Monday, March 08, 2010

Lessons from my garden, Part 2

Lesson #2: Some weeds actually look pretty.

In my garden, I found several kinds of weeds. Some were scraggly and stood out like a sore thumb (do sore thumbs really stand out all that much??). But others were not offensive at all. In fact, some weeds were more like soft patches of clover. I thought, "Why can't I just leave them there? These are actually quite nice looking." The camouflaged weeds really blended in nicely with the other plants. But I decided to uproot every one of them, because they were, in fact, weeds. They were not something we had planted, but something that was springing up uninvited, and would at some point grow to the detriment of the other healthy things around them.

In the same way, I sometimes don't even recognize my own weaknesses. There are things in my heart that need to be uprooted, but perhaps are more socially or relationally "acceptable", whether in my circle of friends, or just in my own mind. I sometimes call them "my personality," and own these weaknesses, because I buy into the lie that it is just who I am. Really, I am simply comfortable with these weak areas of my life, and it would be a lot more work to address them. But if I'm honest with myself, I know they are weeds in my heart. I know they are habits or feelings or fears that were not planted by God, and that I choose to let grow.

Some of my weaknesses are offensive. They are ugly, visible weeds. But what about subtle things that sometimes look quite nice, even positive in some situations. For instance, I love efficiency. In many areas, I'm super efficient. Sounds like a good thing, right? Well, I am also annoyed by children who take forever (and I mean forever) to brush their teeth. I am annoyed when the dishwasher gets loaded in the "wrong" way. And I am angered by people who sit in the middle two seats in a row of four empties at the movie theater so that the two seats in which WE could have sat, now split on opposite sides of these individuals, are wasted. I am the person who asks them to move over because I am appalled at how inefficient that is during a sold out show. AGGH. I think I've just proved my point that things I can call "my personality" just might be coping mechanisms for my weaknesses. The weed here for me: wanting undue control. And it's one of many.

What happens if I let these pretty weeds grow? I suppose their growth will dominate the garden of my heart more and more. Eventually the fears and lies that are feeding them may even choke out other pretty things that are planted by God, like truth and security. I'm thankful for this truth in particular, in light of the messed up way I can view the garden of my heart:

"The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks
at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
I Samuel 16:7

Here's my prayer: Lord, show me the areas in which I've become comfortable with weeds, and the ways I've made excuses for them. Please reveal to me the things that you have not planted in my heart, and the things You desire to uproot. Open the eyes of my heart to see past appearances, in myself and others, and give me the strength to accept myself as much as You accept me. Amen.

1 comment:

  1. I love and hate that you are right about hard to tell the difference sometimes!