I love gardening. Creating our own patio retreat has provided a personal oasis of beauty and sunshine while the birds gather above in magical chorus.
This week I sank into the cushions, iced coffee in hand. As I breathed in nature, my eye caught a glimpse of a disturbing sight.
My ultimate arch enemy.
Sticking out like a sore thumb, those gnarly little rascals were ruining my view. Gleefully basking in the sunlight, they made themselves right at home as if to spite me. I’m pretty sure they were smirking as they burrowed their roots even deeper.
I spent 3 hours on my knees, covered in dirt, sweat, and sun. It was a territory battle I was determined to win. As I worked the soil, a thought suddenly crossed my mind.
Do I have weeds growing in the soil of my own life?
The idea both disturbed me and raised my curiosity at the same time.
If I want to grow, I must uproot my weeds.
Like plants in the garden, I want to grow and bear fruit. I want to be a healthier, more loving, faith-filled person. After I am long gone, I want “the fruit from my life to nourish people long after I pass into eternity.” (Susie Larson, Your Beautiful Purpose).
But in the fertile soil of my life, there are weeds. And they are gnarly. And pokey. Some are premature while others have firmly planted roots.
Anxiety. Fear. Complaint. Procrastination. Impulsiveness. These are my weeds.
Letting them grow is not an option. These weeds are as tough as their roots are deep. The longer they grow, the more infectious they will become. Sooner or later, they will rob me of life-giving nutrients, stunt my growth, and degrade my fruit.
My weeds will breed more weeds
Every weed begins with a seed. And every unhealthy behavior begins with a lie.
When life beats me down, I am more vulnerable to growing weeds. I’m susceptible to believing lies about myself, God, and others. Letting lies grow over time will infect my actions, emotions, and relationships.
Weeds grow in clusters. Misery loves company. Lies have a way of multiplying. Bitterness resides with anger and unforgiveness. Discover one weed and there’s bound to be more nearby!
But if I uproot the lie with the tool of truth, it has no opportunity to grow in my heart.
“If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit.” (Galatians 6:8)
“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:13)
My weeds will spread to others
Last summer, we bought buckets of dirt from a local store to fill in some low spots around the house. We soon discovered the dirt had been infected with weed seed as a vast amount of weeds exploded in our flower beds!
Weeds are infectious. Given enough time, the weeds in my own heart will likely spread to someone else’s soil.
Complaining doesn’t just negatively affect my own soul, it poisons everyone else around me. Fretting about the future can encourage others to do the same. The fear of one can hinder the freedom of another. The root of bitterness don’t just destroy your own heart but affects others through your actions, words, and attitude.
Whatever I allow to grow in my heart, good or bad, will either affect or infect others.
My weeds will hinder my fruit
Weeds steal the very life-giving nutrients other plants need to survive and produce fruit. Even if those plants are able to bear fruit, the quality of that fruit can be degraded.
Weeds rob me of producing good fruit in my life. Fear hinders me from taking healthy risks. Bitterness steals any chance of joy. Anxiety degrades my peace. Complaining alters my view of life and taints my blessings.
The irony is that I live as though I can have both. As if I can worry and still somehow become a person of peace. Like somehow I can hold onto bitterness and still have a healthy relationship. I act as if my weeds won’t affect my personal growth or future fruit.
The truth? My weeds will degrade my fruit. It will hinder my ability to enjoy life to the fullest. Sadly, I will only experience a shadow of the fruit I was meant to bear if I continue to let weeds thrive in the soil of my life.
If I want to be healthy, I must uproot them so that the good fruit in my life receives the nutrients necessary for growth.
If I want life-change, I must uproot my weeds
Pull a weed in its infancy and it never gets the opportunity to put down roots. But the longer it remains in the soil, the more aggressive it becomes and the more difficult it is to root out. Delaying the work now will only result in bigger issues later.
But weeding is hard. When I survey the work ahead of me, it’s much easier to toss the garden gloves aside and give up.
If you want lasting life-change, it will require hard, back-breaking work. Nothing less will do. You will sweat. You will get dirty. You’ll need tools for the job.
When you notice an unhealthy behavior growing, uncover the lie that resides at the root and replace it with the truth. Then take the necessary steps toward growth. Pray. Ask God for help. Be accountable. Make a list. Talk to a counselor. There are many ways you can uproot the weeds in your life!
Remember to give yourself time to grow. A garden doesn’t develop quickly. It must be cultivated. It must be watered. And weeded.
So roll up your sleeves and do the work. Uproot the weeds in your life and plant truth in your soil. Ask God for the rain and watch it grow. There is a fruitful harvest waiting for you when it’s all said and done!