Are you rotting at your roots? - Chriselle Lees-Thomas

Chriselle writes on pruning, repotting and rotting expand on The Vine and The Branches to encourage us to look deeper inwards. What beliefs may we be holding onto deep down?

I’m a bit of a novice plant lover. The type of person who has plants in their house and they die from time to time (I don’t usually know how) and so I replace them and start again. 

Only recently did I start to pay more attention to my plants and repotted all of them - which is actually quite a soothing experience if you’re looking for something to add to your self-care routine. I mostly did this because a friend of mine had started to take more care of her plants and I saw the difference it made, so I followed suit. 

As I potted some new plants and repotted some I’ve had for a while, I noticed the roots of my plants were actually dead and had been rotting over a period of time. I hadn’t been paying attention, or more honestly, didn’t know what to look for in my plants that signified something was wrong at the roots. The signs that I did notice I paid no attention to because I thought they were normal. 

The Vine and the Branches

John 15: 1-8 says: 

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

This is one of my absolute favourite passages. One I think about, talk about and relate to a lot. When we put ourselves in this passage, what do we see? Do we see fruitfulness? Is it seemingly good or are we deceived?

If we think of ourselves like a branch, a plant or a tree - what is at your roots? What are the subconscious beliefs that inform the way you feel, think and live? 

Recently I went on a course called Soul Tour (if you haven’t done the 6 day course I truly encourage you to do so, it will change your life). Before going on the course, I thought I was managing fine in life. My fruitfulness felt good, there was pruning here and there to make it better and I was overall functioning well. But what I didn’t realize is the core fundamental subconscious beliefs that I have (called king lies) had been working their way up my roots through my beliefs to my feelings, thoughts and actions. 

I had been letting myself rot from my roots without actually realizing the impact it had on me holistically. This is because the things that had been happening, like the signs I chose to ignore from the plants, were seemingly normal and utterly human. Everyone gets emotional, offended, wounded or lonely right? 

Well yes. But we actually don’t have to live that way.

Diagnosing our disease 

We have been conditioned to believe lies that subconsciously control our lives and push us further from the truth. The lie that I believe my survival is up to me ultimately makes me live like I must do it all on my own, that people aren’t trustworthy, and that I always have to be in control. So utterly untrue and really impossible too. But until I actually addressed the king lie I was believing, I would continue to live in such a way that fed into the roots, diseasing them, making my growth stunt and rotting my fruit. 

I would have gone on oblivious if I didn’t have someone in my life call me out. I would have left my plants to rot if I didn’t listen to my friend who was repotting hers. It’s when it comes down to the painful stuff that love really truly stands. 

Psalm 1:1-3 says: 

1 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, 2 but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night. 3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.

When we are planted next to the streams of water - of living water that can only come from God - we will prosper. We will live in bloom and yield fruit. When storms come, our deep roots will help us to stand strong, informed by the living truth that we know and trust. We will grow on the truth in the firm foundations of who God says we are.

Here are some of my favourite verses that affirm who we are in Him: 

Ephesians 2:10

I am God’s workmanship, created in Christ unto good works. 

2 Corinthians 5:20

I am an ambassador for Christ

1 Peter 2:9

I am part of a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people.

Romans 1:7; Ephesians 2:4; Colossians 3:12; 1 Thessalonians 1:4

I am greatly loved by God. 

1 John 5:18

I am born of God, and the evil one does not touch me. 

Colossians 2:10

I am complete in Him Who is the Head of all principality and power.


As you go about your day, from whatever season in your life you may be reading this, may you feel the gentle nudge to look deeper into yourself. I urge you to remain teachable - consistently transformed by the renewal of your mind (Romans 12:2). Notice your reactions, notice your thoughts, notice your feelings. They don’t happen by accident. May you be intentional about repotting to prune the roots that have ultimately been resulting in destruction in your life. May you have the grace and humility to know that you are made for so much more. 

John 15:16:

16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.

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