Disconnecting Negative Branches

Uncategorized Jan 11, 2024

Disconnecting Negative Branches

I’m still contemplating that severed tree limb. You know, the one blown off the tree by a storm? Last week, I thought about how life gradually drained from that limb. The leaves turned from vibrant green to brown. I thought about it from the perspective of how disconnection leads to death and how that principle applies to our relationships, our careers, and our spirituality.

Now, I return to the tree limb because I’ve recognized how it demonstrates another life principle. But this application relates to the tree rather than the limb. Disconnection produces death. I thought about the disconnected tree limb as an illustration of areas of our lives that become disconnected from the source of life and die; as a result, I also recognized that the tree limb could illustrate negative things that need disconnecting from our lives.

A good tree branch produces energy for the tree. The leaves are food-making factories that turn sunshine and carbon dioxide into energy and life stored in the tree trunk. The tree expends a certain amount of energy, keeping the branch alive and connected, but in return, the tree receives food and energy from the branch.

Some things in life are like that, too. They produce life and energy for us. A behavior or a habit can be a source of energy. Exercise is a good example of this. Consistent exercise will give us more energy. Or perhaps wisely saving and investing our finances is an example of a behavior that can produce provision and increase for us and our families. 

But other behaviors take more from us than what they produce. Unlike a healthy tree branch, negative behaviors take energy or money to maintain, but they do not replenish health or wealth back to us. Poor eating habits, laziness, impulse spending, etc., take more from us than they give. They are like branches that produce no energy for the tree.

Relationships with people can be a great source of life and strength. But relationships with the wrong people, or even poor relationships with the right people, can steal our energy and drain us. Maybe you have found this to be true as I have: relationships with some people work like batteries while relationships with other people work like generators. That is, some people drain my energy while others generate more energy for me.

The point is we need to prune some things from our lives. Some negative tree branches need to be knocked away from us by a strong wind. It is not difficult to identify what habits, behaviors, or relationships I need to let go of if I'm being honest with myself. A good time of prayer, introspection, and meditating on Scripture can highlight things I need to prune from my life. The difficult task is not identifying which branches need to go. The difficulty is in achieving genuine disconnection from those things.

The dead tree branch reminded me what genuine disconnection looks like. The branch could take nothing from the tree, even though it was lying nearby. It had been completely cut off. 

That is what it looks like when we genuinely remove a bad habit, a negative behavior, or a toxic relationship from us. Disconnection from bad habits does not mean we change the intensity of the bad actions. Fundamental disconnection is a total break. Disconnection from negative behaviors does not reduce the number of times we engage in those behaviors. Disconnection is a total break. Disconnection from toxic relationships does not mean that we break away from unhealthy interactions except for specific occasions. Disconnection is a total break.

Have you ever decided to lay down a bad habit or behavior and found yourself negotiating with yourself? “Maybe I can still engage in those actions sometimes, just not all the time.” Or what about toxic relationships? “I know I should not become involved again with this person, but it won’t be that bad just once more.”

I thought about these things as I contemplated the tree limb. When it comes to negative branches that take more than they give and steal more life than they produce, those branches must be truly severed and removed. Cut those limbs off completely. The new year is a great time to take inventory of this.


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