I’ve recently been reflecting on the importance of “roots.” And by roots, I mean people, places and purposes that you are deeply connected to; the relationships, communities and commitments that you are rooted into that provide a rhythm and focus for your life.
I’ve been thinking about this for a number of reasons, mostly because we’ve just been “uprooted” and are trying to put down new “roots” here.
When we first walked into our new house, the first thing our wonderful middle child said was, “Daddy, we are living here forever right?!!” What Asher was trying to figure out, in his 3-year-old way, was whether we were putting down roots here. We had just spent the past six weeks bouncing around from place to place, and he wanted to know if this was the place we would grow roots.
And, roots are incredibly important in life. My friend, Ian Wood, has a saying that we should “be the palm tree.” What he means by this is that we should have roots that keep us grounded, but be flexible so that we don’t break.
And, I think that’s a great picture for all of us to think about. Do you have roots? Do you have people in your life who really, really know you? Do you have a place – a church, a community, a support network – who not only knows you, but loves you? Are you growing too brittle? Are you changing, but still rooted?
Because in a world in flux, being rooted is what will provide you with life.
The Bible puts it this way in Jeremiah 29:5 – God says, “Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce.”
God essentially says to the Israelites, who are in exile, to plant some roots. Being in exile means they have been displaced, and they are transplanted into a new world. Their lives are in flux. And, the key to surviving and thriving in a world that is in flux, is to plant some roots.
I think that this is incredibly relevant to our world today.
So many of us feel in flux and disconnected. We feel pressured this way and that way. And, what I think God is saying to us is simple – plant some roots; build a home out of your house; plan to stay; grow in the place you are.
Asher asked me, “Are we living here forever?” and we probably won’t live where we are forever…because, well, that’s kinda long. But, we are putting down deep roots here. We are building our house into a home. We are getting connected to our church and to our community. We are planting gardens and planning to stay. Because roots matter, and give you stability and life when things are in flux.
So, for you today, what might it look like to put down some roots? Do you have good friends who truly know you or do you need to invest there? Are you known in a community and church that can help ground you throughout all the ups and downs? How are you planning on staying and investing in the place you are, rather than just passing through? Because roots not only give you stability and life, they give it to others as well.
So, as Ian says, “Be the palm tree, plant some roots, plan to stay and grow awhile, and see what God might do.”