Of all the things that we have to do in the garden, one that always needs doing is weeding. Yes, you plant. Yes, you harvest. Yes, you chase the bunnies and mend the fences and watch for bug damage. But you also weed. All the time. Every time. Weeds get into the garden and before you know it, they’ve grown so high that once you are in them you can’t see your house and you have to call Search and Rescue to come find you.
I have, in the past, been very lackadaisical about weeds. I have found it suitable just to pull off the tops of the offending plants. Just to get them out of the way for the time being. To ‘mow’ them down to make it look a little neater and keep the neighbors happy. I was at least doing something, like making the place look a little tidier.
But now that I’ve pulled at some weeds three or four times, it’s becoming apparent that I need to do more than just trim things back. We have mulched the garden to keep the weeds down, but I’m beginning to think that some of those nefarious plants LIKE mulch. So, I’m thinking that if I want to make any progress with these little interlopers, I’m going to have to bite the bullet, dig down, and pull the weeds out by the root.
That’s true for our lives as well. For all the things that grow in our lives, all the ways we act, the habits we maintain. All the unhealthy things that establish taproots deep, deep down in us. Maybe they got rooted there by no fault of our own. And maybe some we put there ourselves. Weeds that keep springing up and taking over our lives.
Weeds like self-doubt and fear. Planted by a parent, a teacher, a kid at school; growing in us, choking everything out with “You can’t make it. You’re not good enough. You won’t ever achieve anything. Who do you think you are?”
Maybe it’s the weeds of addiction (pun intended). Those things that we allow to grow that give us that fix. That rush we need from power and sexual attention and shopping and consuming. That urge rooted in us that says, “I have to. I need to. I won’t be myself unless I do.”
Maybe it’s the weeds of overscheduling. In the restaurant industry, when the kitchen gets slammed with orders, it’s called getting weeded. Suddenly you are overwhelmed with more than you can possibly do. Today so many of us live ‘in the weeds’. Do this, drive there, get to that practice, then to that rehearsal. Time for a deep breath? Let me check my schedule. Why are we so busy? Why do we let ourselves live in the weeds?
That’s the real question from the garden this week. Why do we live with the weeds?
The weeds that all of us contend with, what do we do with them? Do we ignore them? Do we hose them with poison and possibly kill off everything else?
Or do we dig down and clear them out? Do we try to get to the root of what’s clogging up our lives? Do we take the time to go deep and take an honest look at ourselves and get rid of the stuff that is weeding us out of the good fruitful stuff that really matters in life? The writer of Hebrews says, “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and through it many become defiled.” (Heb 12:15) Grace is what God has destined us for. Not the weeds of anger or bitterness or envy or detachment or frantic busyness or the pursuit of more and more and more. Not lives full of gangly, tangliness that chokes out love and peace and hope.
God is faithful and ready to help us with the weeds. God is ready to patiently help us do the work and dig down deep and clear things off and start again. With a brand new way of being that is far more abundant.