"I passed by the field of a sluggard, by the vineyard of a man lacking sense, and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down. Then I saw and considered it; I looked and received instruction." ~ Proverbs 24:30-32 (ESV)
Let's talk a little bit about pruning and weeding.
The purpose of pruning can be to keep a plant healthy, to train it, or even to restrict growth in a certain way/area.
Weeding is necessary to avoid nutrient, water, and space thieves from inhibiting the growth of what you've planted on purpose.
I'll be honest, when I planted my garden this year, I had a crazy hope that by some bizarre miracle, I wouldn't ever have to weed it.
I'm a wild child lover of nature, why not a secret garden style overgrown beauty of a vegetable garden?
At first my excuse was that I didn't know what was showing it's tiny sprouts. Was it actually a weed? Maybe what I had planted and wanted to bear fruit was peeking through the soil seeking light!
(Ignorance... a state of being, perhaps the truth, but not a valid excuse. (Is any excuse, ever, really?))
Then, as it grew I thought, I don't want to uproot the tiny little good seedlings with the weeds, so I don't think I should.
And, they grew...
And, they grew...
And, they grew some more.
At this point, the grass and sage and milkweed and whatever else I couldn't identify were starting to take over. I started to worry about whether or not the weeds might be taking necessary water and nutrients from the soil. Perhaps they might even be starting to choke out the produce I had so lovingly planted, they were certainly beginning to take over their space.
I suspect that was the point at which I started to think a little more like a gardener. (Much like our thinking matures as we become more like Him, no?)
I honestly don't like to see anything die, even weeds. So, it wasn't easy at first.
Can I tell you something?? Grass roots go deep and they're darn stubborn. (That's probably why grassroots organizations have the name they do, and why they tend to stick around. They take serious root.)
And, yes, at this point, when I was pulling a few of those stubborn grass shoots up, I watched my swiss chard start to pull away from the soil a bit, and one or two other things as well.
So, to the Spirit-based non-gardening point...
How often do we do that very same thing in our lives? How often do we avoid the less pleasant tasks, hoping that if we just close our eyes to them, they'll take care of themselves or just go away? How often do we keep something in our lives we know to be unhealthy because we're afraid of losing or damaging something we value?
Sometimes that will happen, we'll lose something, something will take time to heal, but is it really worth keeping the weeds to avoid losing something that probably wasn't intended for us to begin with?
Aren't we asked to be good stewards of what the Good Lord has given us? Of our many blessings?
And, no, there's not always an app for that. Sometimes you just need a good solid human wise counselor. (After/while seeking His answers, of course.)
I pulled up my plant identification app trying to figure out whether what I was looking at was a good thing or not. It identified it as a grapevine.
Alas... I didn't plant any grapes. So, oops.
Humans. Good humans in your life, people you trust for wise counsel, are key.
It's entirely possible that since I'm relatively ignorant of what I was pulling out and tried to stick with dandelions and grass, more or less, that I may well be nurturing something down there that I don't want in my garden.
I suspect that's true of our lives, don't you think?
We encounter something new. We're not sure yet whether it's good for us or not, so we wait a while until we can better identify them.
If we ask for it, God will give us the eyes to see, the discernment to know what should stay and what should go.
But, like those grass shoots, they're so much easier to uproot when they're small, before the root system has begun to take over in the dark places we cannot see.
I recommend we all do our best to pull our weeds early and often... in life and in the garden.
Preparing the soil makes that easier, but perhaps that's a conversation for another time since I'm getting a little longwinded today.
The same goes for pruning, by the way. I hated doing that with our houseplants as a kid, I just didn't want to clip away leaves and vines and branches. It didn't seem right. But, my mother told me to think of it as a good haircut, to think how healthy they'd be after it was over.
Just as with those plants that needed to be trimmed back so they could burst forth with new growth, the areas of our lives need occasional trimming back or weeding out, in order to protect the blessings over which we have been given dominion.
And, yes, this can be any area of life.
You know where it's poking you, just like I do. We can always improve, and I believe the Father honors it when we do. I believe He sees our efforts and gives us a hearty helping hand.
Trust. Surrender. Obey.
The best possible way.
Ooh, this is a doozy of a P.S., it could probably grow into its own blog post, but I'm going to hand it over anyway. It's slightly off topic, which is a big no-no in the blog world, but, I feel like I'm supposed to lay it out there, so here we go.
One final thought.
The other day I was listening to a Joyce Meyer moment. In it she was talking about tomato plants she had tried to grow.
One morning she woke to find them all withered and dead. She called her tomato plant growing friend and her plants were fine. So, she set about having words with God about her never-gonna-produce-fruit-tomato-plants.
I have no obligation to protect something I never asked you to plant/grow/do.
I found it rather convicting and have been trying to sit with it ever since.
I know I only want to do what He wants me doing, nothing more, nothing less.
Quite the morsel of food for thought, don't you think?
Dear Abba, our sweet sweet Father, Thank You for blessing the person reading this with Your Peace and Your Joy.
Thank You for the wisdom and discernment to know what to uproot in our lives, what needs to be cut off with pruning shears, all destined for the dustbin. Thank You for the wisdom and discernment to know what to nurture and what to let go.
Thank You for walking the journey with us, for helping us to do the work to be the children You created us to be; to be in this world the human BEings You created us to be, and to do what you've set us to do.
In living the life you've created us for with peace, joy, and love, thank You for helping us to be grassroots movement volunteers of the Savior, whatever that looks like within each of our spiritual gifts. All these things we pray in the most holy name of Your Son, Yeshua. AMEN!!!
"For each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs aren't gathered from thorn bushes, or grapes picked from a bramble bush." ~ Luke 6:44 (CSB)
Taken in the right spirit and not as an excuse to leave things be, in parable I suppose, my concerns were valid. :) Though, in the case of the parable, a great deal more work in the final analysis.
"He put before them another parable, saying, 'The kingdom of the heavens has become like a man having sown good seed in his field. And while the men are sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds in the midst of the wheat, and went away. And when the plants sprouted and produced fruit, then the weeds also appeared. And the servants, having approached the master of the house, said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ And he said to them, ‘An enemy did this.’ And the servants said to him, ‘Then do you desire that having gone forth, we should gather them?’ And he said, ‘No, lest gathering the weeds, you would uproot the wheat with them. Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the harvesters, 'First gather the weeds, and bind them into bundles in order to burn them; then gather together the wheat into my barn."'" ~ Matthew 13:24-29 (ESV)
"This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. The seed along the path are those who have heard and then the Devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. And the seed on the rock are those who, when they hear, welcome the word with joy. Having no root, these believe for a while and depart in a time of testing. As for the seed that fell among thorns, these are the ones who, when they have heard, go on their way and are choked with worries, riches, and pleasures of life, and produce no mature fruit. But the seed in the good ground — these are the ones who, having heard the word with an honest and good heart, hold on to it and by enduring, bear fruit." ~ Luke 8:11-15 (HCSB)
May the Good Lord bless you and keep you, friends... always, in all ways. Amen.
Bonus song of praise... ♥ Given the history of faithful strife in Ireland, this did make my eyes leak. Absolutely beautiful, and very special.