Yesterday we were treated to a tour of an orchid garden like nothing I have ever seen or even imagined. Some friends of ours have somewhere around 2000 orchids between their backyard and the yard of their neighbor. It’s their livelihood and clearly a deep passion. While he was giving us a bit of an education about these delicate and unique plants, he said one thing that stuck with me. Every year he has to re-pot the plant. There are two reasons for this. First of all, the moss which acts as nourishment breaks down and is not useful anymore. Secondly, he takes that opportunity to cut the dead roots because if he doesn’t, he explained, the dead roots will poison the plant from the inside out.
There is a lot of cynicism surrounding the idea of New Years Resolutions. But even in God’s creation we clearly see the wisdom in deep assessment once a year. There is a physical need to re-pot the plant, add fresh nourishment, and cut the dead roots.
The first step is taking the plant out of the pot. From year to year, do you just stay where you are because that’s where you are? Take a moment to ask the Lord, “Is this where you want me to be? Show me your plan for me. Let me hear a word behind me saying this is the way, walk in it, wherever I go to the right or to the left.” (Isaiah 30:21) The Bible says that we have not because we ask not. In James we learn that if we ask for wisdom He will give it to us. So don’t forget to ask the Lord where He wants you as you begin this new year.
Do you need fresh nourishment? Have you been reading from the same devotional for 20 years? Maybe it’s time for a new one. I am looking forward to reading Tim Keller’s 365 days through the Psalms in addition to personal Bible reading. Our family has set a lofty goal of reading through the Bible this year. It’s so doable. I know this because people do it. Ha! Maybe you could ask us how we’re doing! Remind us how important it is. Start a prayer journal. Find a prayer partner. Try something different, something new to revitalize and energize your spirit.
Finally, find all the dead roots and cut.them.out! (Insert hand motions from Joey of “Full House”) According to the dictionary definition roots are the part of a plant that attaches it to the ground or to a support, typically underground, conveying water and nourishment to the rest of the plant via numerous branches and fibers. Sometimes there are parts of our lives that are taking up time and space that no longer bring us life. Maybe it is a toxic relationship. Maybe it is a job. Maybe it is hobby or hang up that is bringing you down instead of closer to the Lord. Now is a great time to sit before the Lord and ask Him to show you what root, what area of your life is no longer viable so that you can cut it free. There is no neutrality here. If it isn’t bringing you life, much like the orchid, it will slowly poison you from the inside out.
Ditch the cynicism and ignore the naysayers. There is beauty in taking time once a year, at least, to assess and evaluate. Humble yourself before the Lord and ask for wisdom for this coming year. Share your goals and aspirations with a trusted friend. Make a plan. Don’t be afraid of failure. Re-pot your plant, add some fresh nourishment, and cut off the dead roots and watch what beauty the Lord has in store for your heart.