Wisdom from the yard

It’s officially spring here in North Carolina!

Despite the chillier weather lately, we have blooms and our grass is slowly turning back to green from icky brown. This also means the pollen is here, but necessary evils, right?

It’s my favorite time of the year because it’s finally getting warm again (praise!), but more importantly we get to witness first hand seemingly dead things come back to life. It’s amazing and I appreciate it more and more every year.

For a homeowner, spring also means we can no longer ignore the mess that is our yard. Eric and I do decently well in the yard department, well at least enough to get by. We don’t get complaint letters from our HOA and we’re usually pretty proud of the overall state of our home. But with our increasingly busy schedules and the fact that we can no longer rely on the landscaping from the seller of our house (we bought our home almost 3 years ago, so that may have expired a while ago…) lets just say things have gotten a bit out of control.

As I was pulling weeds last week I couldn’t help but see a parallel between this dreaded activity and certain areas of my life. Areas I wish had grown more by now. Areas that I’ve been neglecting that are now feeling overgrown, out of control, and struggling. Can you relate?

“If you plant nothing, you know what happens in your backyard? Weeds. Know what happens in your life if you plant nothing intentionally? Weeds.” — Dave Ramsey

I wish I had proactively taken better care of it so I wouldn’t have to clean up. 

If we had done the necessary minor work up to this point, pulling weeds wouldn’t be such a big deal. If we treated the yard when we were supposed to, addressed any concerns immediately, and kept a watchful eye our yard would be in good shape now. But we didn’t and it isn’t. The weeds had taken over many areas of our yard, but the worst was in the spot that isn’t visible since it’s blocked from view by the deck.

Isn’t this so relevant to life?

Just like our yard, when we take our eyes off an area the weeds can grow freely. No area is immune: health, finances, relationships, career, etc. Not only are the weeds unsightly and a pain to get rid of, they can choke out the things that are meant to be there.

What weeds are growing in your life? Might as well check your yard too while you’re at it. Weeds can look like worries, distractions, toxic people, laziness, bad habits. They may not seem like a big deal at first, but left unchecked they become a problem.

A weed that’s been growing in my life lately has been snoozing and sleeping in too late. Sleep is important to me. It’s crucial to good health and I’m cranky when I consistently don’t get enough of it. But the bad habit of staying up too late and then sleeping until the very last moment is a weed that needs to be pulled. I can’t even remember when this habit started, but it’s stuck around for a while and the roots have gotten deeper.

This weed is choking out my mornings and impacting the rest of my day. I would say sleep is a pretty good use of time, but there are other more important things that deserve my time before the craziness of the day gets a hold of me. Time in the Word comes first for me. Morning sets the tone for the remainder of the day and honestly my days have felt overwhelming and out of whack because I’ve let this weed take hold.

I wish I had given more time and attention so it wouldn’t be dead or struggling. 

I love buying perennial plants because they’re meant to come back year after year. I don’t have the greenest thumb, so it isn’t unusual for my perennials to accidentally become annuals and die after the first year.

When I think about it, though, it doesn’t take too much to have a green thumb. We know plants require sunlight and water of varying amounts. I can’t control the sun, but I can control the water. I’ve forgotten to water and then try to redeem myself too late. We have two potted plants on either side of our back door that were thriving last year with beautiful yellow blooms and evergreen leaves. Now they’re just dried up brown sticks in the pots. I’ve tried, but Google search tells me it may be too late to save them.

What if I had been more intentional throughout the fall and winter to care for them? They would probably be flourishing right about now. Other things demanded my attention and I took my eyes and focus off of them.

I’ve noticed this same thing happen in my relationships. Some require more care than others, but for any relationship to continue to grow and withstand winter-like seasons, time and attention is needed. The sun and water.

Our marriage is strong, but like every other couple, we go through seasons where we struggle. I can feel when we’ve been distracted and taken our attention off each other. Unlike our plants out back, this is repairable when we can bring it back into focus, but it can take extra care to get it there.

Tending to our yard left me feeling overwhelm, anxiety, and general annoyance because we played a part in this by not tending to it over time. I didn’t know where to begin. And once I actually did start it didn’t feel like progress was being made because every time I looked around there was still so much more to do.

I just had to start. I had to identify the areas that I could impact and then get to it. Not everything got done in one afternoon. There’s still more weeds to pull and plants to replace, but I took steps in the right direction. Progress was made and I’m intentional about fixing it.

Where do we go from here?

Determine what needs to be done. Block out time in your schedule to tend to it. Ask a friend for help. Pray through it. Put in the work. Be patient. Celebrate the progress.

In life and in your yard, whatever you plant will grow. If you don’t plant anything you’re likely gonna end up with weeds. If you plant and don’t tend to it, weeds will grow. Plant good things and help them flourish.

A little tough love for you: nothing good will happen just because. Even a lottery winner needs to intentionally buy the ticket. Not everything is worthy of your attention and focus right now. Set your intentions on what matters most.

Soon that overwhelm will transform to empowerment. What will you grow? ❤

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