No, as much as I loved their music, this post won’t focus on the Grateful Dead band and their fans. Sorry to all the deadheads, but the allusion is unavoidable for a 60s child! As we prepped our house for an overnight visit from my sister, her husband, and her friend, I got the task of “deadheading” our eight Iceberg roses in the front yard. Icebergs produce abundant white roses, flowers that die and need to be pruned for new blooms to blossom. Hence the name “deadheading:” taking some clippers and snipping off all the rose heads now dead.
Three plants cluster into one 5’ by 8’ bush, and I thoroughly worked it, cutting off the visible branches that needed to go, even moving some aside to find targets. After finishing the other bushes, I walked past that first group and saw a branch, sticking up a foot with five deadheads on it. No idea how I’d missed it, so, pulling out my pruners I went back on the attack. 10 more deadhead branches that had escaped my gaze fell to my deadly blade. Yeah, 10. I was a tad embarrassed as I returned to look again at the other bushes. Luckily, no one saw me.
Finally done, heading for the garage to put away the pruner, passing that cursed cluster, I saw another branch, down low. So, another round. This time, 12 more deadhead branches that needed clipping. A total of 22, AFTER I thought I’d got them all.
Then the spiritual hook for today snagged me. We all have deadheads—issues and behaviors and attitudes and actions and habits. Regularly, we need to deadhead ourselves to allow for further spiritual growth. And, thoroughly. I was convinced, after the first pass and the second, that I’d found them all. I could likely walk out right now and find some more.
I like Paul’s pattern in Philippians 3:7, “But whatever WAS to my profit (previously alive roses?) I now consider loss (deadheads?) for the sake of Christ (room for new growth?).” I think Paul knew the human need to regularly survey his life for needed changes, for time to move on to better things.
Kick Starting the Discussion
How often do you evaluate your life spiritually? Do you have a consistent process or time frame? Why or why not? Do you talk to others about their perception of how you’re doing? Sheila and I did that just a week ago, in responses to a brief quiz in our small group Bible study. It hurt in some ways, pruning often does, but we found more help than hurt. Are you aware of areas that need pruning? What are they? What most keeps you from regularly and thoroughly pruning your spiritual life?