It's not that I hate yardwork or that I don't want to know more about gardening. I actually don't mind it and would love to. But, we decided that next summer will have to be the summer of worrying about the yard and redoing the landscaping...I mean, I we have an infant and a two year old...which = no time to mess with the yard work. :) (Although, I'm not sure that having a one and three year old next summer will make it that much more convenient. Oh well!)
Anyway, the weeds were seriously starting to overtake the front step, and I was a little worried about losing Roman in the "jungle" near the door, so I finally broke down and just decided to pull up a bunch of the mess. And it was a mess. It really was. And, well, you know how I roll. I had some revelations while digging through the mess. Maybe it's because it's only in the most random and mundane moments that I have silence enough to be so "enlightened". (you can stop laughing!) Maybe God just has a quirky sense of humor...but nonetheless, He gets his point across.
I started with the big weeds. The tall, thick, almost tree-like weeds. The most daunting. The most challenging. (Now for my disclaimer: I need you to know this does not mean that my yard is looking good right now. That is much too big of a goal. Mary and I cleaned out those planters last fall and somehow there are still who-knows-what-kind-of plants growing on top of bushes and hostas spilling out from underneath daisies. I don't understand it. ANYWAY, we are planning to pull it all up next summer anyway).
I thought if I could get the big weeds out of the way, it would look much better. It took a lot of hard work. I was digging and yanking, sweating and pulling. They just did not want to come out. They had set their roots down deep and they were there to stay. In some cases, I didn't get all the roots...obviously, we will be seeing those plants again. But for now, it will work. And it did look better, but not great.
As I struggled with the monstrous intruders, it reminded me a lot of my sin. Those big sins in my life that are deeply rooted, that seem to be "there to stay", and that take much time and painful effort to get rid of. I know my life would be much better without them. I know they are taking up room in my heart that could be filled with something far more beautiful and functional. But it takes work. It's not easy. I will have to dig down, get right in the middle of the mess...I have to be willing to get dirty (or admit that I'm unclean) in order to get rid of it. Let's be honest. I will have to get on my knees and cry out to God...because only He can help me get at the roots. It will be painful.
And if I don't?...Well, if I don't get the roots, the labor will be in vain. If the roots stay, there will be no opportunity for flowers in the spring. You see, at least I am the kind of person that sometimes strives more for appearance than for actually fixing the dark places in my heart. You too? But, the fact is, those weeds...those sins will return...bigger and badder if we don't do something about the roots - about the attitudes from which those actions came.
Now for the small weeds.
The tiny little green leaves crawling across the yard and amongst the flowers.
"These aren't so bad. They would be easy to get out.", I thought. "In fact, I could just leave them. I mean, you can't even see them from far away. And I could come clean these up another time...it would only take a few minutes."
(Ha. Yeah right. I'm way too OCD once I get started on a task!!)
ANYWAY, the small weeds were EVERYWHERE. Once I really got down on the ground and surveyed what I needed to work on, I realized that they were simply out of control.
They were wrapped around the base of every bush.
They were growing through cracks in the cement and through the wood surrounding the planters.
There were weeds that were so intertwined with other weeds that they sprawled all the way across the flower bed.
They were plauging the whole yard.
How would I ever get all of the tiny ones out. Again, the idea of leaving them there crossed my mind. It's amazing how lazy I am when it comes right down to it.
The small sins are the ones that I would really like to leave alone. They are the things in my life that I hold onto...because they just really aren't "big enough to worry about". They aren't even visable from far away. And after all, they are so "easy" to get rid of....
Do you have some of those?
They are the "secret gardens" that we tend in the back corners of our hearts? (that analogy is courtesy of our friend Archbishop Fulton Sheen). :)
We all have them.
Oh, we pretend they aren't there.
We think that maybe if we ignore them they will somehow magically disappear before next spring. We think that we have control of them - that they will be easy to eliminate. But, the truth is, they are plaguing our lives. People may not notice those sins so much but when we let the little sins go, we don't realize that they are wrapping themselves around the virtue in our lives...trying their best to suffocate every good. When we don't stop them they continue to permeate each area where God might be using us fruitfully, for his glory.
Large and small, let's get digging.