A few evenings ago I found myself in a rare situation, I actually had an hour of ‘free’ time before my Uber services for the kids were needed again for the twelfth time that day. It was a perfect summer night an hour before dusk. The sun was lowering and the subtle breeze had shifted slightly cool. The neighborhood streets were quieting as the kids were being called inside to wash off the leftover sunscreen, smears of sidewalk chalk and grass stained knees before bedtime.
The early evening sounds of the crickets drew me outside to the yard as the daylight slowly faded. Barefoot in the grass, I glanced around the yard and was immediately embarrassed. My flower beds were being completely overtaken by weeds. As I walked closer for further inspection, I wondered how many times my neighbors noticed my lacking green thumb and hoped it read as ‘overtired mom to busy to notice’.
I headed to the garage, grabbed my gloves and tools needed to assist the salvaging of the neglected yard and headed to the mulch bed. I knelt down, sighed deeply and literally dug in.
“How long has it been since I took the time to weed?” I wondered as I searched for the root of the unidentified foreigner I had just pulled. My jam-packed summer was not only showing up in the endless laundry I had been rotating in and out of packed and unpacked suitcases but also in my flower beds. I wondered what my life would look like if weeding was a task near the top of my list instead of forgotten altogether?
I diligently wrapped my way around the house as my pile of pulled compost grew. Some areas were so overgrown I wasn’t sure if I was pulling small shrubbery or weeds. After a humbling confirmation from a neighbor, it was deemed ‘weed’ and pulled with the amount of force needed to push a stalled out vehicle to the side of the road.
As I assessed and pulled my way through the flower beds, I wondered what areas of my life were overgrown with weeds that I had neglected to consistently remove? Pulling weeds is tedious, isn’t it? It’s thankless work that only goes noticed once it’s been overlooked. Sometimes we need others in our life to gently expose our actions and thought life we read as ‘flower’ that is actually an overgrown weed.
I began to think about the energy it takes daily to weed out my negative thoughts, impatient tone and selfish ways. At first it’s overwhelming, but as you continually shift your gaze to the flowers your mindset shifts and the weeds begin to die off. We move in the direction of our most dominate thought, and then birthed out of consistency, momentum begins to take over.
How do we know what we should focus on? What blooms should we desire more of? Phillippians 4:8 gives us a great gauge, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
What ‘weeds’ need to be pulled from your life? What neighbor can help you distinguish overgrown areas? What ‘flowers’ do you desire more of? Thankfully our Masterful Gardener is a patient teacher, full of grace and forgiveness. He never tires of redirecting us and always offers a fresh start.