Spiritual Formation Lessons from My Houseplants…

“Let your roots grow down into him,
and let your lives be built on him.
Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught,
and you will overflow with thankfulness.”  (Colossians 2:7)

On a recent Monday morning, I wrote this in my journal…

This morning I felt compelled to do two things before I sat down for this time.  For days, I’ve been intending to water three houseplants.  Done.  And I really had no idea what my calendar had on it for the week.  Done…

 I watered the bromeliad from the tray it sits in. In other words, I took care of the plant from the roots up.  That’s what this morning time is about – from my roots up…  The deep part of me needs this refreshing time. 

 The other activity was to help me know what to expect.  I’ve been immersed with house guests.  I hadn’t looked ahead.  And the morning time with God is, in part, looking head. 

 This morning time is both these things –
deep root watering and
preparing myself for what’s ahead.

 To soak a little more in that metaphor of being watered—from the bottom up…

  •  Watering from the bottom is the better way to tend to potted plants.  Rain tends to plants from the top down, but in an artificial environment it’s best not to do so.  Watering that way compacts the soil and restricts air the roots need.  A gentler way to water is allowing the plant to soak water up from its tray.

I need to take care of myself from my roots up. 

  • Watering from the bottom benefits the root system because the roots will grow directly toward the moisture.  If the moisture remains in the top of the pot, the roots don’t benefit from spreading out in their nutrient-packed soil.

I am better off when I’ve been stretched a bit. 

  • Bottom watering plants will keep the roots uniformly moist but it doesn’t wash out the salt and minerals that will eventually accumulate at the top.  Every so often, watering from the top is necessary to wash these away.

Every now and then, I do well with a good rinsing.

And then, after all this, I’m better prepared for what’s ahead…

 

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