This morning the weather was not as hot and miserable as it has been, so I got out my clippers and headed to the garden. My tomato plants have been neglected while I was off on my trip to beautiful New York State visiting my son and daughter-in-law and her family, and I needed to see what could be salvaged.
Each year when we plant tomatoes, Keith and I have the sucker debate. Suckering a tomato plant means you pinch off the little stem that starts to grow in the “V” of the larger branch. The merits of suckering are that you get fewer tomatoes that are hopefully larger, as opposed to having a bushier plant that yields more, but smaller ones. Keith is strongly pro-suckering while I tend toward the anti-suckering side, preferring to let the plant do its own thing. This probably says something about our personalities, which I won’t go into right now, but we have learned to live with our differences in this area.
Due to my anti-suckering stance, the plants had gotten pretty wild and unruly and needed to be corralled in. So, although I hate to cut branches off, today I had to be strong and clip off the yellowing and dead limbs that were spread throughout the plants. After they were thinned out, I tied the remaining branches up around the tomato stakes with my twine.
A few tomato flowers have come out and I want to make sure that the plants’ energy is going towards making tomatoes, instead of being wasted on branches that are half dead. I’ve learned that energy flow is important in growing things. When I transplant day lilies, I cut back their fans so that the energy will go downward toward the roots, not upward to the greenery. I try to keep weeds out of the garden so that they won’t block my plants from getting the energy they need from the sun. I pinch back the dead flowers on my butterfly bush so that the new growth gets the nutrients.
This morning as I cleared out the debris from the tomato plants, I couldn’t help but think about the things that take away my energy. Circumstances in my life that I cannot change, mistakes I’ve made in the past, actions of others that make me mad—all of these are energy drainers. The older I get the less energy I have, so I can’t afford to waste any!
Like the tomato plants, my energy sometimes goes toward trying to revive a dead or diseased part of my life instead of towards growing the healthy parts. If possible, I try to get rid of energy drainers, such as negative people, too much social media, or television that drags me down—but we cannot always lop off parts of our lives that are unhealthy. Family or job situations often must be lived with and handled the best way possible. But we can make the choice of how much energy we spend on these parts that keep us from being our best selves.
One of my favorite verses is John 10:10, when Jesus says:
The thief does not come, except to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
The energy drainers in our lives are like the thief Jesus talks about. They steal our joy and our strength and will eventually kill us if not dealt with. I have found that only through turning these problems over to Jesus and asking his help in not letting them overwhelm me do I find peace. And that peace energizes me!
What do you need to ask God to help you with today that is sapping your energy?