Monday, September 17, 2012

Bitter Dandelions

There was a time in my life, not so long ago, when I was constantly in conversation with others inside my own head.  I would imagine the things they would say to me, and I would formulate the perfect replies, stinging and direct.  You see these conversations were never happy conversations, but rather they were rooted in hurts and offenses where I felt in my mind I had received no justice.

I remember the summer before this past when I was actually overwhelmed with them.  When at Bible study we scribbled down our private prayer requests for someone else to pray for over our summer together, mine may have seemed strange.  "Please pray for the imaginary conversations going on inside my head." My friend, however, understood and knew I was not fighting and kind of mental disease, but rather a spiritual one.  For it was in those imagined conversations in my mind that I was pouring Miracle Grow on seeds of bitterness.

Sadly those relationships were never righted, though not all fault is mine.  And I found that even after I left the relationships where I was, in fact, fostering bitterness, it took a very long time just to get even a little progress away from the bitterness that had become full grown in my heart.  Then one day I was driving along and I suddenly realized, I hadn't had a single thought of bitterness about those relationships in several days.  It may not seem like much, but when you're having them all day long for months, maybe even years, a few days can seem like a very long time.  I realized that in moving away from the relationships that had been so hard, I had actually found freedom.  I stopped watering the root, and the bitterness began to die.

Today I was taking a worship walk with the Lord.  It's something I am trying to incorporate  to tend to the health of mind, body and spirit.  I was talking to the Lord, listening to a worship song, praying for the people that He brought to my mind. And then suddenly a thought passed through my mind, as if it had drifted in on the wind.  An awkward conversation from days before that made me feel defensive, and suddenly I began to think about the follow up conversation I'd like to have. I imagined both parts, my own, and the other person, even though I had no certainty 6that any of my embarrassment or discomfort was rooted in any truth.  But I felt my mind began to judge the other to make me feel better about myself.

Thankfully, I recognized quickly this seed that had drifted into my mind.  Like dandelion dust, it drifted in without my intent or expectation, and it distracted me from thinking on the many good things there are to consider and rather creating in my own mind a scenario that might not even exist.  Like the large shadow of a small child, the light was obscured in such a way that it looked like something much bigger than the reality. Or perhaps it wasn't even a child causing the shadow, perhaps it was a complete illusion from nothing alive or true at all.

It occurred to me then that that is exactly how bitterness grows.  No one plants that seed in their own heart with intent.  Something in the wind drifts it towards us, and without any knowledge of it all, it begins to take root. The thing about a dandelion is this, it can look beautiful, even harmless in its growing form. A harmless little yellow flower, one might even find beauty in it, like we find justification in our offense.  But as it grows, it changes.  The yellow flower turns to the white puff children are so fond of picking from the grass to blow upon it.  A child has no idea of the havoc he may wreak as he blows on this kind of weed, but when Satan blows upon the similar weed within our hearts, he knows exactly the havoc he will wreak in our hearts and lives if he can just get the weed of bitterness to spread.

I looked up how you get rid of dandelions, and there is no way around it, the weeds have to be destroyed, and the sooner the better.  So is the same truth for the bitter seeds that drift into our hearts.  We have to pluck them out and destroy them swiftly.  We cannot allow them to grow or spread. I know this to be true, not from a conversation in my mind, but a word of Truth being spoken to my heart.

See to it that no one misses the grace of God 
and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
Hebrews 12:15

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