Got Weeds? Weed Your Yard and Mind
I’ve spent a LOT of time in my garden this year, mainly weeding. I just get so distracted (or overwhelmed) by life that before I know it my garden is over run. It’s frustrating and often just discouraging. I’ll admit there is at least one flower bed or garden section that I look at each year and out of despair say “it’s too far gone, I’ll take care of it later.” Sadly, I give up on that little plot of potential growth. This year has definitely been the worst. Due to pregnancy in the fall, I never got my garden cleaned out after harvesting.
By the time spring came… well, you don’t need an imagination to know what it looked like. So I did what I have never really done before thanks to a paradigm shift (Independence Day link) and I asked for help. Fifteen Young Men and their adult leaders from my church came over and in 30 minutes restored my garden to its intended state. Later some of them returned and tilled it for me. It was planting ready.
Then as usual… life happened.
This time, I tackled it instead of giving in to the weeds. However I replaced the weeds with the garden of “Good” plants that I wanted. Mainly because I knew that my husband would be home in a few weeks. He knows I have a love hate relationship with gardening. I love it and try diligently to master it, but plants hate me. I wanted to show him that I had done it, that I had conquered it while he was gone. Ironically life happened again and his training was extended another 3-4 weeks. So by the time he came home, I had a garden and MANY weeds again. Last week, after watching my poor plants struggle against the weeds (and the kids that accidentally damaged my hard work) I decided to tackle it again.
So I was once again in my garden weeding like I have never weeded before. Literately! In the past its been ripping them out of the ground since they’d already injured, maimed or killed most of what I had planted. So it didn’t matter what I did or stepped on in the process. This time I wanted to be careful, diligent, and steady to save what was there. As I carefully combed through, and under my tomatoes and kale removing the pests that were staging a coup, I found myself pondering the last 5 months and all I have learned and how I have grown. Suddenly weeding my garden became a little more symbolic.
Weeds are stealthy
They know how to fool you into thinking they’re one of the snapdragons that you scattered seeds for, so they’re overgrown before you realize their true character (next year I’m going to try starting my seeds first so they don’t fool me again). Weeds know how to kill a good plant by wrapping around and slowly pinning them down, binding them like a bad habit. They grow right next to your carrots so it’s nearly impossible to pull it out without uprooting your precious produce. Weeds are masters of disguise. I swear they know exactly which plants they could be twins with and only close inspection reveals the impostor, usually after they’ve infiltrated your row of kale.
Weeds Are Like Bad Thoughts
Thoughts and beliefs are the same as weeds, particularly what you believe about yourself. Repeated comments about your appearance can plant a weed that can diminish your self esteem and create significant problems. Being a perfectionist can be a weed that keeps us from developing talents and attributes that could bless many through their fruits if we could get over our fear of failing.
The very things that we enjoy can cause us to neglect the things or people in our lives that could enrich our souls by simply taking over like clover in grass. Habits of bad health, entertainment, or reactions can bind us down to a way of life that slowly chokes out the good and leaves little left, but rocks and weeds.
Sometimes you have to pull a few carrots with the weeds in order to save the harvest. Sometimes, it takes great care and diligence to carefully keep the kale and remove the weed. Sometimes you really have to get out the shovel and yank and pull to rip it out. Other times they can be easily removed with minimal effort. The result after each time we weed, whether a garden of the mind or the yard, is usually a little soreness from the effort.
Five months ago my husband left for basic training, leaving me home with a newborn baby and 4 kids. I was a nervous wreck, filled with fears and worries about how I could possibly survive this, and dreams (aka nightmares) of what break downs would occur.
One week after he left a well meaning loved one kindly told me I would never make it and why. Since I am already my own worst critic, she simply confirmed everything I was already panicked about. It was a miserable and hopeless night! Then a miracle happened and my eyes were opened to the truth.
Over the past few years I had gotten into a habit of criticizing myself and seeing only what I was doing wrong. In a vicious cycle of trying to correct it I saw each failure as further proof. Slowly I began to over look all of my strengths and the things I did well until I could no longer see the plants through the weeds. As I carefully removed the weeds scattered through my peas and carrots I realized I had been viewing my life in the same way I had been viewing my overrun gardens. “Give up, and just start over.” Over the past few months thanks to life, God, amazing friends and family, I have been weeding my own mind of all the unhealthy, untrue and undermining beliefs and expectations I had let grow about who I was and what I could do.
In those months of separation, I have slowly and painfully, joyfully and hopefully learned who I really am, all that I could accomplish, and once again how to find joy. I began with what I though was a garden of weeds with little of value worth saving. Yet when the weeds were removed I discovered my own secret garden and a true love of self and life once again.
As all GOOD gardeners know if you weed often and get them while they roots are shallow than you don’t have to expend the painfully long hours to reclaim your garden. You just can’t let life, or others get in the way of doing that.