It started as this little big-leafed plant growing along the side of our flowerbed. I posted a picture on Facebook, and a neighbor suggested that a bird may have transferred a pumpkin seed from their garden to ours. But the little big-leafed plant grew and grew and GREW. Before we knew it, it had elbowed the zinnias and choked the petunias. My husband corralled it along the edge of the flowerbed, and we waited to see what would develop.
The plant flowered, and one day we spotted a little gourd growing on the vine. I imagined picking lots of little calabashes to decorate my fall table. But none of the other blossoms produced fruit. There was just this one gourd--which grew and grew and GREW into a BIG GOURD (standing at top of photo on right). As did the vine. It grew at least 30 feet long and wrapped itself around our flowerbed, pushing and shoving the daisies and marigolds. Yesterday we decided the monstrous plant had to go. Today the flowerbed looks a lot better.
The plant’s growth and development reminds me of life. We develop this little habit, sort of cute and harmless. For instance, I discovered this sweet and salty trail mix that I just love. I just ate a handful. However, my sweet and salty trail mix contains 11 fat grams in a quarter-cup serving. If I munch it whenever I get a hunger pang, I will eat up my fat gram allowance outside of mealtimes. So I need to manage this habit before, like my vine, it grows out of control. This week I'm jotting down everything I eat, just to keep tabs on my eating habits.
Eating habits affect our health, so it’s good to ask, “Is this habit keeping me healthy or might it cause physical problems?” Some habits, such as a negative attitude, affect our family and our work. Then we need to re-train our minds. We need to learn to see the glass as half full instead of half empty. Harry Truman said, “A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.”
So let’s seize the opportunity to improve our lives. Don’t let monstrous plants, no matter how cute and harmless they seem at first, take over the flowerbed. They say it takes 21 days to break a habit. With God’s help, let’s get weeding.
On another note: I have often suggested to those who receive my blog by e-mail that you leave a comment by hitting "reply." But a friend pointed out that my blog is not set up for me to receive replies. And I certainly don’t want to miss your messages. So to reply to me, click on my name at the bottom of this message, and that will lead you to my blog site with a Comments box. I would love to hear some stories about how you’ve conquered a habit that grew out of control. We all need help and encouragement. (To reply to me personally, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org)
May you have a blessed August,
August 9, 9:30 a.m. – Teaching Sunday school at Port Royal United Methodist Church, including a presentation of the book of Ruth from memory.
August 30, 10 a.m. – Presenting the book of Philippians from memory at Matamoras United Methodist Church (near Port Royal).