Deadheading For Growth

Cultivating a garden to maturity, and individual spiritual growth is an on-going activity: It takes deadheading: removing the old to make way for the new. But the process needn’t be tedious. As we cut away the dried pods and old buds, imagine them as areas in life we’d like to clean up, too. For example deadheading sin by keeping short accounts with God and men.
Confessing our named sins regularly, keeps a clear access to God: “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your wrath” (Ephesians 4:26, NKJV). And when Daniel Webster was asked, “What is the greatest thought that can occupy a man’s mind?” He said, “ accountability to God.”
And what about deadheading childish attitudes: Let’s put away making excuses why our negative attitudes and problems are someone else’s fault. Like H. A. Ironside, from Act Like Men, said, “If you are living for God, people can’t slight you because you will not let them. It will not make any difference.” We groom plants to ward off future complications, and we can do the same by memorizing Psalm 118: “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidences in Princes” (Psalm 118:9).
Then there are those plaguing negative habits that need deadheading. We’ve ignored substance, personal, social, or legalistic religion abuse too long. As Horace Mann once said, “Habit is a cable; we weave a thread of it every day, and at last we cannot break it.” But with God, “ . . . anything is possible.” And we can break the cable remembering: “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything” (I Corinthians 6:12). Like second chances, nature blesses plants, and us, with second waves of blooms when we do away with the old. The hardest area is deadheading a self-righteous critical spirit.
Like deflating a child’s excitement by, “If we could’ve understood your words, the concert would have been better.” The child tried to explain. “Listen, this is for your own good.” Finally the child says, “But it was Heather who sang the solo.” A hundred years from now, who will remember the program? But a child’s joy is squashed, and the fear of rejection can last a lifetime.
Frank A. Clark, a former American politician, once said, “Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying the roots.” And Jesus reminds us, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he drowned” (Matthew 18:6).
Gardens and spiritual growth traverse the same road: restoration through rebirth: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). And we can smile at the beauty around us, and within.