Last year, my yard sprouted some beautiful perennials in various colors and textures. But among the flowers and bushes, dandelions thrived. I spent hours at a time, on my knees, digging out those weeds. My back hurt, my knees were scraped raw and my gardening gloves developed holes in all the fingers. It was a constant battle, and I suffered physically for every hour I spent in my garden.
This year, I have a different plan. Dandelions have once again invaded my garden and lifted their fuzzy heads in the middle of my perennials. But this year, I’m not going to kill myself trying to fight them. Because my schedule is even more challenging this year, I plan to cordon off weed-killing time to small patches of the garden. Rather than trying to weed every area of my yard during an entire Saturday, I will work in segments.
This weekend, I’ll weed and mulch a small four-foot area where my peonies, daisies and salvia live. Next week, I’ll tackle the area around my yellow roses. Another day, I’ll work around my herbs and strawberries. Just one small section at a time – to save my back yet complete the work. I will need patience as I sculpt, mulch and dig, but patience is one of the qualities of a gardener. My yard won’t be cleared of weeds all at once, but a little at a time.
The same plan needs to happen in my spiritual life. Sure, I would like the Holy Spirit to swoop into my soul and make me like Christ – all at once – forever and ever amen. But more likely, He works on one spiritual weed at a time, one section of my soul that needs to forgive or grieve or learn. As the Spirit digs in me, He pours the nourishment of the Word over those sores. He stitches me back together and kisses the scars. He covers me with His wings and shines His light on the beauty left behind. Then He plants in me something new – a perennial of truth that will thrive every year and surprise me on bleak mornings.
Just one weed at a time, one segment at a time. The Spirit’s work won’t kill me, but in the long run – at the end of the season – He’ll plant something beautiful that will last for eternity.