Weed Attack

The weed attack makes it clear, along with the heat and afternoon thunderstorms. Summer has arrived, even before the calendar called it. The plants are happy, and I head for the A/C. But I’ve learned the hard way with weeds. The longer I let them grow, the more they multiply, sending out runners or spraying seeds everywhere (except for the hitchhikers I have to pull out of Lily’s paws and off our socks). So I go out early, as often as possible, and clear a small area, til I’m irrigating it with perspiration, then retreat inside.
weeds and briers

overgrown by weeds

Sarasota FL

I used to defend weeds, preferring any growth to bareness. I’ve learned the hard way what a pain weeds are when they grow where I don’t want them, and smother and eventually kill desirable plants. Then even the good stuff has to come out.

And there is always a new weed, another area to dig out.

But if I get it while it’s small, it’s easy.

However, if I just swipe at a weed, simply topping it, even to soil level, it will grow back. And the next time I try to pull it out, the stem is stronger and the roots have dug in for battle. It is almost impossible to get it out without attacking the weed with a sharp tool.

I don’t like the activity, but I’ve learned valuable life lessons from weeding.

There are some things that have to be pursued to the roots. Everything has to go.

How many times do we try to change a habit or attitude by simply deciding to, then, in time, find ourselves in worse shape, controlled by what we thought we could handle?

If we really want to rid ourselves of ugly attitudes or behaviors, actions or emotions that harm us or impede relationships, sometimes we have to go after the weeds.

Dig. Down. Deep.

It is hard work, no getting around that.

Ask one who has labored for years through therapy for childhood abuse, or the alcoholic who attends AA meetings week after week, working down the 12 Steps.

Even when we succeed, it may be uncomfortable for a while, adjusting to the empty place, until the ordered inner life begins to feel real.

We fill those spaces, now waiting and fertile, with our dreams.

Having people who love us and support our healthy selves is food and water for good growth.

When we wake each day, we can choose to pull weeds or ignore them, or in the areas we’ve dealt with them, lay a weed barrier and begin to plant fresh and new, real and whole, on the way to being the person we were created to be, living, creating and loving.

I have to admit, I couldn’t pull out the biggest weeds in my life. The old pain had scarred over and embedded itself so deeply I thought it was who I was.

Like a child running to a good father, I ran to the Master Gardener, to the tender smile and open arms.

Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. Matt 11:28

Through good counsel, loving friends and family, serious study of the Bible and the power of the Holy Spirit, the weeds are coming out.

Even in the midst of health issues the past couple of years I’ve felt whole.

More alive.

Blooming, at last!
Florida flowers

How have you been most successful with your weeds?

Are there some you have to keep pulling out?

Cut it out!

I love to see things grow, and pruning plants has been a struggle. When we moved from the Idaho desert to lush, semi-tropical Florida, I relished all the greenery and the 12-month growing season. When something unknown popped up that looked promising I allowed it to grow. In addition, as I walked my dogs, I couldn’t leave a living plant waiting for the garbage truck. Home it went, and into my garden. My slogan: Let it grow!

Too late, I found I’d welcomed weeds and invasive exotics (imported as potted plants). The only way to rid my garden of the pests would be to kill everything and start fresh.

I couldn’t, or wouldn’t, kill all my little darlings, so I spent days in the hot Florida sun and humidity, pulling weeds, trying to stay ahead of them before they took over and smothered my desirable plants.

When we moved to a house with over an acre of land, I encountered sandy soil that dries out quickly and areas that won’t support anything but weeds. This fostered my unfortunate “let it grow” bent.

After years of random growth in what my husband calls “Jane’s Jungle” and flagging energy, I’m daydreaming about a fire hose filled with weed killer. Wipe out everything. My new slogan: When in doubt, cut it out!

You may be wondering if you’ve wandered into the wrong website, or if I’ve suddenly shifted to a gardening blog.

Not really. All of my life I’ve felt God speak through nature. More than just the grandeur of a sunset or the power of boiling thunderclouds, even small things can whisper glimpses of truth. God weaves the power of his reality in us, and all around us.

It’s all a matter of having the eyes to see and the ears to hear.

After a year of struggling with my health, and my reluctance to cut things back, we had a lot of shaggy, pitiful looking plants. One cool spring morning several months ago I felt well enough to try out my new clippers. I managed to trim a few porterweed bushes before my arms turned to mush. Several weeks later, I was shocked to discover the difference between the trimmed ones and the ones which had grown uncontrolled for two years.

unpruned
unpruned

two weeks after being pruned
two weeks after being pruned

Then came the still, small voice.

Pruning came make you stronger, more attractive, more fruitful.

I thought of Jesus saying we’d do better to cut off a hand that gets us in trouble. That always sounded a little over the top. (Though I have to admit, there was an abusive person I’d have been happy to apply that one to. But not myself!)

Pruning – correcting — is an area where I’ve tended to get in a muddle. My version was working to get it right, please everyone.

That left me with stunted growth.

A few times I’ve gone to the other extreme, thrown off constraint and ‘lived it my way.’ That was like an untended garden covered with weeds, the good getting blanketed by the undesirable. And the littlest ones getting hurt the most.

Now I understand my part — Controlling those thoughts that drive so much undesirable emotion, action, or inaction.

I am learning to take every thought captive.

You may have heard that a lot. I figured it meant to think “nice things.” Yes, we are encouraged to put our focus on good things.

But for me, right now, it means recognizing the lies I’ve listened to far too long, and giving them the boot, with the help of God’s Spirit.

The voice that says I can’t make that phone call,
can’t face that person,
can’t handle the traffic or the crowds,
can’t say something another doesn’t want to hear,
can’t disturb the water,
can’t make that person mad,
the voice that pesters me for days over something I said, or didn’t say,
worrying me about what “they” think.

I thought it was just who I was, the way I think and feel, the results of my nature and my childhood.

But I see now that I can chose to cut those thoughts out of my life, one lie at a time.

It’s hard.

Sometimes it hurts.

But I’m liking the results. And that encourages me to go for even bigger ones.

What about you? Do you struggle with any of this?
Are there lies you’ve believed you’d like to be free from?