What if quitting could be the best decision of your life? I read an article a while back by Bob Goff on how to live and love well. There were many radical, but brilliant, ideas presented. One of them was a little too radical for me though, and it’s been rolling around in my head ever since.
Mr. Goff said that every week, he cuts something from his life. Quits. Not just bad things either. He quits good things. (Like giving to a humanities organization..) Maybe he’s on to something. It is a great example of the important role detox plays in life, though.
We humans tend to let responsibilities, thoughts, and habits build up. This is a problem because even the “best quality” buildup still adds weight and makes life tough. It can also make it almost impossible to say yes to new opportunities. To say yes to one thing, you must say no to another thing.
The same goes for the mental, activities, and even the physical world. Since the Fall, this earth we call home is increasingly full of toxins. Our bodies absorb these toxins and they build up. Left un-dealt with, they will bring about sickness.
To live life to the full, some things must be removed, and other things must die. We humans are not invincible or all powerful, so we can only handle so much stuff in our lives. We will enjoy life and be able to give more freely when we have been keeping it lives “clean.”
So what is it that needs to be removed for you? What needs to die so that you can continue moving forward? What buildup of emotion do you need to work through?
Today I said goodbye to my little succulent. This story started a few years ago. A friend gave me an orchid for my birthday and it was beautiful for about two weeks. From there it was all downhill. I ended up throwing out a dry stalk over a year later. No more plants were purchased for quite a while (and my friend decided it was best give me gifts I couldn’t kill) so I wore my identity as a plant killer. When I started the rough treatment for Lyme disease, my parents were so kind to give me a celebratory bouquet for every month completed. The flowers brightened my dark perspective on life and brought happiness. More important, they survived very well.
The cut flowers did whither after a few weeks, though. which was fine at first. As the months went by, and I said goodbye to more and more flowers, I desired something more permanent. So the chosen one-more-month-of-treatment-done gift was a real plant with roots. A succulent to be exact. Many other plants have been adopted since that day and I’m glad to say most of them are doing well. All except the succulent.
That little succulent had been fighting a disease since the first week I brought it home. For months I kept caring for it hoping, hoping it would get better. Have you ever wanted something to work out so badly that you just kept pushing even when you knew in your heart it just wasn’t going to be? Some say pushing onward when the going gets tough is a good thing, but I’d say it depends on the context. For example, in looking for a job, giving up is not the best idea. Or in seeking God, if you continue you are promised an answer. On the other hand, there’s my succulent. I wanted him to live so badly. The act of throwing him in the trash was painful;I wanted to wait until there was absolutely no possible chance that it would recover. But it needed to be disposed of for the sake of my other plants (not to mention that at this point it was probably just going to rot on my dresser).
My beautiful Dalia.
The growing Aloe Vera.
Knowing what to let go of when is hard. Holding onto every little plant (or person, or hobby, or activity, or profession, or dream, etc.) until it has completely died would make for a life full of slow deaths. Be brave enough to let go of what needs to die.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it does, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life losses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” John 12:24-25