My dog was excited to find a snake in the house last week. I wasn’t – which has nothing whatever to do with this post, except that it finally got me outside. (A lobster slowly cooking in a steam pot cannot feel much worse than I do in the Florida heat.) Anyway, if you’ve ever read the first three chapters of Genesis, you won’t be surprised that God showed up in my garden.
The tag line of this blog declares that I am “looking for God everywhere,” and that includes my own driveway. While weeding a border of jasmine plantings on several consecutive mornings, I asked God to show me areas of my life that could use a good culling. When I finally got to the end of the bed, I turned to look back, hoping for the satisfaction of a job well done. But, to my dismay, I found that I could still see tufts of grass and patches of dollar weed that I had missed. So the next morning, I crawled back through the whole border again. I thought it would take five minutes and result in a few little tendrils. I was wrong:
That’s when it occurred to me that I need to go back over some of the ground I’ve already weeded in my own soul. There are good reasons to do this, and they are the same reasons I have to keep weeding my garden:
- New weeds grow all the time. They seem to spring up out of thin air, like some sins I know. Just because I had a good handle on my thought-life a year ago doesn’t mean I still do.
- Sometimes the weeds masquerade as valuable plants, and I miss them. Sometimes activity pretends to be rest or insensitivity is disguised as truth-telling. You get the idea.
- Maybe I didn’t get the roots the first time. If I simply change a habit, whatever motivated it in the first place will probably come out sideways somewhere else. Anyone who has tried to quit an addiction soon learns this principle, but it applies to everyone.
- There are a few weeds that I am afraid to pull. I see them, but a bee or a thistle or some other hazard keeps me away from them. I tell myself I’ll get to them later, but I usually don’t. It is often the case in life that some problem looks too big to take on, and so it gets passed it over. It takes revisiting, looking at it from another angle or enlisting some help.
- I just can’t see all the weeds every time. Not only are humans limited and fallible, but God is gracious enough to give us only what we can handle at the present moment. And He’s gracious enough to give us the next batch the next time.
So maybe you want to look back down your driveway and engage with God in a little productive re-weeding. You could start a journal page or a computer file titled “Weeds,” and just see where it leads you. You could take a look at one particular area of your life, like extended family or business or parenting or leisure, for example. But once you’ve finished, don’t forget that it will soon need to be done again!
Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.
Now, I wonder if it’s safe to go back in my house…?
Here’s another take on weeding your garden: http://www.familylife.com/articles/topics/faith/essentials/growing-in-your-faith/pulling-weeds-from-the-garden-of-our-lives
I couldn’t find a legitimate copy of Kim Hill’s old song, “Watch for Snakes in the Grass” (you can find it on YouTube, but she didn’t post it). In lieu of that, I found this song about a garden which is not so applicable, but I have to share it because I think it’s gorgeous: http://youtu.be/Ovei4ztEtfs