I admire my friends who grow beautiful gardens — the kind that bear baskets full of yummy food. I treasure the jars of jam, sauce and pie filling that arrive in the fall. Every bite is one to savor because I know how hard those dear ones work to tend their gardens, pick the food and then transform it into delicious preserves.
I know it’s hard work because I have a garden too. This is my fourth summer to plant one. The previous three didn’t turn out so hot. I can blame my poor results on heat, caterpillars, fungi, and drought, sure. But my friends contend with all of those things too. I can also blame it on a lack of expertise, which truly is a legitimate factor. However, the Internet is full of sage advice about growing food, so any knowledge I may lack is always at my fingertips.
The baseline reason my gardens fail to thrive is that I fail to adequately commit to them.
I get busy with work, family, errands, reading … stuff. Meanwhile, the garden is out there with the sun shining on it and the rain falling down. It’s busy too. A week can go by and I’ve barely given it a thought. But it’s been right where I left it, growing. It’s great to walk over on a Saturday morning and see how much bigger the tomatoes have gotten or how many cucumbers are ready to pick.
What’s not great is to walk over and see how much bigger the weeds have gotten.
The weeds are what seem to always get between me and gardening bliss.
It never has to be this way, though. In the spring, when enthusiasm is fresh and the air is still crisp, it’s actually fun to rip those tiny beginnings of weeds out of the ground, roots and all. It only takes a few minutes, too.
But as the weeks press on and the temperature goes up, the novelty dissipates. This is where my trouble starts. Once I decide to put weeding on the back burner for a week or two because I’m distracted or bored, my next trip to the garden is unpleasant at best. Two weeks of rainfall and nice warm weather means weeds high and thick enough to make me feel overwhelmed. Feeling overwhelmed leads to feeling like procrastinating. Inertia, passivity and undisciplined neglect are the offspring of procrastination. I know this too well.
As my garden goes, so goes my mind. The best time to pull negative, self-defeating, false or injurious thoughts out of my head is when they first pop up, when they are small and their roots are shallow. If I let them go, they grow.
Upsetness, misunderstanding, bitterness, offense, self-pity, selfishness, unforgiveness, resentment, withholding, withdrawing, anxiousness – those thoughts set up root systems and they multiply.
If I don’t commit to eradicating weedy thoughts and ideas, they’ll eventually overtake the good things my mind is meant to produce. They’ll drain the soil of my soul and rob it of its fertility. My mind will get choked and fail to thrive. Poor choices will be made. Emotions will overtake reason.
Unwanted seeds can lay dormant for a long time, only germinating in ideal conditions, such as:
- Being hurt or mistreated, feeling hurt
- Failing or perceiving failure
- Being oppressed or feeling oppressed
- Dealing with difficult circumstances beyond one’s control
- Negative peer or cultural influence
- Believing lies
Weeds will ruin a good garden if left unattended.
So far this season, I’ve been keeping up with the weeds. It was touch and go after we returned from vacation and it had rained almost 12 inches while we were gone. The weeds were tall and thick when we returned, and it was disheartening. My husband, knowing my proclivity toward giving up at such junctures, extended me a great deal of mercy by pulling out the tiller and thrashing my weed problem. I love that man! He took me back to clean rows. A helping hand can restore motivation and reset one’s perspective. Ever since, I’ve maintained a weekly routine of weeding on Saturdays; I’m being rewarded with healthy plants and ripening food.
I have a routine for weeding my mind, too. It took a number of years to establish and wholeheartedly commit to, but it’s working. Curious? Ask me about it.
God knew what He was doing when He gave Adam the job of keeping and dressing the Garden of Eden. What a great teaching tool it was!