I felt the need to sort through many weeds in my life when I got home from my trip to Concord, NC to attend She Speaks, a conference put on by Proverbs 31 Ministries for women who feel a calling to writing, speaking or leading. I planned to write a post about my time there and even have a bunch of notes.
But, first, in the only moments a working mama of three has to herself…I needed to weed.
I went outside my home and saw all that I had neglected. The weeds were taking over every bed of flowers and vegetables I had planted. There were vine weeds, creeping weeds, flowering weeds…many of the weeds were actually embedded into my plants, making it hard to distinguish the weed from the plant. And they weren’t pretty weeds. No dandelions or buttercups…
It seemed so overwhelming.
I related to the plants, with weeds all around, some choking the very life out of me by stealing from my roots. I looked at the plants, I pulled up the weeds. Such pleasure I found when I was able to completely yank the entire root balls out of the ground. There were others, those that I could not quite muster enough strength to tear from the earth, that I had to cut. But, cutting them also felt therapeutic.
I reflected on Romans 3:27-28, as I began this weeding.
“So where does that leave our proud Jewish insider claims and counterclaims? Canceled? Yes, canceled. What we’ve learned is this: God does not respond to what we do; we respond to what God does. We’ve finally figured it out. Our lives get in step with God and all others by letting him set the pace, not by proudly or anxiously trying to run the parade.”
As I pulled each weed out, I spoke words out loud to God. I asked him what I was supposed to learn from this time in my life. I asked him to help me to see each weed around my own heart and life as I pulled the physical plants out of the earth. I asked him to pull my own weeds of doubt, of fear, of rejection. I begged him for insight into His plan for me, I begged for a sense of direction. And I wanted to know the pace with which I needed to run to get there the quickest.
I pulled, I wrestled, I cut, I bruised, I bled, I ached… I repeated, “God does not respond to what we do; we respond to what God does…” I felt desperate to hear His voice as I so sweetly heard it over my weekend away. I was trying to be still. I was trying to listen.
I left the gardens of my yard and of my heart. I walked into my house, feeling numb. I had many symbolic weeds that needed to be uprooted in my day ahead…and I really had no idea where to even begin. How in the world could I sort through it all when I felt so very overwhelmed with my reality which looked nothing like what I thought it would?
In my desperate seek to find God and His plan for my life, I found myself in a place of being shocked at what God had recently done in my life. I thought I was following Him, I thought I was being still. I thought I had heard what the plan was. But, my reality was not what I had imagined, not my vision of the plan. I thought I was going one way and suddenly…the rug was pulled from beneath my feet and I found myself prostrate on the floor…wondering what in the world just happened.
I started seeing all of the weeds, that in and of themselves were not weeds, rather plants…as all weeds really are, that happened to be growing where I did not want them to be growing in my life. And then I started to wonder, were they really weeds? Or did I just not want those plants growing where they were growing.
Maybe, what I was trying to pull up, what I was trying to weed OUT of my life was the very thing that God was feeding, fertilizing and fostering to take over other plants…that I had planted…but HE had not. What if, in my doing…my planting…my blind amateur gardening…I was so focused on the plants I was planting, that I saw His plants as weeds.
In my attempt to cleanse the landscape of my heart, I had become the doer…not the responder. I had become blind. I was a blind gardener of my life. I was pulling, yanking, cutting, sorting, trashing…what I thought were weeds.
All of my prayers to God, my begging for direction and seeing no movement…no change…no open doors where I wanted them…God was answering me after all.
His answer was no, not yet, not now.
He was fertilizing the very plants I wanted to abandon. I wanted to pull those horrible uncomfortable growths OUT of my life…just be gone! Oh, how I begged for these thorns to be removed. Lord, please open doors, provide a way out, I am suffocating, I am raw, I am tired, I cannot breathe.
Sitting with this juxtaposition, I breathed in. How had I gotten to a place of blindness?
How was it that I had not been able to recognize the types of plants growing in my heart. How had I become so confused?
For me, it started with believing lies…lies that I would come to recognize last weekend when I heard Lysa TerKeurst speak on rejection…that leads to a type of poisoning of our minds. Her talk was an arrow to my soul, pointing right at the root cause of my blindness…hitting the bulls-eye.
The very basic premise of her talk was about how rejection in this world leads to self-destructive thoughts that the enemy seizes the opportunity to press an endless repeat. We begin feasting on lies of the world and lies of the enemy. And our minds are changed. They are rewired…hardwired to believe that we are not good, that we don’t deserve, that we are not beloved…
If we think on lies and negative self-destructive statements, those thoughts become more readily accessible and auto-pilot like. These are the thoughts that our minds first jump to…and begin to slowly believe.
This. This is how I became blind. I believed the lies…my mind was filled with hurtful things from past words spoken…by others and by myself.
Now that I realize this, I have pushed stop on the repeat button…and God, always faithful, always present, always waiting… was more than ready to receive my surrender.
Philippians 4:8-9 says it beautifully, “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.”
God has created each of us to be unique. He gave us His beautiful word to fill our hearts and minds with truths, with goodness, things noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious…the BEST! It is so very difficult to push away the worst, the ugly, the things to curse…but we do that by transforming our minds. We do that by allowing the enemy a window into our minds, then a door, wide open and completely vulnerable to his lies.
When I looked out at my garden, no longer filled with weeds, I felt a sense of peace. I had given the plants that I had intended to beautify my landscape, the opportunity and space to shine…to be uninhibited by those plants I had not chosen. I thought about what God’s landscape in my heart and mind might look like if I would let him tend it…instead of taking control myself. I thought about what that landscape would look like if I replaced those lies with truths from God’s word.
Lord, let me respond to what YOU do. Let me realize the beauty of your perfect plan. Let me allow YOU to set the pace. Let me hear YOUR words and not the words of the world and of the enemy.
“So where does that leave our proud Jewish insider claims and counterclaims? Canceled? Yes, canceled. What we’ve learned is this: God does not respond to what we do; we respond to what God does. We’ve finally figured it out. Our lives get in step with God and all others by letting him set the pace, not by proudly or anxiously trying to run the parade.” (Romans 3:27-28)
And, just how does my theme of right hand work in this post? Let us all consider that there is this quiet corner, right hand work to be done in the midst of the world and our callings…but most certainly in our own hearts as well…
Please take the time to check out my other sisters from the #Shespeaks2016 Conference. Such a blessing to read their reflections!!!