Top Ten List: Garden Lessons Learned

In my last post, I shared about a lesson learned one day last month when I spent the afternoon attacking a garden patch that had been sorely overlooked. The lush green foliage deceptively hid its true identity - a massive pack of weeds. Entering into the belly of beast, I had no idea the many lessons I was about to learn. Here's my Top Ten in random order:

1. There is no "before" picture. Why? First of all, I wasn't expecting a spiritual lesson. I was just planning to do a job that I hated, but had to be done. Yet God found me there. When we remain open to hearing His voice, we may hear from Him in unexpected places. 

2. There also is no “before” picture because I’m not too eager to share my mess with the world. I prefer for people to see a lovely facade instead of the true mess. Same goes with my personal flaws. When we display only our “best self,” we run the risk of being dishonest or pretentious.

3. An enormous vine entwined around several trees and bushes to the point that the vine’s leaves looked as if they were the trees’ leaves. Finding the tree inside the vine-web required persistent searching. So does separating truth from lies. In a world where the media spews stories based on innuendo rather than facts, it can be hard to get to the truth.  And in the spiritual realm, Satan is the author of lies masquerading as a tree instead of a life-sucking vine. (John8:44)

4. Separating the vine from the trees required relentless perseverance. But the more I removed, the easier it became to continue on.  Let small conquests along the journey pave the way for future victory.

5. Getting started is the hardest part. Instead of focusing on the hours I’d spend, ending up a weary dirt-covered mess, I focused on just putting my shoes on. Then getting the tools I’d need. Tiny step by tiny step, I moved forward until the job was done. The joke “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” never felt more relevant. (Phil. 3:14)

6. The project became so massive due to one of my best-honed “gifts” - procrastination! The more we delay in facing what needs to be done, the greater the problem becomes. Whether it’s a relationship issue, a job situation, or a physical project, the sooner we address it, the better. Delay only makes a bad thing worse. (Prov. 24:33)

7. As much as it depends on you, do it right the first time. The garden beds where my son generously mulched last year had way fewer weeds to deal with than other areas that were thinly mulched. Great job AJ! It’s worth the extra effort and expense to do a complete job considering it an investment in the future.

8. I gained momentum as I made progress in removing the overgrown vine that had shrouded everything in the patch. Seeing the sun begin to peek through the branches revealed a beautiful Japanese maple I didn’t even know was there -thanks to the benevolence of a neighbor's giant Japanese maple sharing it’s seeds in the wind. The time and effort invested rendered a great reward, and I’m glad I stuck with it. Too often, I give up before the job is done and don’t know what I’ve missed because of that. (2 Cor. 8:11)

9. I’m a righty but at one point, with my right hand all tied up, I needed my left hand to do a job that it clearly wasn’t suited for. But despite its weakness, it did the job! Sometimes when we feel weak, facing a challenge helps us become strong. (James 1:2-4)

10. Sometimes a little support goes a long way. Wearing a knee brace and lower back support belt enabled me to work longer without getting weary. And going through hard times is much easier with the support and prayers of friends and/or family. (Heb. 10:25) How can you support someone today? 

 I went past the field of a sluggard,
    past the vineyard of someone who has no sense;
thorns had come up everywhere,
    the ground was covered with weeds,
    and the stone wall was in ruins.
 I applied my heart to what I observed
    and learned a lesson from what I saw:
33 A little sleep, a little slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest—
and poverty will come on you like a thief
    and scarcity like an armed man.
Prov. 24:30-34

How can you apply one of these truths to your life today?


quietspirit said...

Susan: I enjoyed your list of 10 lessons. From time to time,we DO need to learn or re-learn certain facts to help us through life. Thank you for sharing these pointers.

Raun said...

This is EXCELLENTLY written - and so full of practical truths! We ALL are still "weeding our gardens" - in many ways, both big and small. Thanks for taking a "drudge" task and turning it into a spiritual classroom. Job well done! {;0

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Susan -

You've give me much food for thought. I'm linking to this on Friday, 8/28/15.


Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Oops! That should be given me much food for thought.

Marja Verschoor-Meijers said...

Wow, so many lessons from a job you didn't like to do :) Thanks for sharing Susan!

Susan Panzica said...

Marja - so great to hear from you! Hope all is well on the other side of the pond ;D