What does it take for anything to be planted and grow?
Planting. Nurturing. Feeding. Watering. Weeding.
We must pay attention. We must be aware of how we are giving it life.
The other night, my perspective was changed in how I view the lies of the devil that try and do creep into our minds. They were compared with trees, trees that take root in our souls, growing deeper and deeper over time if we allow them to.
It convicted me in many ways and has been a thought crossing my mind multiple times per day, reflecting on the trees that are oh so easy to plant in our own hearts everyday.
Fear. Anxiety. Insecurity. Depression. Insufficiency. Comparison. Unforgiveness. Bitterness. Selfishness.
Sometimes without even realizing that we're doing it, we plant these seeds and then the people we surround ourselves with, the things we do, what we tell ourselves, what we believe to be true, all feed and nurture these seeds until soon enough, they sprout into trees and before we know it, they're giant sequoias with roots as deep as they can grow.
Some of these seeds have been internalized and taken deep root over the years, others are freshly planted after a bad incident, a painful breakup, a hurtful comment, an unhealthy relationship, job loss, unexpected life changes.
There are those we are aware of, while others may still be taking root without us even realizing it. That is why it's key to be in God's Word, surrounding yourself with people who can help you overcome them, focusing on His truths, His promises, His peace, and the joy found in Him.
Without Him, we will stumble and fall, become weak and weary. We will be overcome by the crippling lies of the enemy.
The devil tells us:
"You aren't good enough."
"You'll never be able to do that."
"You don't deserve a man/woman like him/her."
"You'll always get anxiety when you go somewhere."
"You can't forgive because they hurt you deeply."
"You can't fix that friendship or relationship because it's too far gone."
Lies, lies, and more lies. The list could go on for miles if we let it.
BUT. That's not what the Bible tells us.
What the enemy tells us is in stark contrast to what is the truth.
What trees have you planted in yourself or allowed others to plant in you?
For me, I've battled anxiety and feelings of being unworthy, among many other things. We all have our own battles we face, and each and every one of us will be different, but yet the culprit is still the same.
I've fallen into the pits that Satan wants me to be in. He's had me right where He wants me.
He waits for me to allow a single anxious thought in and once I do, he keeps them coming. He wants my palms sweaty and me to feel the fear and panic. To not go this place or that because I've convinced myself that it'll bring on the anxiety.
The thing is, I know it's in my mind and I know that he's right there waiting for me to slip. I've become so aware of that, that when I find myself just about to fall into his little trap, I just imagine him right below me, and me stomping on him, saying "Not today, Satan."
The truth: [[Philippians 4:7]] And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Snap. Snap. Rip. Thank you Jesus for your peace.
There I break off one branch.
One step, one twig, one branch at a time until I can make my way to the trunk, and then pull out the roots.
It's what we have to do. One step at a time.
At the beginning of 2018, I prayed for a word. A word that I'd use as my word for the year. Yes, I set goals, but I also wanted to have a word that I'd turn to when I needed encouragement, to deepen my trust and dependency on Him. Day after day, He was nudging me towards perseverance.
//Perseverance: steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.\\
I took hold of that and reflected and prayed on it, and realized how many areas of my life I do need to persevere. Persevere against these lies the enemy tries to plant in my heart being a big one. So I declared this year the year of persevering. In my will to overcome the anxious thoughts, in my journey for God's plan for my life, in deepening my friendships, in my daily interactions with friends or strangers, in being in the Word and filling my mind with His Truths.
You see, the seeds we plant, regardless of how long they've been taken root within us, take time to eradicate. I googled steps to uprooting a tree, and one of the results was How To Dig up Tree Roots: 12 Steps. A majority of the results were solutions that had 6 or more steps involved.
The steps are where I find myself struggling sometimes. I want it to be quick and easy, but it's exactly the opposite. It's a process. It takes time, it takes dedication, it takes learning, and persevering. If you think about it.. How long have we been feeding this tree inside of us, watering it, filling it with the thoughts that caused it to grow?
If it's been long-term, then wouldn't it make sense that it's going to take time to uproot it? That's what I tell myself day after day. It takes time. It takes effort, concentration, and support.
Regardless of the amount of time it takes to uproot these trees in your heart, there's one constant that will never change, and that's how valuable and loved you are in the Father's eyes.
When you find yourself stumbling, turn to His truths, turn to those around you who will remind you of those Truths when you can't seem to muster up the strength to do so yourself. The enemy wants us to try to do it on our own, so he can try to suck us back in when we're vulnerable and without the strength and encouragement from others.
Don't allow him to win. Jesus didn't go to the cross for you to be crushed by the enemy. He wants you to have life and to have it abundantly. Don't water those trees any longer. Soak up the Truth. Get out your chainsaw and get to choppin.