Today I start with a confession: I’ve been struggling. I know situations won’t always turn out the way I think they should, and often things are much more difficult than expected. But for the last six weeks my life has been like wading through a sulfur mud pit, taking on darts from a hidden adversary. I’m not one to air my dirty laundry for all the world to see, but I admit that my challenges encompass overwhelming obstacles, disheartening misunderstandings, and nagging frustrations:
- damage to my car
- a vandalized fence
- discord in key decisions
- new doors of opportunity remaining closed
- heirloom crystal pitcher––broken
- favorite blue shorts––ruined
- expensive new spring bulbs and plants––dug up and eaten by rabbits and squirrels
- a health scare without decisive resolution
- worry about aging family members
- a revolving door of contractors making repairs in our home, continually fixing what other contractors messed up
- and WEEDS! EVERYWHERE!
Weeds are the straw that broke the camel’s (my) back, so to speak. The last little burden that became unbearable. But from my weeds emerged a transformative message from God…
It all started when weeds infested our newly sodded lawn. Unfortunately, new sod can’t be treated for weeds until the grass takes root––about two months after coming out of dormancy. So although the sod was laid in early December, no weed treatment could be applied until end of April. And although grass in Dallas goes dormant in the winter, weeds do not. So for five months those weeds had a heyday!
I spent hours upon hours trying to pull up these unsightly weeds, hardly stopping their progression. But slowly I became aware of the Spirit nudging me every time I thought about the menacing weeds.
After two weeks of wondering what the Lord was trying to say as I uprooted and mulled over weeds, I visited a friend and mentioned the Spirit’s prompting. She prayerfully considered my ordeal, and then she responded with a quote from Teresa of Avila: “Learn to sit amongst the weeds with God as Gardener, not the self.”
- Learn to sit among the weeds. Learn to sit among my weeds.
She then referenced Jesus’ parable of the weeds (Matt 13:24–30) in which a man sowed good wheat seeds into a field, but his enemy came behind him and sowed weeds into that same field. God allowed the weeds to be planted and take root, and as both wheat and weeds grew, the man had to wait––living with the weeds in his field until harvest time.
- Learn to sit among the weeds with God as Gardener, waiting for Him to pull them up.
When I returned home, I took a beach chair out to my front lawn and I sat among my weeds.
I prayed and journaled. I admitted my embarrassment of unsightly weeds. I laid down the burden of trying to pull up weeds day after day after day. I released my frustration of the contractor suggesting sod be laid in December instead of March. And I realized that my weeds were representative of many challenges and frustrations in every aspect of my life.
Life is full of weeds.
Confession opened the door to understanding. God allows weeds to take root and spring up in our lives. Some weeds need to be removed. But some weeds become a daily reminder to turn to, trust in, and wait on God.
For the first time, I found peace with my weeds.
As I sat and watched them slowly sway in the breeze, three truths arose:
- I’m a gardener, but I’m not the Gardener. God the Father is the Gardener of the world, including my life––and yours. All we have and all we are come from Him and are for Him. He makes the garden we live in grow. He also allows weeds to intermix with our circumstances. So in every aspect of life, our attention needs to fix on the Gardener, not the weeds and not ourselves. He provides wisdom, discernment, and instruction. Each day, as we walk with Him in the garden and become more attentive to His promptings, we learn to focus on Him above all stresses and distractions. Weeds no longer stand as a consuming daily ordeal.
- Our treasure is Jesus Christ, not anything tangible. Jesus confirmed, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt 6:21). I love beautiful gardens and a lush, manicured lawn. And although fragrant blossoms, vibrant colors, and delicate textures evoke praise for the Creator, my one true treasure is my Savior. For all Christ-followers, His life is the eternal gift bestowed upon us. He is our Treasure today, tomorrow, and forever. We cannot allow ourselves to be consumed with temporal things, even those that are for a good purpose.
- There is no perfect shalom this side of heaven. Shalom is a Hebrew word often translated as “peace”––but it means more than that. Shalom depicts the way things are supposed to be in God’s perfect creation without sin and death. In this life, we will all have good times and hard times, but things will never truly be the way they are supposed to be. We won’t experience God’s perfect shalom until we reach our eternal destination with Him. But even among our weeds, we get a glimpse of His sovereignty and promise for vibrant life everlasting.
Anything can become a weed that permeates life and becomes a drain: work issues, cravings and temptations, strained relationships, and even incessant small frustrations of daily life that pile up. Sometimes our weeds are sins to be uprooted. And sometimes our weeds are relationships, situations, or challenges that God allows in order to turn our focus and trust to Him.
Sit among your weeds.
Don’t obsess. Get comfortable and allow Christ’s shalom to penetrate their presence. Be attentive to His promptings. Lay your weeds before God and prayerfully wait. Seek Him on what to do or not to do. Focus on the Gardener, not the weeds. He is our Creator, our Protector, our Provider, our Guide. He is our Treasure.
What are the weeds in your life?