Gardening With God

Something you should know about me is that I have a lot of favorite things. I frequently think through my favorite color, movie, book, song by each of my favorite artists, day of the week, food, flower (which has always been Gerber daisies, but now I’m really liking peonies–just in case there’s a boy out there who wants to buy me flowers), word, and on and on and on. As someone who likes to plan ahead and be prepared for any situation (what up enneagram 6), I think through my favorite things so that I’m prepared for a first date or an ice breaker game at a moment’s notice. I tell you all this because flowers and analogies are two of my absolute favorite things, and a few days ago, God gave me an analogy about flowers (I love how He knows me so well!).

A few days ago I was in my car driving to my grandmother’s house, and I just began praying out loud. I reached her driveway before I was done, so I sat in the car as I continued talking, eventually getting really passionate in my cries to the Lord. I was confessing and repenting of my selfishness, pride, mistrust, and lack of faith. In that moment as I was saying those things out loud, the Lord brought to mind a word picture that so perfectly described the current condition of my heart and what God and I long for my heart to actually be like.

When I was praying about this sin in my heart, I saw a garden that had been overrun with weeds, kudzu, vines–anything and everything you do not want growing in your garden. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that that’s exactly what the enemy wants our hearts to look like. He wants our hearts to be overrun with sin–pride, faithlessness, fears, anxieties, lies, stress, mistrust, selfishness–aka weeds, kudzu, vines. But God wants so so so much more for us than a dead, weed-filled garden. God longs for us to walk in sinless, perfect intimacy with Him. He longs for our hearts to be pure and turned toward Him. He longs for our hearts to be full of faith, hope, love, mercy, grace, confidence, boldness, trust, peace, righteousness–aka roses, daisies, lilies, tulips, hydrangeas, any and every kind of flower you would want growing in your garden.

After I envisioned these two types of gardens, I began asking myself a few questions–what does the garden of my heart currently look like? What do I want it to look like? How do I get from the dead, weedy garden to the alive, beautiful garden? I began reflecting on the last few months and realized that my heart was really reflecting the garden that no one wants. My heart has been full of fears, anxieties, and a faithlessness and lack of trust in God. I have been putting my faith in myself, not relying on the Lord, and it has left me feeling exhausted, broken, weak, and like a failure. I realized that I want my heart to reflect the goodness of God. I want my heart to be full of grace, faith, hope, and peace. I want to place my faith and trust in God and His power, not in mine because I will always fail. But how do I get from A to B, dead to alive, useless to a tool in the hands of God?

How do you fix a literal garden? The gardener goes in and rips out all the weeds and dead plants. Then after he tills the soil, he replants new beautiful flowers. But the garden doesn’t look beautiful overnight. It takes time, work, and effort to make it beautiful. So in order to go from a sin-filled, lifeless heart to a sinless, God-filled heart, I have to allow the Gardener to rip out all the weeds and replant beautiful flowers. The process will be long, out of my control, and probably pretty painful, but the results will be so worth it. God promises that the sanctification process will be long and hard, but it will be so good for us because it makes us more like Him. A garden can’t will itself to go from death to life, just like we can’t will our hearts to go from death to life. We need someone to step in and do the work for us (the Gardener), He’s just waiting for us to ask Him.

Father, rip the weeds from my heart. Remove my sins of selfishness, pride, and faithlessness. Take away my idol of control and allow me to truly give you all control of my life. Lord, plant beautiful flowers that are glorifying to you. Allow me to experience faith, hope, and boldness that can only come from you. “Test me, LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind” (Psalm 26:2). “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23

The Shepherd said to Much-Afraid: “Humble yourself and you will find that Love is spreading a carpet of flowers beneath your feet.” –from Hinds’ Feet on High Places

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