A Garden Analogy

Hi friend,

Today it became so overwhelmingly clear to me that God has been teaching me something. It’s kinda like a puzzle because he has been revealing small pieces to a bigger picture a little bit at a time. He may not be finished yet, but I wanted to invite you into the process. It will make the most sense if you read beginning to end. 🙂

On November 10, 2018, God used a garden to get my attention.

The garden I came across was watered but also dry. Some flowers were healthy and some were wilted. I paused, looked at it for a few moments, and felt dissatisfied. And confused.

It then dawned on me that the reason for my reaction was because the garden wasn’t supposed to be that way. 

A garden should be cared for well because its purpose is to grow something, whether that be flowers or fruit or vegetables or other sorts of plants. But if it isn’t cared for, it won’t grow what it is meant to.

God shared with me in that moment, on November 10th, that my heart is like a garden. And that some of it was watered…but also dry.

I knew immediately what this meant…and it was that I wasn’t letting God into every corner of my garden (my heart). Without the Gardener, I am lost and have no direction. I need the Garden to give me instructions and wisdom, to encourage me in the heat, to provide me water to nourish the plants, and to keep me company on rainy days.

I prayed right away that he would give me the boldness to let him into every part of my life, and that I would hide nothing from him.

I then went home, and didn’t think about the garden analogy again for a while.

Fast forward to June 7, 2019. I was watering an actual garden, and God brought his analogy to my mind.

This time God pressed on my heart that every single decision (action, behaviour, thought) I make in my life can either distance me from him or help me cultivate a closer relationship with him. Essentially, I water the soil of my heart when I spend my time doing things that are purposeful and Spirit-driven, and I deprive the soil of nourishment when I do the opposite.

So, I decided that I wanted to engage in more intentional God-centered conversation, busy my hands doing purposeful work, and allow my heart to absorb life-giving words and truth (specifically by reading his Word and listening to podcasts/sermons).

I prayed once more that he would care for the soil of my heart. Every inch of it. And that he would show me how to stay close to him.

Yesterday, May 17, 2020, he reminded me of his analogy again. This time he gave me something deeper to chew on. And to act on.

He made it very clear to me that there is another piece to the garden analogy…which is that I have an important care-taking responsibility

It is time to dig the weeds out of your garden.

Wow.

Weeds = sin.

Sin = anything unrighteous. Anything that separates us from God.

The dirty work needs to be done (again and again) so that a garden can truly flourish and produce what it is meant to.

This means that I cannot remain numb and forget to repent for the sin in my life…because if I do forget or refuse to, my heart will become disinterested in holy things…I will become distant and shallow and burdened and…stuck.

A neglected garden is a wasted garden…because it doesn’t do anything.

God also reminded me that he wants to partner with me and help me dig. In fact, it’s kinda hard to do it without him.

It starts by asking God to bring to light sin that needs to be repented of…and then to repent. And thank him for his gift of forgiveness and grace. And then ask him to join me on my healing journey. Which always takes time. But is necessary.

In fact, the fruit starts producing when the healing is in progress.

Finally, this morning, May 18, 2020, I was working through a devotional on simplicity by First15. I prayed that God would show me how to live a simple and whole life.

He brought the garden analogy to mind again, and shared that in my garden I am meant to bear certain fruit. Not produce something of every kind or someone else’s fruit…simply what God has planned for my garden.

But, in order to, I must dig out the weeds that hinder growth. And give my garden the right ingredients to flourish.

Speaking generally, some weeds are:

Pride. Envy. Anger. Selfishness. Lust. Unforgiveness. Idolatry. Gluttony. Dishonesty. Greed.  The list goes on. They show up in small and big ways…like how weeds can show up in different sizes. And some stay in the ground and others are more visible.

I prayed that God would show me what what the right ingredients are.

As of now they seem to be this:

Fertile soil = open hands and a willing heart.

Water = God’s Word. prayer. community.

Sunlight = Conviction of sin. revelation. awareness.

Shovel = Tool to rid of sin…humility. repentance. receiving forgiveness and grace.

The way I have loved God – my heavenly Father – will matter the most at the end of my life.

And loving him means loving his people.

And loving God and loving people means that I have purpose.

And having purpose means that I have responsibility.

And responsibility means stewardship.

And stewardship means consistency.

During this season of social distancing, I am realizing more every day how important it is to use my time right now to turn my heart toward my Father. And to prepare my heart…or my garden…for what he has in store for me.

Friend, will you join me?

Lord, in this season, may you equip me and my friends to do your work. Will you stir our hearts toward you and give us a picture of what each of our gardens look like right now. And embolden us to take action.

And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. –Colossians 3:14-16

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