Shall we dig?
Recently Joe and I let go of our gardener because he was no longer doing what he had committed to do. After sharing with him our concerns we continued to give him more chances to step up to the plate, but he could never quite reach it, and his work continued to come up short.
So first Joe and I discussed why we kept giving him more opportunities to fix the problems when he was clearly showing us who he was and what he was capable of. Every time we gave him a second chance and he missed the mark, we were disappointed and frustrated.
But who were we really frustrated with? The gardener who had persistently tried to point out that he couldn’t do the job or us for having given 100% in desperately trying to change him? Good question.
After choosing to set aside our resentments and seeing that we had some control over our own decisions, we decided this relationship would never work, not because he was bad at what he did but because we needed and wanted more.
Then the question became who should we hire to get out there and dig?
Our solution: We will. We hired a new “Blow and Go” guy to cut the grass and Joe and I became the landscape experts. Right!!! At least we became willing to discover what the dirt might have to offer us.
I was raised by a mom who didn’t like to get her hands dirty so she taught me that little girls don’t play in the mud and certainly don’t get dirt under their fingernails. I was quite happy letting someone else do the planting and pruning, and I would benefit from the colorful gardens once the handiwork was completed. And that’s the way I felt about housework as well. Why get your hands greasy and break your back bending over a yucky toilet when you can pay someone else to do it.
So…..back to the garden.
Joe and I decided that we would go out in the back yard and together, on Sundays after I got home from church, we would begin the process of creating a masterpiece garden that we would come to love and enjoy.
Lesson #1- nothing happens overnight no matter how fast I want it done. Growing plants requires prep work. Cleaning the flower beds, raking the leaves, turning the dirt. Oh you mean excavating? But I want instant pretty.
How many times would I give my whole savings account to someone, anyone who would do the emotional excavating that my soul needed? Please do the hard stuff for me so I don’t have to hurt. WRONG!!! No one can do that part of my growth. I learned that the whole idea of clearing out the deeply rooted weeds was a job that God had to do, and I had to be willing to show up when He was ready.
Lesson #2- Creating a masterpiece takes patience. What? Be patient? Isn’t there a shortcut to beauty? Not when the job is an inside job. Rush the process, kill the plants. And then do it again. Doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. So how many times did I do the same ritual and then pray for results that were completely different? Over and over again until I stopped, and decided to quietly listen to other possibilities.
Lesson #3- Be clear on your expectations. If I plant yellow flowers it wouldn’t do me any good to shout at God when I didn’t get orange flowers blooming from my garden. What did I plant anyway? Was I even looking at the seeds I bought or did I just haphazardly pick up the cheapest seeds at the dollar store? Oh you mean there is a place I can go to ask questions and get the right plants and flowers? There is a perfect plant to go in a perfect spot? Hm….now that’s a concept. What seeds have I been planting in my heart and are they the right ones to bring about the growth that I was hoping for? Did I take the time to look at the seeds I chose and take the ones marked gratitude, acceptance, faith and love or did I grab the seeds labeled resentment, anger, greed and envy. OOPS!!!
Lesson #4- If you are going to invest time and energy then tend the garden after it’s planted. You mean I can’t plant it, walk away and think it will take care of itself? Nope!!! Only if you plant fake flowers but really is that what you want?
Time. Time. Time. Quiet time. Special time. Scheduled time. Intentional time. That’s what it takes to not only plant it but tend to it. I have to decide to spend time with my garden if I want it to be beautiful? Pulling weeds, digging out rocks, raking the leaves, and pruning. Do I need to spend that much time with God so He can do the same with me? I know that I MUST be willing to allow God to prune from me the branches that bear no fruit, but letting Him cut them off, break off the negative spirit that crops up like a weed around my soul? I think that’s going to hurt. Who am I kidding? I KNOW that’s going to hurt. But am I worth it?
Lesson #5- The one who does the work reaps the benefits. When the gardener works with the earth, seeds, water and sun the plants flourish, and he looks at what he took the time to nurture and he smiles. He sees the breathtaking wonder he created with his own hands, and his spirit lives in the exquisite beauty of his masterpiece.
That’s how God must feel s when He chooses to create His masterpiece through me. He wants to take His time and tend to me, nurture me and water me with His unending love and joy. However, it comes with a cost. Am I prepared to be pruned of the things that harm myself and others? Am I willing to sit still through the process so that beauty can be brought forth through my presence? Can I endure God’s deliberate excavation so He can shine His light though me?