In the past month here, we’ve considered what it takes to cultivate a good life by digging in to lessons I’ve learned while messing up my backyard garden. It’s been a fun ride, and your comments have brought great insights to the discussion.
Today, as we conclude the series, my friend Marni Arnold shares a powerful idea, and one that may surprise you—that one of the best ways to get the weeds out of our lives is to stop weeding altogether…
If that seems unbelievable, then read on, friend!
Purchasing our first home a little over a year ago, one of the things we loved about our home was the prepared garden bed awaiting use. Anxious to start sowing seeds immediately, considering it was early spring, we dove in full force:
- Green Bell Peppers.
- Yellow Squash.
It was quite a garden, and we had a small harvest within a matter of a few weeks to enjoy at our dinner table.
One thing I didn’t consider when we first planted, however, was the weeds that invaded our garden from day one. My husband saw it coming. He never really stressed much about them, but he would remove the ones he saw whenever he picked the ripened fruit off the vines; leaving some weeds behind each time.
It maddened me, because I wanted all the weeds out – all the time. The truth is, they grew in so quickly, it was impossible to keep up with if we expected to have a life outside of our gardening. It was through that experience that I began to learn the first life principle of weeding: attention isn’t supposed to be on removing the weeds, but on growing the good seeds.
It’s the principle from Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43: life’s weeds are a work of the enemy, and the best way we can handle them is to leave the handling to One who knows better than us. We are in fact informed to leave the weeds alone until the harvest.
Because of this vital truth hidden in this parable: we aren’t created to handle the weeds that crop up in our gardens.
As caretakers of vegetable or flower gardens, we remove weeds we see because the gardens can’t do that themselves. The same is true of God in our lives as well.
We must allow God to be the gardener of our lives, allowing Him to weed in His timing instead of seeking to do the work ourselves.
This isn’t an easy way to live, because our world constantly prompts us to “do this” or “do that.” We want to be in charge of weeding our own lives.
But if we weed our own gardens instead of God doing it in His timing, the problems will always grow back – often quicker and fiercer than the weeds had. For our efforts break off the weeds leaving the roots behind. Yet when God does the weeding, both the weeds and their roots are fully removed, allowing our lives to become fertile soil where He can sow seeds of His purpose into our lives.
This is a truth I’ve lived personally these past 8 months. On New Years Day, after years of my parents sowing seeds of narcissism and brokenness in my life, God declared it “harvest time” in my garden.
He led me to disconnect from relationship with my parents completely.
It has been the most difficult decision I ever had to make. But with it, His peace has come alongside me in the struggle. No matter how much it’s hurt, how much fear I’ve felt, or how it’s flipped my life upside down, God knew I needed Him to be the only gardener in my life. For 16 years, I’d tried to weed my life by myself, but my efforts proved futile every time.
I miss my parents dearly, but not the unhealthily toxic relationship we had. It was ripping us all apart little by excruciatingly little, and it was detrimental to all of our lives.
The fruit that grew amidst the weeds all my life, I couldn’t see until it was His time for me to see them.
The painful process of living through this harvesting and weeding process lead me to see something I couldn’t see before in my life: me.
To consider: What fruit might start growing in your life once you allow God’s help in cultivating it?
Marni is a full-time wife, mama, homeschooler and writer. A 2013 graduate from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Science in Religion, her focus, passion and heart is on ministry through writing out her healing in Christ, inviting women into the healing space Jesus offers them – even in the busyness as the wives and mamas they are. Enjoying sitting down to dinner nightly with her small family, her relished hobbies include reading, photography, cooking and baking, and outings to parks and museums. Find her at MarniArnold.com or on Twitter (@marniarnold)