• Debbie Salter Goodwin

A Time to Uproot


I’m a weeder. I love to attack a stretch of garden, preferably following a good rain, and weed it clear of unwanted growth. I weed on my knees using my faithful handgrip weeder. No stand-up weeder for me. I like to be as close to my enemy as possible. When I identify the intruder, I dig my weeder down deep where the roots are, loosen the dirt grip around them, and pull it out roots and all. There’s something cathartic about this uprooting because I know I am making space for something better to grow.

In my life it’s not so easy. Uprooting is painful, time-consuming, and sometimes downright agony, especially if you’re getting ready to move. That’s what’s happening in my life. We are moving out of the house we have lived in, dreamed in, enjoyed for the last fourteen years, longer than any other house we’ve lived in. I am uprooting our lives, room by room, closet by closet, drawer by drawer, box by stored box. I have sorted memories and divided our past into piles for give-away, Good Will, garage sale, trash, and keeping. It has been messy, fatiguing, and emotionally grueling work.

Removing good things that have served you well is difficult. It is hard to know when it’s time to do the uprooting. We don’t like taking away something good before we know what is to replace it. It’s the work of faith and obedience. That’s why it’s important. It helps you listen to the One who knows where you’ve been, where you are, and where you need to be. God is a Life Coach like no other. He won’t lead you into a dead end, but he doesn’t promise life on a cruise ship either!

Insecurity, fear, comfort are our enemies when it is time to uproot. They come out full force. The ability to hear God’s steady, gentle, life-building instructions in the midst of them can take us to the same desert where Jesus was tempted. Questioning voices with pointy fingers saying, "Are you sure you have to . . .?"

The issue is not whether you can make a case for staying put or keeping something you carefully planted. The issue is whether it is time to uproot, clear out your growing space, move forward according to God’s direction.

When my house was staged to sell, it was no longer my house. It was important to remove everything that made it mine so that someone else could make it theirs. Isn’t that a metaphor that describes what happens when we come to God? He helps us clear out everything that does not belong to the way He wants us to live. He helps us uproot anything that does not bring His abundance, His rest, His hope, or His love. We empty our lives with bold uprooting so that we can be filled with fullness of God. Then, a time to uproot is hopeful work, God-ordered work, new life work.

Amazon.com doesn’t sell an easy-grip life weeder for a time to uproot. But God sends His Spirit of Truth to be the prod, the root finder, the uprooter, if we let Him. He helps us remove what has no place in the life God wants to grow in us.

If it is time to uproot, pay attention. It means God is getting you ready for something beautiful, satisfying, need-meeting, something only He can dream up for you to enjoy. Don’t lose heart. A time to uproot is clearing the way for a time to plant. It’s part of the rhythm.


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