Today, I spent a few hours working my flower beds, weeding and cleaning out debris. Those of you who know me personally are currently picking up your jaw off the floor in shock that I spent time “gardening.” Here’s another shocker for you. . .I actually enjoyed it. *Gasp*
I understand learning about God by looking at His creation in general terms, but while weeding? Really? Oddly enough, I found myself pondering deeper spiritual things while prettying up my little garden space.
I started thinking of the “strongholds” in my heart like the weeds in my flower bed. I’m referring to anything that keeps me stuck in any area as a stronghold or a “heartweed.” I’m sure any of you can relate to a point. It’s that old attitude that pops up out of nowhere years after you thought you were over it. Or the anger you feel rising unexpectedly about a situation that doesn’t even involve you. Or the fear that seems to overtake you in a situation that most others would find trivial. And many, many, many more of the heartweeds that pop up when you least expect it, or that you’ve known were there for years, but just haven’t managed to get rid of.
So here’s the lesson I learned from the weeds. First, there were the big, extra leafy weeds that were open and obvious. I looked at them and thought the roots on those things must be totally huge and go deep into the soil. Imagine my surprise when I started digging only to discover that they barely had a root at all, and they were easily plucked out and disposed of. Then there were the tiny little stick-like weeds that looked completely unobtrusive. I casually grabbed hold of one and pulled. . .and pulled. . .and PULLED. . .and rested and pulled again. OH, the roots that were attached to those! Not only did they run deep and big, but many of their roots had given off shoots that ran everywhere into the soil. They were a huge challenge to get out, and some of them probably had pieces left behind that will cause them to grow back, just because I was tired of pulling.
I’m guessing you already see where I’m going here. The obvious conclusion is that surface appearances really don’t mean much. I know in my life, I’ve sometimes found that a fear I’ve been struggling with for years is very shallowly rooted, and only requires me to face the cause before it’s easily plucked out and resolved. The more disturbing to me is the deeply rooted weeds in my heart. The ones that look so benign on the surface. Those are the ones that knock me back to my knees every time. The ones I know only a supernatural touch from Jesus can remove.
The main lesson I learned today? No matter the size of the weed or the depth of the root, you have to get your hands dirty to get it out. Now that’s profound, eh? Only when I choose to be honest with myself and with my God will change truly occur. And honesty is messy. And ugly. And sometimes heartbreaking. But completely necessary. I’m fooling myself if I think God doesn’t already see the mess. Obviously He does. He sent His son to die for that mess, so that I could come to him, washed in the blood of Jesus, and allow Him to clean me, heal me, and repair my brokenness without fear of ever seeing Him react to the “ick” factor. It’s hard to remember and hard to accept because it’s so easy. Many times, I think I’d feel better if I could somehow earn His love. Falling on His mercy is scary sometimes, but He’s never dropped me yet. And I’m so glad He’s willing to get His hands dirty right along beside me in my heart. Because the freshly weeded flowerbed is so beautiful to behold. And my freshly weeded heart is more fit to love than it was before. . .