My backyard is my haven. It’s my favorite place to retreat.
And my favorite time to be outside is from spring through fall. I walk barefoot in the yard all the time, even when it starts to get cold.
I love to discover unexpected beauty, but most of the time I discover weeds. Lots of weeds.
My first summer in the house was an experiment. I was new to serious yard care and gardening—new enough that I didn’t really know the difference between the makings of a weed and the makings of a flower. I let everything grow. The results were messy, and the yard was out-of-control!
Somewhere in my mind, I knew the “right conditions” would produce amazing growth. I expected the rainy weeks to make things flourish. The problem was that I expected the right conditions to only produce the right growth. I did not expect so many weeds.
The reason for this is found in Genesis.
Right after the flood subsided and Noah’s family began a new life, God made a promise about how things would work moving forward. He observed the grateful, honoring sacrifices of Noah, and said:
While all the days of the land remain, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will not cease [Genesis 8:22 (TLV), emphasis added].
This cycle of seedtime and harvest is established by God as a foundational principle that governs and sustains life. Every year we can expect the same rhythms. It may be in varying forms—some years come with more rain than others—but it happens in predictable cycles.
Whether you’re nurturing natural seeds in the soil of the earth or spiritual seeds in the soil of your heart, seeds sown will germinate and grow (Hosea 10:12; Proverbs 4:23; Mark 4; Luke 8). It doesn’t matter what seeds we sow. All seeds, after a “period of original development” (aka time and germination), produce visible results.
For example, our thoughts, attitudes, expectations, beliefs, and habits are some of the ways we experience the intensity of this cycle on a daily basis. If you plant the seed of frustration when you wake up, you can reap what you sowed with yourself, your spouse, or your kids before ever leaving the house. Likewise, if you start the day with gratitude, it’s easier to handle what comes next. Depending on the day, it can seem as though the time between sowing and reaping is a matter of minutes or seconds!
Under the right conditions, this cycle of sowing and reaping will always reveal more than we expect. To evaluate well, you have to get close to do the work. This means getting close to your success and being intentional about reflecting on where you are in the process and what you see happening in you and around you.
The question is: What will you do with what you discover?
Weeds in life aren’t always easy to recognize. Not all grow tall, and some weave themselves tightly among good growth, staying under cover and close to good roots.
Your weeds could be an unhealthy emotional pattern or attitude—something others see, but you don’t. It could be your tendency to overcommit. You see this trend, but can’t seem to help saying yes to it all. It might even be an unhealthy relationship at work or in your personal life.
Now… before you start equating weeds with your husband, family, or job, stop for a minute. You may be dealing with some difficult things, but removing (or leaving) them isn't always the answer, especially without careful consideration and wise counsel.
You know them better than you think! They consume your time, energy, productivity, peace, etc. and keep you spinning without relief. Too much Netflix. Too much complaining. Too much shopping on Amazon. Too much work. Too much time watching the news. Too much spontaneity. Too much procrastination. Too much worry. TOO MUCH.
What’s your TOO MUCH?
Can you see it now?
It may be something that can be removed with ease—roots and all, never to return (e.g. canceling your Netflix account). The joy of pulling the easy weeds is immediate.
Others may require tools for digging and a little extra patience. You may need a new planner, personal fitness trainer or a small group to keep you accountable.
Then there are the weeds with the really deep roots. These may be too well-established for you to remove without some serious help, like a trained professional or counselor.
Try it now with this simple exercise.
Consider your day. Look closely and ask yourself and answer two questions: What belonged? What didn’t?
Then look ahead to tomorrow. Ask yourself: What needs to be removed in order to have a greater focus on what matters most?
You can practice with a day, and then extend this to a week or even a month. We’ve even created a step-by-step guide to help you do this with greater intentionality. Just download “The Right Conditions” worksheet to get started.
In this natural season of new growth, we encourage you to get close and examine the growth in your life. Pull out what doesn’t belong so the good stuff grows to its full potential.
Dig in, and build life well!