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
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.