I’m not what you might call, an “outdoorsy” girl. I don’t love hiking or camping or gardening. But the house my husband and I are renting came with a jungle of a yard, so, I’ve been forced to get outside and work in the dirt. When I say jungle, let me explain: our trees (and part of our house) were all covered in vines top to bottom when we moved in. The fence that divides our house and our neighbors has trees growing through the fence. And on top of all of that, when spring came, so did the weeds – all throughout the yard. We spent hours outside managing what we could of the weeds. We uprooted some and just mowed over others. There were only so many hours in a weekend, so we did what we could.
The crazy things about weeds and vines, is that if you don’t get them up by their roots, they come back stronger and bigger and pricklier (at least in my yard).
So this weekend, my husband and I got serious about uprooting our weeds and vines. We wanted to take care of them once and for all.
And as I was digging and shoveling and getting dirt under my nails, I had a lot of time to think about all the Biblical references to weeds, vines, roots, and sin.
And it got personal. I looked around my yard and thought back to the efforts I had made to make my yard look pretty from the outside, but avoiding the root causes. I didn’t have the right tools for uprooting roots, so instead, I just worked on making the outside look good. I cut off weeds at the surface level and cut down branches at the base of trees, and for a while, my yard looked really good. I ripped down all the vines that I could reach, but didn’t have the strength to get at the root of them, so I left them.
And I got to thinking, this is often what I do with my sin (you saw where this was going, didn’t you?). I’m always so worried about what others think, so I make sure that I look put together from the outside. I spend so much time and energy working on how I appear that I don’t have any time or energy left to get at the root of things.
But as Adam and I did the sweaty backbreaking work of digging out the roots of the vines and weeds this weekend, I got a few practical takeaways that apply both my yard and my sin.
1. Uprooting things is better done in pairs or with a team. I couldn’t uproot some of the biggies in my yard on my own. Some of them required someone stronger to help me and others were a two person job. Bringing someone into the weeding process is critical and makes the work more bearable.
2. Having the right tools makes all the difference with uprooting. I couldn’t dig out huge roots without a shovel, and I can’t uproot deep issues in my life without the right tools, either (prayer, Bible, accountability, counseling…).
3. It’s ok if things look a little messy for awhile. This is a difficult lesson for me with my house, with my yard, and with my life. I love looking like I have it all together, but the reality is, I don’t. This weekend, we didn’t uproot every weed and vine that we wanted to, but we made progress. I need to remember that processes and messyness are part of doing the work, and it’s ok if others see an unfinished process.
Can’t you just hear the tree saying, “Ah, thanks! I feel so free!” I want that to be me!
What about you? How do you deal with weeds, vines, and roots in your spiritual life?