I keep forgetting to ask my son what this stuff is called. At first glance, it’s actually kind of pretty. I used to enjoy looking at it as it spread across the oaks near my house. Its proliferation astonished me. Then Tony explained that it’s actually killing the trees–and not just in Austin. As I strolled gorgeous Lithia Park in Ashland Oregon, I snapped the photo above, sad to think the tree will probably be gone before long.
What used to look beautiful to me makes me sad, even angry, now. That spindly, mossy stuff blocks the sun. It kills the leaves, then the branches and finally the trees. The analogy it brings to mind makes me sad and angry as well.
What do we allow, unaware (or ignoring the fact) that it’s slowly killing us?
Have we taken enough time for introspection, checking all areas of our lives?
- The spiritual side: Sin and distraction creep in covertly, often looking beautiful at first. I’ve covered that plenty of times, as has your pastor, I hope.
- The physical side: We Christians sometimes sidestep those issues, both with our loved ones and within ourselves. But it’s time once again to ask: How is your self-care? If you’ve given your life to the Lord, you’ve given up the right to abuse your body in any way.
- Then there’s the mental/emotional side: Petty grievances and pet worries can look justified, even righteous. But, like all the other sap-suckers and joy-diminishers I’ve mentioned, they must be pruned.
Ugh! Pruning. I’ve seen it done to trees, and it looks painful. I’ve seen the Lord do it in my life, and it was painful. And I see it coming again: less looking at my phone, more fasting and less TV. Our Divine Gardner prunes each of us in a different way, according to what’s hurting us and separating us from him.
So, today, I’m asking you to set aside a few minutes to be silent (right now, if at all possible). Ask yourself and your Lord what needs to go. No matter what he shows you, I hope you’ll hand it over and ask him to help you leave it in his hands!