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A hummingbird just zoomed in for a quick sip from a dark purple bloom of my butterfly bush.  The flower spikes exude a warm-honey aroma that draws butterflies, bees, and dragonflies, as well as the tiny radiant birds. The large shrub dominates a corner of our deck; I didn’t prune it as hard as usual this year.

This particular plant’s ability to thrive under varied and difficult conditions has made it popular in landscaping. However, it tends to grow unchecked along highways and crowd out native plants, earning it the unwelcome distinction of being added to the “invasive species” list in our state.

While I love the colorful spikes and the heavy fragrance, it’s a plant that requires persistent attention to keep it manageable. In winter I usually cut it back knee-high; by mid-summer it can easily tower more than ten feet. I need to frequently cut off dried brown spikes to keep it blooming and looking fresh. The lower branches require repeated pruning to keep them away from Larry’s lawn mower.   It’s definitely a plant that flourishes, but also threatens to overpower the rest of the landscape.

Often life requires similar attention. Seemingly ordinary aspects of life can dominate or threaten to overpower if we’re not aware of how large something can grow, or how much vigilance it might need, Occasionally hard pruning is necessary; at other times, something may need to be eradicated and added to the banned, “invasive species” list.

It’s a challenge to keep life’s landscape in balance. I’m grateful for the guidance of the Word and the Holy Spirit to help me know what to maintain and what to uproot.