiah is a perfect exclamation point after your insightful thoughts on being rootbound. Thanks, Mitch.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. marthadilo3 says:

    Very cool imagery! As a young adult I was afraid to leave the safety of the pot and didn’t realize that it’s ok to spread roots. Now that I’m old (er) I am taking far more chances and enjoying new soil! Thanks for sharing this. and, ps, the day you posted morning has broken I substituted in a church handbell choir playing…you guessed it! synchronicity!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Thought-provoking, Mitch. I’ve got to consider the ways that I, too, am rootbound.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Karen Lang says:

    This is such a great understanding and example of ancestral trauma and wounding. I have been doing ancestral healing on my family and my clients for 3 years and it’s so powerful. To break the cycle of pain for ourselves and our children’s future is a gift. 🙏🏻

    Liked by 2 people

  19. revruss1220 says:

    Great and challenging message, Mitch. The hardest part about being root bound is that it is often easier to stay where you are – even if that place is killing you – than to go to the trouble of moving. Praying for the woman who is doing that hard, necessary work.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Stacey says:

    The whole “that’s what’s normal to you” is precisely why I continuously tell my son that daddy and I are wrong about a lot, and that one day he’ll realize that and hopefully forgive us. Of course, we strive to break generational curses, but I always wonder what sneaks in that we’re not even aware of.

    My 3 year old is pretty aware, fortunately. The kid has no problem telling me I need a timeout. 🤣

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Great post. Breaking the chain of generational sin is the best gift we can pass on to our children. It makes me think of Ephesians 4:22-24—we must be made new, taking off the old self.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Pingback: Are You Rootbound? – menthor of mind

  23. I recently uprooted myself from the NM desert and my husband and I are now enjoying the exact opposite of the Ozarks! This is where my great grandparents headed out from in a covered wagon when they moved to NM when NM was a territory. Life takes us to places we never dream we will go and I never thought I would live here but I feel very much at home because of my grandmother’s longing for her childhood home and her many stories. I feel her presence all around me and I love it here! Water I nice! lol! And God really is good all of the time even when times aren’t so good and our roots are too tight and we don’t even know that’s part of what’s wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Your message here is so powerful, Mitch. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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