This week’s topic has been on my brain so much lately, so I finally decided to give it some attention. Once I decided to start really thinking about this, God just threw open his book of analogies and my mind went crazy!! Here’s a snip-it of some of the revelations I had this week. . .

So, if you know me at all, you have most likely heard me talk about my severe BLACK THUMB. I have an absolutely TERRIBLE time with plants. The really sad part is that I actually LOVE to garden and plant things and watch things grow. I seriously don’t know what my problem is, and why it is so impossible for me to keep things alive. It’s just ridiculous. All that to say, this doesn’t stop me from haphazardly inviting plants to come live out their last days in my “garden”. HA! Even saying that I have a garden is just hilarious- I absolutely DO NOT. Every spring/summer, whatever, I bring home plants with the intentions of having this super beautiful landscape and, mark my words, I WILL have an herb garden in the near future!

Yesterday, while tending to said “garden”, I noticed that the one plant that I never even invited to the party has seemed to take up residence and is wrecking havoc on my old & new tenants! No, I’m not talking about weeds (although I find pulling weeds to be super therapeutic- weird I know). I’m talking about IVY- and not my favorite, take-care-of-yourself Potato Ivy!! Just green, climbing ivy that looks like it should be covering the side of some rustic Italian summer home. UGH! We actually do have these beautiful purple rose bushes that were already established when we moved into our house. They are GORGEOUS, and they seem to just keep hanging in there with me- beefing up my pipe dream that I will be a Master Gardener one day. However, this stinkin’ ivy keeps trying to encroach upon these roses! I literally do nothing and this ivy is relentless and growing all over the place- it’s a pest and it’s killing the strong, beautiful plants that have actually survived at my “garden”! Standing alone, the ivy is kind of pretty, but it’s just a show! This sneaky little beauty is mighty, and the more it grows, it literally swallows up the larger plants, and they eventually die. (See, I sound super smart about plants, right?! LOL!)

While looking at my roses, I noticed the ivy had woven itself up the back of the bush and was wound around about 6 different branches. At first glance, the rose bush just looked more full, but when I got closer, I realized that the rose bush was suffering. It was doing it’s best to stand tall, but it’s branches were becoming brittle, it’s leaves were looking pitiful, and it’s blooms were dwindling. As I began to delicately maneuver the ivy off the bush, He hit me with it………Isn’t this how our lives are? We are the rose bush, full of God’s beauty and talent, capable of producing beautiful blooms. When fed the right food (aka: time with God, getting good advice from Godly relationships, spending time in the Word, etc), we can grow strong and be assets to the world around us. However, far too often we let junk into our lives that will choke out the things we need to be healthy and thriving.

It’s not easy living in this world, it’s often a challenge to navigate this crazy life. Sometimes we invite those pests into our lives, and sometimes they just show up. But if we aren’t careful, we will wind up being smothered by these things, unable to produce anything. We were created in God’s image- each of us made to do great things for this world. Just like my rose bush, if we are properly taking care of ourselves, we can really thrive. On the other hand, much like the ivy, challenges, set backs, and obstacles will only keep coming. They will continue to get in your way and prevent you from going where you need to be going. And I can promise you, if you are on the brink of a breakthrough or some kind of major change for the good, you will find your life riddled with those challenges. What kind of evil villain would satan be if he made it easy on you? Right?

Thank God, though, that we can have a relationship with Him; that we don’t have to just sit back and let all that ivy swallow us  and suffocate the life within us. Thanks to Jesus, and His unfailing love and grace, we can rip that ivy right out at the root. We can eliminate distractions, obstacles, set backs simply by staying focused on Him. Spending that time with God, fostering your relationship with Him, reading His Word, learning what it says and using it for the weapon it was intended to be- that is how you get rid of ivy. That, my friends, is how you conquer all the junk and funk, and live a life full of bounty.

Take a moment to think about the ivy in your life. What things (or people) are stifling your growth? Who or what is getting in your way? What things in your life are preventing you from achieving what you know you are capable of? We all have something. In my case, I have somethingSSSSS (plural times a hundred) 🙂 It’s a process, but identifying the source is step one. Sure, you will always have something that will try to cramp your style and bust all up in on the good things you’ve got going on. But you most certainly don’t have to sit back and take it like a little wussy. No ma’am! You are strong, you are righteous, and you have something AMAZING to give to this world. Consider this:

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:37

Did you see that? MORE than conquerors. So, establish your roots, identify the ivy, take care of you, and BLOOM!