The Devil We Don’t

I have some beautiful, thriving houseplants that I love. I also have some sickly, sad houseplants that question my love for them. In truth it’s a lack of clarity on what each of them needs. Too much water…too little light…or vice versa. And sometimes they just need to be cut down to size. I really struggle with knowing when to prune: is that branch really dying or is it going to come back with just a little more [insert element of photosynthesis here]?

Pruning is necessary and rarely comfortable.

We stay in houses/apartments that we don’t like–
In jobs we don’t like–
In relationships that are toxic–
Because moving is too hard…we’re “lucky to have a job”…this “may be as good as it gets.”
Because What if the new/different thing is WORSE?!
Because WHAT IF?

Recently I was in a conversation about the devil and temptation, specifically related to how the Serpent got Eve to eat the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It wasn’t “Go ahead and eat it…You deserve it…” or whatever. The Serpent asked Eve a question: “Did God really say…” and the seed of doubt was sown.

It’s not often I am tempted to do bad/evil things (other than eat foods that aren’t good for me), but I wonder how many seeds have been sown in an effort to keep me from taking action. Seeds of procrastination. Seeds of laziness. Seeds of fear of the unknown.

I really enjoy reading and listening to personal development books and have a really poor habit of not actually doing the work required.
A lot of seeds are planted, but I don’t cultivate the growth.
I like to think about getting better.
I like to discuss the possibilities.
I like to dance around the edges of change.
Like the flavors of La Croix*, I get the essence of personal development.

*I enjoy La Croix, but the jokes are funny, y’all.

A recurring theme in so many of these books, though with different syntax and semantics, is:
It is not enough to want something. You have to decide to go for it.
You have to decide that you want to change more than you want to stay the same.

I know when I make healthy eating choices I feel better. But deciding to make those healthy choices EVERY DAY requires a decision to change. A commitment to change. It requires effort.
Same ol’ habits = no effort.

I know there are people who drain my energy, hurt my feelings, make life a little bit worse with each interaction, but cutting those people off requires a commitment to mental health and the consequences are unknown. It may require–*gulp*–telling those people there’s a problem.

Real change may well require some cutting: cutting out, cutting off, cutting down to size.

And that sounds awfully painful.
I’m pretty darn comfortable right here in this pain I’m already familiar with.
The pain that’s always there, so it becomes unnoticeable–the humming of electricity that we don’t notice until the power goes out.

But what if (oh that dangerous question again)–
what if the growth/the dream/the joy we are searching for is simply waiting for the light to shine down when that habit/person/job is pruned out of the way?

What blessings are we missing out on because we’re holding on too tightly to the familiar?
What freedom could we experience if we let go of the anchor weighing us down?

What if what you long for is on the other side of fear?

Is it time for some pruning?

Into personal growth? Here are a few favorites:

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