Random fact about me, I’m an amateur gardener.
The only thing stopping my yard being taken over by flowerbeds and vegetable gardens is my husband conservative restraint. Which is exactly the husband I needed.
Because, while I love to plant new things and explore little ecosystems with my kids, I am not good a weeding and trimming.
There was a spiritual epiphany I had after my husband expressed the gardens need looking after. I had planted sweet potato vine, which is a very good ground cover to fill the empty spaces in a garden during the summer. But as I started working on taming the vine that had gotten a little wild, I noticed A LOT of weeds hiding beneath. The gardens sure looked nice from the street, but on close inspection it was a mess.
The way I handle my gardens isn’t all that different than how I tend to my soul at times.
I am quick to plant something new and pretty and make sure everyone sees what I want them to see, but in my heart the weeds of fear, anxiety, depression and self-doubt are often running wild.
But I struggle to sit still long enough to evaluate and prune the attitudes of my heart. It's so easy to be distracted with kids the pace of life. But the longer a garden goes untended the opportunity for critters and disease to move in and do serious damage.
The same goes for us. Sin will hide in the small justifiable places and accumulate until the damage is so far gone you have to rip and uproot plants that have decayed beyond help. If you don’t take the time to be still before the Lord and evaluate your heart on a regular basis, what will your spiritual garden look like?
This is not a job you do on your own though. God is the great gardener and he knows your heart inside and out. Jesus said it best in John 15
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful.
God wants you to be fruitful. He knows you are beautiful. He wants to work in our hearts, but we have to take the time to abide with him to allow the gardening of our soul to be affective.
To abide means to let Christ’s Word dwell in us, reform our desires, and direct our wills.
For this strong-willed, minor control freak, that is a tall order to follow. And is probably why connection and intimacy with God is a struggle for me.
How are you at abiding with God and allowing him to prune and weed the hidden places of your heart? If that seems like a tall order take it one step at a time. Carve out some time to sit with the Lord. No Bible study, no prayer list agenda, just to be still with him and direct our wills and desires toward him.