I was weeding a row of green beans a couple of weeks ago. As I pulled out unwanted plants and threw them into the rubbish pile I smiled at how God shows Himself in the most everyday and mundane chores. Aren’t we all called to “weed” within our own lives at times. Victory Ludwig popped into my mind. She was willing to write for the blog, but needed an assignment. I thought, “How silly would she think me if I called her up and said, ‘Weeding! Write about weeding!’.” I gave up the thought then and there. But over the next couple of days I couldn’t stop thinking of weeding and Victory. So I finally wrote my Facebook pen pal and told her I wanted her my random assignment. I think it was two days later I had image and post in my inbox ready and waiting. Thank you, Victory, for being willing.
When asked to write an entry about “weeding” – my first thought was “what on earth do I have to share about gardening?” I do not have a green thumb by any stretch of the imagination. I am actually currently carrying my own personal record for length of time of keeping a cute houseplant alive. It sits outside my front door and it is a minor miracle that it is still green and as cute as the day I planted it, just a few months ago. I’ve even killed succulents… Isn’t that supposed to be impossible? I digress…
This whole gardening business is somewhat foreign to me. However, just this past weekend, my daughter and I transplanted a lemon tree from our backyard to our front yard. So far, so good. It’s still alive. And then she got an inkling to plant a little garden in the backyard. (Really?) I have “realistic” hopes for it actually producing, but it was a learning experience nonetheless. And she is excited, and we got some quality time together, so that sounds like a win-win to me!! That being said, as I sat down to write this, it struck me that the timing of this was perfect. I wasn’t deep in thought as we were trying to uproot the lemon tree, or clear the small area where she laid her precious little seeds, but now as I reflect back, I am struck by the spiritual lesson at my fingertips, literally.
Weeds take over. They strangle life. By definition, a weed is a plant that is not valued where it is growing and is usually of vigorous growth; one that tends to overgrow or choke out more desirable plants. Weeds creep in quickly. Sometimes they are easy to rip out, other times they take some serious muscle power. The longer we leave them alone, the harder it is to uproot them, and the more they tend to multiply.
So, spiritually speaking, what is a weed? In my opinion, it is anything that creeps in and begins to suck life away from us. It can look like a good thing (like a cute bright yellow little dandelions), or it can be ugly and easily identified as a weed. The first step is to see what it is that we need to pull out. Let’s not try to hide behind a cute little blossom and hope that other people think it was intentionally planted in our garden. We need to see the things in our lives which are not valued and choking out the more desirable. James 1:15 says, “…when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.” We are called to be vigilant in fighting the strongholds of sin in our lives. We are also called to walk in the Spirit and in doing so, we can overcome the things that easily entangle us. “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 5:24-25)
In my own life, I long for the self-awareness to see that in my life which does not belong. And a huge part of that is the community with which I surround myself. I want friends around me who will truly be iron sharpening iron, and will help me when the roots are deep and it hurts when they are yanked out. I also want friends who will speak the truth to me, lovingly challenging me when I need a little spring cleaning in my spiritual walk. I realize that we all have different walks, and the routes we’ve taken to get to today are varying in every way imaginable. I also know that we serve a huge God who is never-changing and whose love is never-ending. I want Him to tend to my garden, to feed the parts of me that are blossoming into who He made me to be, meanwhile hacking away at the parts of me that are detrimental to my overall health. There is something to be said, as well, about my part in it. We do not get to play a passive role and just let Him do all the cleaning up. Hebrews 12:1 tells us that we are active participants, “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…”
Let’s run – let’s fight the good fight, and let’s finish strong. In full bloom.