We purchased our current home in May of 2016. Our backyard was one of the biggest selling points for me. We have a pond, nice tree coverage and so much green space. It’s a quiet oasis tucked into the middle of a crazy part of town. When I sit in my backyard, I feel safe.
However, I hate maintaining our backyard. I don’t enjoy being hot, and I don’t enjoy maintaining flower beds. I also don’t like the risk of potentially seeing a snake! (Read more about my totally rational fear of snakes here.) If there is someone who would come maintain our yard for free, I would gladly accept! I want to enjoy the beautiful yard with little to no actual work. Due to my hatred of maintaining our yard, paired with our busy lifestyle, our backyard doesn’t always look as beautiful as it does in the above photo.
A few weekends ago, Dan asked me to spend an hour out in the backyard pulling weeds while he worked outside. I begrudgingly agreed. After Dan assured me there were no snakes lurking to eat me, I put my headphones in and got to work.
As I began to pull weeds, the Father began to speak to my heart.
Weeds are such a nuisance. They grow fast with little substance. If you pull them when they first grow, they are easy to get rid of. However, if you ignore them, they can quickly take over every beautiful plant. The longer a weed grows, the stronger the roots get and the harder it is to remove. In fact, there were a few weeds that were so rooted, I had to ask for Dan’s help to pull them. As I looked over our flower beds, I realized that we may have lost some good flowers because weeds have taken over. After an hour of pulling weeds, I went inside and honestly didn’t think much of the weeds again until this weekend.
I have some more medical tests this week and this weekend I found myself anxious. I begin to worry about things going wrong. Then I began to think thoughts like “I am never going to get better, why does it matter?” The more I threw that thought around, the more broken I felt. As I spiraled out of control, I walked outside and saw a weed in our front yard. It’s like the Father stopped me right in my tracks.
My mind is just like our flower bed. If I am not actively pulling out the negative thoughts like weeds, they can easily destroy me. Proverbs 4:21-23 says this in the Passion Translation:
Fill your thoughts with my words until they penetrate deep into your spirit. Then, as you unwrap my words, they will impart true life and radiant health into the very core of your being. So above all, guard the affections of your heart, for they affect all that you are. Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being, for from there flows the wellspring of life.
Just like it’s normal for a weed to pop up in a garden, it’s normal and human to have a negative thought. Even the most well cared for gardens have to have weeds pulled from them. Just as a good gardener is diligent to pull weeds, we need to be diligent to take our negative thoughts captive. The longer we allow a negative thought to take root, the harder it is to pull.
However, we can’t stop with just pulling the weeds! We need to replace them with truth. I love what Proverbs promises. As we read God’s word, He will impart true life and radiant health into the very core of our being. The Bible is like a daily weed suppressant for our hearts. (Click here to learn more about my favorite ways to dig into the Bible.) So, what does God say when I feel like I am never going to be well? Psalm 41:3 says this in the Passion Translation:
When they are sick, God will restore them, lying upon their bed of suffering. He will raise them up again and restore them back to health.
Every time the thought “I will never be well” creeps into my mind, I quote Psalm 41:3 to myself. I remind myself that God’s heart for me is health and restoration.
Just as I had to ask Dan to help me pull weeds in our flower garden, it’s okay to ask for help to pull the weeds in our hearts. Even this morning, I mentioned to a friend that I was nervous about my tests, and she quickly reminded me that the Father would sustain me. The words she spoke were a reminder to not let the lie that I had something to fear take root. Isaiah 41:10 says:
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Every time I fear the outcome of my tests, I quote Isaiah 41:10 and remind myself that the Lord is with me, I have no reason to fear.
So today, I want to encourage you to look at the flower garden of your heart. What weeds have you allowed to grow? I encourage you to pull them and replace them with truth from the Bible. Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone for help, pulling weeds doesn’t have to be one person job!