Let Go, Stubborn Vines

Yesterday I did a lot of gardening. I planted nine rows of corn and sketched plots for beans, cabbage, cukes, radishes, and greens. I filled the house with vases of lilacs (the scent is intoxicating). I trimmed the lilac bush. I weeded the front landscaping.

The hardest part of all, though, was working on the Clematis Jackmanii vines on the trellis of my back porch. The vines, when they blossom, will be laden with extraordinarily vibrant purple flowers, but for now, they only have buds. And they were a mess. Old, dead vines hung in a pile where no one had trained them last year. Ignoring the trellis completely, the new vines stood in a lump, twisting around each other, other plants, and the dead vines, trying to grow on their own.

Obviously, I couldn’t just let them do what they wanted. See, these vines have the potential to spread across the whole width of the deck, stretching and reaching and blossoming spectacularly. Oh sure, they’ll blossom if I let them grow in a clump. They’re grow well enough—a flower is a flower. But they’ll struggle to be supported. They’ll disappoint their potential. They’ll die at the end of the fall, withered and hunched over, overcrowded by their own leaves.

So, I did what any good gardener would do. I marched outside, barefoot, wrapped in my pink satin kimono, a pair of garden scissors in hand, and I trained them. (Maybe most gardeners would wear proper attire. Whatever.)

Training them was no easy feat. See, the vines had been trying to grow on their own for a few weeks now. They twisted and knotted and wrapped themselves around things. In order to train them, I had to do some untwisting. I had to unwrap them from the dead vines, from the sprouting lilies, from themselves. And while I was gently correcting these vines, separating them from what they had latched onto, patiently observing their fragility, I found myself talking to them.

“Let go now,” I said, gently unwrapping their leaves. “Let go now.”

But some vines were so tightly wrapped, so strongly entwined, that for all my patience, I ended up breaking them, their tiny leaves falling to the ground.

And then it struck me, how much my life is reflected in the fragility of these flowers.

So often we latch onto all the wrong things, all the wrong people. Pride, sex, relationships, pornography, money, popularity, beauty, grades, gossip. These are the dead vines of our lives.

“These are the things I need,” we tell ourselves. “Once I have these, I’ll be satisfied.”

But the path for our lives isn’t found in any of those. We can make a path there, as we often do. But that path doesn’t compare to what we could have. There is a trellis. And there is huge potential. While we stomp our feet and insist on holding onto impure thoughts, bitterness, anger, fear, food, we are keeping ourselves from growing into what we could be. We are losing support, bending further away from the trellis, dying, and becoming stumbling blocks for new vines.

But God doesn’t want to leave us like that. Thank goodness He doesn’t.

“Let go now,” He says. “Let go now.” And gently, patiently observing our fragility, he untwines us and leads us to something new—to a promise.

“Let go now.”

He untwists us from our shame and leads us to grace.

“Let go now.”

He unties us from people and brings us to His love. If we let Him. But sometimes we don’t. I don’t. Sometimes we like holding onto bad vines. It’s comfortable there. And the branches of our lives might be too far gone to be untangled, too tightly wound around all the wrong things to be untwisted. Sometimes we have to be broken to be led to something greater.

We might be snapped. The broken relationships might burn a little. The humility gained by losing our pride might sting. Forgiving someone might be painful. But when it’s over (and it might take a while), He leads us around the trellis, draping our leaves against the wood, watching us grow, and leading us back when we take hold of other things.

So don’t settle for less than who you were meant to be. Don’t forsake the beauty of your life for things that don’t satisfy. Let go now. And wait, and watch, and rejoice when your life blossoms more vibrantly than you thought possible.





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4 thoughts on “Let Go, Stubborn Vines

  1. Because of my failing vision, (due to diabetes), I struggle to read or write (type) more than a few lines . . . . . but as with the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, I knew there would be some gold at the end of your story and I wanted to find it. So I enlarged my screen by 250% and started to read. You captured my attention from the start. As I neared the end I could see the gold appearing and I wasn’t disappointed. We all can learn a valuable life lesson from your written words. It’s so inspiring to see someone I know using the talents that God blessed them with and He blessed you with many. Keep on keeping on and may God bless you.

  2. So very true. A great discription of a Christian walk. It is so easy to be entangled with the world. While we may still portray a beauty, our walk is not as fragrant as it would be if we were pruned by the living word. Pruning hurts. Straightening out the twisted things thing of life, is never easy. But in the end it produces patience, a love for the hand that untwisted the things that held us from all we could be. Glad I read this! It was meant to be!

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