My uncle and I built a swing set for my son last week. After building it, we decided to put up a fall zone perimeter around it and fill it with wood chips to protect him. We measured and then placed the boards around the swing set. As we were screwing them together, one of the boards wouldn’t square up right. The ground was raised up and kept the board from being level. I grabbed a shovel and started to dig. It wasn’t long before I hit some roots.
I took the shovel, placed it against the roots and jumped on it to break the roots. Sometimes that worked and other times the shovel didn’t move. As I broke some roots, I had to grab the ends of them and pull until they came all the way up or until the were far enough away that I could chop them and get no future trouble from them. As I looked back at the area where they were, it was now soft soil and I could easily pull the dirt back and place the board on level ground.
I started to think about my life after that. When I try to line things up, they don’t always come together the way I think they should. No matter how hard I try, it just doesn’t work. There are roots below the surface that affect things in each of our lives. We may not always see them, but they’re there. They create uneven surfaces in our lives and have a way of messing things up from time to time.
A scripture that always comes to mind when I think about roots is Hebrews 12:15. It says, “Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you.” We’re all susceptible to these roots because life isn’t perfect. Things happen that we can’t control and we allow roots to grow in our lives beneath the surface. They get nourishment from the feelings we keep hidden. They grow until we deal with them and cut them out.
Some roots cut easily because they are young. Other roots will take a lot of strength and effort to remove from our lives because they’ve been there so long and haven’t been dealt with. It’s important that we recognize when roots are trying to take hold in and then prevent them. Hebrews said we need to watch out so that the root doesn’t grow. Understanding and knowing what situations cause roots like this to grow is the first step in preventing their growth.
You have to mentally determine not to let them grow up in you. If you are susceptible to them growing in trials, be on your hard during those times. If you are susceptible to them when someone dies, make a determination not to be angry or bitter. Whatever the case may be for you, it’s important that you do what you can to prevent them. In my trials, I consciously pray, “God, please don’t let a root of bitterness spring up in me so that this situation affects me in the future.”
What roots do you have in your life that you need to put the shovel to? Dealing with it now is better than later. You need to kill it at its source so that it will not continue to grow and affect your life negatively. You need to dig it up, pull it out and chop it off. Afterwards, you’ll notice that the soil in your life is a lot softer, more even and able to have something better planted in its place.