“Your garden is beautiful,” I told her. “People tell me that,” she replied. “But I think they’re just being nice. When I look at it, I see areas that need more mulch and it’s definitely overdue for a weeding.”
Her front yard was a riot of colour from all the flowers in bloom. The peonies alone were spectacular!
This woman was focusing on a few flaws and missed the colourful display everyone else saw.
I realized that most of us, myself included, do the same with our lives. It is difficult for us to accept a compliment because we are always thinking of our less than perfect aspects. We try desperately to hide the weeds in our lives. “Don’t look too closely,” we think.
Another friend and I had recently had a discussion about the need to celebrate our accomplishments rather than focus on what didn’t go according to plan.
In essence, we tend to neglect the flowers and tend to the weeds. There is something very wrong with this picture.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying to let our weeds grow strong and tall. They need to be kept under control, just not at the expense of enjoying life’s fragrant blooms.
I’ve had a productive couple of days and choose to celebrate by spending time with a cold drink and a good book. What are you doing to cultivate the garden of your life?
Spring takes a long time to arrive in Southern Alberta. When it finally arrives, it makes up for lost time. In the span of a week, the trees were full of leaves and brightly coloured blossoms. The lawn was lush and green and we could practically watch it grow. The other sure sign of spring is the profusion of dandelions.
The bright yellow flowers are a favourite for young children to pick. They look so pretty that it’s hard to remember that they are weeds. When the flower dies, the plant produces seeds. Dandelions can produce up to 20,000 seeds which are blown by the wind, landing somewhere they can germinate and grow. Left unchecked, a few dandelions can quickly spread.
I may follow all measures to rid my lawn of dandelions, but if my neighbours do not do the same, I will be faced with many more of these weeds in the future.
The same is true in my life. I know the things I need to do to keep my life running smoothly. Slowly I have let little weeds enter, feeling that they are small enough to not cause problems. Once I allow them to take hold, they put down roots, spread their seeds and multiply. Soon my life is overrun and I’m left wondering what happened.
Jesus plants only good, fruitful seeds in my life. My responsibility is to nurture these seeds and not to allow the weeds to choke them out. By walking closely with Jesus, I can eliminate the weeds and live the fruitful life that he has planned for me.
“Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.” Matthew 13:23 NKJV
This post first appeared on my blog in June 2014
A heavy rain had fallen overnight. We woke up to the promise of a brighter day and headed outside to breathe in the fresh, clean air that follows a summer rain.
While the ground was still damp, my husband started pulling weeds that had sprung up in our flower beds. I tackled the ones growing between the paving stones. It didn’t take long to appreciate the difference damp soil makes.
When I gently tugged, the entire root of the weed emerged from the ground. I was happy to know my efforts were eliminating the problem and not just a temporary solution.
Previous weeding experience hadn’t gone as well. When the ground was dry, often only the portion above ground broke off. Things would look better for a short time until the root produced new growth and the weed once again became visible. Hard, unyielding soil gives those kinds of results.
The analogy was not lost on me. When my attitude is hard and unyielding, the root of bitterness and discontent grows. I may be able to hide it for a short time, but it keeps reappearing.
Jesus is the master gardener who is able to get to the root of the problem. His tender loving care softens my heart so the once flourishing roots of my unhealthy behaviour can be eliminated.
When I submit fully to Jesus, there is no risk of one of these roots being left behind. He is the one who can probe to the depths of my heart, remove my sins, and give me a clean start.
“Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight. Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin.” (Romans 4: 7-8 NLT)
I did a double-take. What I was seeing didn’t seem right, but there it was. A weed was poking up in the middle of some artificial grass!
The turf had an open weave backing to allowing moisture to drain through. The weed took advantage of an area it could work its way through and was now in plain view. I wonder how long it persevered, working its way towards the light of day.
I saw this weed as an analogy of the bad habits in my life. They may be hidden from view for quite some time, but eventually, will work their way to the surface. Without warning, they will break through and become visible for all to see.
My intention is to keep you from seeing these. That’s why I covered the unflattering things with an artificial layer in the first place. Although I pretend what is hidden doesn’t exist, I know that sooner or later the truth will come to light and I’ll have to deal with it.
When it does, will I quickly cover it up to keep growing or will I remove the problem at its root? The first option is a temporary solution. It may seem easier to start with but I’ll always be wondering where and when those nasty weeds will pop up again.
The second option takes more work initially. I need to be willing to peel back the perfect looking surface and do some hard digging. Only then can I get to the root of the problem. If it’s more than I can deal with on my own, I may even need to enlist some help.
My peace of mind won’t return until the weed is eliminated. It’s time for me to get my hands dirty and start digging. How do you deal with the weeds in your life?
“I don’t want to be overdramatic about it, but I’m starting to see a lot of my bad habits get the best of me.” Ben Gibbard