Monday, June 10, 2013

~ Pulling Weeds and Cleaning your Yard ~

It happens to us all, at one time or another in our life.  We become depressed or allow pride to consume us. The tragic event that occurred in our life becomes more than we can handle. We feel lonely or angry because of a recent break-up or maybe we just become tired of life.  Regardless of what we encounter, if we allow it to manifest inside of us for too long, it will grow into something bigger and bigger, like weeds in a yard.

The weeds in our life do not grow overnight, but usually over a season. It typically begins with allowing a small thing to be planted within us.  It could be making an acception of a behavior we typically don't allow.  It could be turning a blind eye to something we know we should speak up about.  It could be getting stuck in a funk of some sort that we choose not to come out of.  As we continue to nourish it little by little it continues to grow and it's root begins to dwell within us. As we continue to water it, it grows larger and out of control. Before we realize it's there; the bad relationship, drug or alcohol addiction, our love of money or status, the new job that takes us away from our family, co-dependency, eating disorders, habitual lying, anger, sex addictions, whatever it may be, it's roots have taken residency in our life. 

It's growth can be so subtle that we aren't even aware of how big and out of control it has become until it's reveals itself as interference someway in our life, or when someone close to us has brings it to our attention.

This past weekend I spend three hours pulling weeds in my backyard.  This is something I hate doing.  Not because it's laboring, but because of the little critters that surround the weeds - BUGS.  These tiny bugs (some big) prevent me from getting my hands dirty and doing the work necessary to rid the problem.  I allow the bugs to become powerful guards of the weeds.

Isn't that what happens with addictions and bad habits?  In order to get rid of them, we have to get our hand dirty? We have to put effort into it?  We have to go to the root of the problem, which usually causes us to dig through the bugs of our life. Believe it or not, we all have bugs that stand in the way of us getting to the root. 

For many of us, we don't like the discomfort that comes along with that so we usually pretend there isn't a problem.  We pretend to be happy, that life is okay until life becomes unmanageable. How many times have we told ourselves, I can handle it.  I'll never let it get out of control, yet it does?  We tell ourselves, It's not that big of a deal and I'll deal with it next week, and then something occurs and it gets pushed back to next month, next year and before we know it, it's gotten so large it seems impossible to clean up?

I'll tell you something - It's never too late to clean up our yard and those bugs are never too big to overcome. 

As I looked at my yard, I had to come up with a plan of attack.  I began with protecting my mind (through prayer) and asked for support (from God).  Next, I laid out a blueprint of how I would take on this massive chore.  I looked at all the weeds and sectioned the yard into pieces so I would not become overwhelmed.  As I progressed in removing them, because the way I sectioned off the area instead of just randomly pulling here and there with no set goal, I was able to visually see my progress.  I also started in an area where the weeds were smaller rather than attacking the large, scary looking ones first. 

Sometimes this is the approach we must take, start small.  Usually with any new challenge fear comes along with it. Starting small and building up to attack the bigger, scarier obstacles is a good way to go about something that may seem impossible to overcome.  In the process you mentally and physically develop the strength to attack the bigger obstacle and you are also more willing to accept help from others as you get to those bigger weeds.

This was the case for me.  As I reached the last section, I knew I was almost done and I rallied support in my daughter.  She had seen what I had achieved and she graciously offered her support by helping me with the strongest and scariest looking weeds.  I was fatigued, my back was aching, my hands were shaking, and my legs were tired from squatting, so her support in my weakness was exactly what I needed.  In the obstacles of life, the support of friends and family are very important in our times of weakness.

 ~ Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered,two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. ~ 
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 

Looking back on my weekend task I reflected on how how I allowed certain things in my life to grow out of control like weeds.  It began with giving in to a something small and planting the seed.  As I continued the behaviors and habits, made exceptions to things I knew were not of good character or moral standing and continued to water them, I gave them life to grow.  When it finally took root in my life, it felt near impossible to remove because I didn't think I had the tools to get to the root of the issues.  With focus, support and a plan of attack, I've been on a  journey to digging out the roots that have had a hold on my life for so long.

When it comes to weeds, one thing is for sure, the more weeds, the stronger they are. I had to search thoroughly to find where they were growing from. As I pulled and tugged, many were intertwined with one another, and seemed like they had became one.  As I pulled, there were some that I could not get by the root as they snapped at the top of the soil because the root was too strong and deep. 

This is similar to some of the characteristics and behaviors we possess.  I don' think we truly rid ourselves of selfishness, rudeness, pride, envy, lust, etc, because they are part of our sinful nature, but there are some behaviors and addictions we can destroy and remove before they have the opportunity to take root in our heart and life.  For those that are part of our nature, if we continue to work on removing them we won't give them the prospect to grow out of control and take root in our life.  Although, they exist they remain dormant.

My three hour task turned into three hours of mediation with God filled with joy and peace. Only through the presence and company of Him could I have accomplished this task and overcome my fear of the big bad bugs! I spent this time worshiping, praising and thanking Him for where I've been, what I've overcome and where I'm headed. This time inspired me to write this blog and reflect on the importance of taking care of my yard.  I must begin with removing the things that hinder it's growth and encompass my heart, mind and soul with healthy nutrients of fertilizer, which is my life in community with others, water which is accepting the love and grace of God and spiritual food which is the Word of God through daily reading of my bible.  All of these applications, along with a strong prayer life, will help me spiritually grow and produce the fruit of the spirit. 

~When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.~ 
Galatians 5:19- 25

Today my body is sore from my finger tips to my feet.  It serves as a reminder of how hard I had to work to clean up my yard because I had let it get out of control for so long - an entire season.  It reminds me that I must continuously maintain my yard, removing the weeds before they take root.  I will still have to work hard to keep it healthy, but it won't be as painful and strenuous. 

Today, I choose to plant the seeds that will grow a root of God in my heart

~ I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. ~ 
Ephesians 3:16-19



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