have a pretty large tree in our front yard that, after some inspection, we
suspected had some termite damage. After a few seconds of panic, I called a
plant guy to ask how to get rid of the wood-eating pests. I wanted to save our
tree but, even more importantly, I didn’t want wood-eating insects setting up
permanent residence near my house!
According to this friend, one of the best ways to keep termites out is to keep my tree healthy. A dry, damaged, or dying tree attracts the pests, who crave the dried wood. They don’t actually eat healthy trees. We got to work watering, fertilizing, and removing dead branches.
This same method could be applied to the heart. To protect your heart, and avoid certain things that erode your well-being and spiritual health, you can focus on growing rather than avoiding. Filling rather than emptying. Sometimes, when we are faced with something that needs to change in our lives, we spend an incredible amount of energy trying to eliminate.
If I realize I have an addiction to social media, I just try to stay off social media. If I realize some of my friends influence me to make poor choices, I either fight the peer pressure or avoid the friends. If I realize I am spending every evening of a stressful week watching hours of television or drinking too much wine, I try to just cut it out. ‘Just say no’ works for a season. Well, not even a season. More like, the first couple of tries. Ultimately, what I have learned is that what I put IN is much more important than what I take OUT.
Here’s an additional challenge. When it comes to words, sometimes it takes more positive words to fill than it takes negative words to erode. As we begin to grow the trees of our spirits, by filling our lives with the admirable and praiseworthy, we will change the language we use with ourselves and our people. Know that growth takes time. The leaves of a tree will not grow after a single watering session.
It seems like relationships and progress in certain areas can be demolished with one unfiltered phrase or one lapse in judgment. But take heart! God is with us, and is full of Grace for us. Have grace for yourself and those around you. Keep growing your tree by keeping it full of good. Eventually there will be less and less space for the pests.