“Don’t let the tall weeds cast a shadow on the beautiful flowers in your garden.”
- Steve Maraboli, Life, The Truth, and Being Free
The other day I went out to take on one of my most dreaded summer tasks: weeding. This is an activity I have always disliked as it is dirty, time consuming and very hard on my back. Do you feel sorry for me yet? Looking at the size of the overgrown weeds, I could not help but scold myself for not getting out there sooner. It is truly incredible how fast and resilient those nasty weeds are. I honestly had weeded not long ago, but still to my dismay there was this vast green forest of unwanted foliage staring me in the face demanding my immediate attention. As I was feeling very sorry for myself, I started to think of life applications around weeds and weeding, and realized as much as I would think otherwise, we can actually learn a lot from these pesky plants!
In our lives we need to do regular weeding. We need to take moral inventory of what should and should not be there and act responsibly to address these “weeds” to put us on the best road possible in our lives. Here are some thoughts to ponder:
Weed of Wisdom #1:
Weeds grow where we don’t want them to and stifle the true beauty trying to emerge. How many times have you seen beautiful flowers struggling and unwanted weeds thriving? What is wrong with this picture? Weeds like negative things in our lives can take deep root where we are trying to grow in healthy aspects. For instance, where we are trying to be more physically fit the weed of unhealthy food choices and inactivity can keep us stuck. We need to look at what is holding us back from thriving in certain areas and make major changes. Sometimes this is a difficult and painful process but very necessary. When I was doing substance abuse counseling a client of mine who was an alcoholic and who had many problems from his drinking was sharing his new goals with me. Proudly he declared that he had decided to become only a “social drinker” and would strictly limit himself to one or two beers each time he met with friends. He did not like when I told him that with his severe alcohol problem, this was not a viable option for him. The thought of him weeding out alcohol entirely was so scary that he thought this would be a good and comfortable compromise. To say I burst his bubble would be an understatement. He was clearly unhappy with me, however alcohol was indeed a huge weed in his life choking any chance for a healthy life he had. Unfortunately he just wasn’t ready to recognize it yet.
Weed of Wisdom #2: Weeds have deep roots and we need to get to the bottom of them and uproot them as soon as possible. It is not enough to just cut off the tops and hope no one will notice. We can all be guilty of this at times. We try to do the least intrusive methods. An example might be if you are trying to cover up a smoking problem, you spray perfume all around you. This will not cover it. You are truly fooling yourself. I had to literally wrestle with some real weeds in my actual backyard garden. I tell you, they were not coming out without a fight. The weeds were huge and were becoming very noticeable. It is like that in life with our problem areas and struggles as well. A subtle small habit or activity can seem quite innocent at first, yet before we know it, that issue has a stronghold in our lives. What could have been easily treated, has now become a much more difficult issue to address.
Weed of Wisdom #3: Many weeds are quite beautiful, but don’t be deceived as they are still harmful. I have received many dandelion bouquets over the years from my students and children. As they think they are giving me a wonderful bouquet of flowers each time, I have never had the heart to tell them differently. I cannot tell you how many times I have found a Styrofoam cup and water and put them on my desk recognizing the love that came behind them. Pretty “weeds” in our lives can be difficult for us to see as well. They may be things that we perceive as harmless or they may even be healthy activities, yet our lives may be way off balance. For example exercising is wonderful but if you are spending hours at the gym and minutes with your family, something is terribly wrong. Likewise, if you invest much time and energy into keeping a clean house, yet will not respect those who live in it, take a hard look at the situation. Changes are necessary.
Weed of Wisdom #4: Weeding is an ongoing process. As mentioned, you do not weed once and think your job is done. Regularly we need to check in on our progress in our areas targeted for growth to ensure we are on track. Old habits can creep back slowly like troublesome weeds and before we notice it they are a force to be reckoned with once again.
Weed of Wisdom #5: Stay with the flowers. Don’t surround yourself with those who are continuing in the behaviours you are trying to avoid. If you are trying to become less critical, don’t hang out with critical people, or if you are attempting to overcome an addiction, don’t associate with people who are actively involved with what you are trying to avoid. For instance if you are trying to stop drinking, don’t hang out in bars, or if you are trying to eat healthier, don’t frequent the junk food aisles of the grocery store. Some people or settings may need to weeded out of your life permanently to become truly successful. People who are winning the victory over weeds and avoid relapsing recognize their individual triggers and make a conscious effort to change their routines so they can make better and lasting progress in their recoveries.
Making changes can be very difficult. The weeds you want to address may have been a part of your life for many months or even years. They may even seem comfortable and familiar to you. You may have the desire, but do not know how or where to begin. The good news is you are not alone! Many people want and need to make changes. God’s words says “He gives us beauty for ashes, and the oil of joy for mourning.” In other words God specializes in giving us beautiful flowers in our lives instead of ugly weeds. You are worth it and you deserve to bloom in all the beauty that was intended for your life. Also our God is a ever present help in trouble and He will help you to resist temptations if you ask Him for help. Maybe you could also benefit from professional help. Please be open to this option too if your situation warrants it. Such options could include addictions counselors, pastoral care workers, marriage and family therapists and self help groups such as AA or NA. This help can really assist you on your journey of positive change. Your journey of positive change begins with the first step. Don’t be afraid to step out in faith. A whole new life awaits you! Get out your gardening gloves and off you go! Happy weeding!
Right there with you,
Hebrews 12: 1-2 Therefore since we are surrounded by such a cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders us and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.
Little Lesson Learned: Weeding is a necessary and healthy process so we can truly grow into the healthy, uninhibited people we were meant to be.
Copyright: Littlelessonslearnedbydana, 2014