Pulling weeds isn’t the most exciting part of gardening, but it must be done. Somehow those pesky things manage to grow at a faster pace than the beauty that surrounds them, and if they’re left unattended they’ll completely take over.
So we dig. And we pull.
Doesn’t this make an interesting metaphor for our lives?
Negative thoughts are weeds that take root in our hearts and minds. Our focus and attention on them is like sunshine and water. So if we don’t want them growing and crowding out our joy, we must dig and pull.
This idea came to me when I was weeding between rainstorms this week. I quietly hunched over the dirt and thoughts began to pop up like lightning bugs…a nagging thought about an earlier conversation; a worried thought about a friend who has cancer; an anxious thought about my to-do list.
As I knelt and observed, these thoughts felt like seeds that were taking hold and sprouting rather quickly. And they weren’t turning into roses.
I needed to do some weeding.
I dug up each thought, pulled out the meaning and even thanked it for showing up and teaching me something, then let it go. After a few minutes, I was already feeling better and could see the gratitude beginning to flower.
I decided to jot down the five most common weeds we get tangled in, as well as the seeds we could plant in their place. >>
Weeds: Worried about saving enough for college or retirement, paying off credit cards, covering the bills, or making smart investments.
Seeds: Remember you’ve come this far. You’re smart. You’ve survived and found the resources you need. Feel thankful for the abundance you do have in your life – even if it’s just a handful of change at the bottom of your purse – and allow yourself to stay open to the possibility of prosperity.
Weeds: Feeling overweight or tired. Frustrated with your eating habits. Afraid of getting sick or maybe you’re dealing with a chronic illness.
Seeds: Notice your breath and allow yourself to feel your heart beating. Be amazed at the fact that you’re alive right now. Even if you’re in the midst of pain, put your attention on something (anything) that feels good. Think about the qualities you love about yourself and throw yourself a high five for a change. Also, find the courage to go to the doctor if you need to.
Weeds: Feeling lonely or hurt. Not sure who your true friends are. Afraid you said the wrong thing or offended someone you care about.
Seeds: Make a mental list of all of the people you’re thankful for. Who has crossed your path that made you happy, feel special, or even taught you a lesson? Allow all of these memories to fill your heart. Also, remember the times you’ve had to forgive someone on that list. Couldn’t they do the same for you? We’re all human – capable of mistakes and forgiveness.
Weeds: Afraid of failure. Anxious about that promotion. Nervous about a big meeting. Depressed about a job change. Unsure about your purpose overall.
Seeds: Relax and let yourself off the hook for a moment. You’re not responsible for saving the world. Focus on one day, one task, and one conversation at a time. Do your best in each moment. Find the specific actions – think verbs – that excite you, and do those things as much as you can. Fill your days with those verbs. For me it’s writing.
Weeds: Worried if you’re praying enough. Not sure if you’re following the right path. Feeling challenged by friends or people with different beliefs. Wondering why God lets bad things happen in your life.
Seeds: While this is a deeply personal topic, if you’re tangled in questions about your faith, keep praying. Pick up a prayer book, a Bible, a hymnal, or other spiritual book that’s meaningful to you and dive into the messages. I personally believe God is constantly communicating with us. We have to be willing to show up, open our hearts to prayer, and then quiet our minds long enough so we can tune into His station and hear what He has to say.
A final thought…
If you’ve ever done some gardening, you know one of the most satisfying feelings is pulling a weed and getting every last bit of its roots in one swift tug. It means there’s a chance that stinkin’ thing won’t come back. You’ve extracted it from its core. And most importantly, you’ve made room for something more beautiful to grow and take space in your yard.
Here’s hoping we can do this in our lives. Let’s make room for bouquets of joy that we can lovingly share.