Today I was doing some well overdue gardening which ended up with me chopping into a plant which had decided to try and overtake my garden bed. I’ve been walking past this particular plant for months now and saying, “I’ve got to get to that plant before it crowds out all the neighbouring plants and kills them”. However today my lack of action in attending to an obvious issue revealed something, which I think, relates to our lives in general.
As I chopped away at the flourishing mass of greenery I discovered several plants underneath that it had killed off because it had crowded out and taken their sunlight and water. More than that, as I pulled the pruned pieces of plant away I discovered its dead wood and a lot of smelly muck underneath. It was actually quite unpleasant and it struck me as I dealt with the mess that my gardening job would have been a lot easier if I had acted when I had first noticed the problem.
How often in life we can be like my garden? My rampant plant started off being an asset and quite harmless in my garden bed. It was actually a beautiful compliment to everything around it. However unhindered and with no boundaries it quickly became a hindrance, destructive and not what I wanted at all.
Most things in life can be like my overgrown plant. God gives us gifts, sends blessings, relationships, provision and opportunities our way, which are designed to benefit and be something of beauty in our life. However if we don’t maintain balance, have healthy boundaries and seek God’s wisdom then these gifts and assets can quickly turn into something else.
Take for example the job you’ve always wanted. You pray, believe and do what’s needed to position and prepare yourself to step into that space. Finally God blesses you with this amazing job, your dream unfolds and you are thankful and enjoy what you are doing. Everything is going great until you begin to not be able to relax, have enough time to spend with loved ones, neglect other pursuits and keep the rest of your life in balance because of “the job”. Now you’re finding that the job, which was previously a blessing has taken over your thought life, relationships and your heart and God space. Eventually if left unattended this job will even kill off all the other dreams and pursuits you’ve had in your life until you are left with only “the job” and very little else.
In every area of our life if we don’t walk in wisdom and listen to and heed God’s leading and Word we can find ourselves allowing what was initially created to be a benefit and allow it to overtake and diminish our life. Take also for example food, alcohol or even exercise, which in the right quantities and in moderation are designed to bring joy, nourishment and better health. These elements in our lives are meant to act as an asset in celebrating life and living well, but they can easily become harmful if we fail to create proper boundaries or won’t make wise choices.
When we can see we have an issue with something that is taking over in our life and we leave it, we can easily find ourselves in trouble just like my rampant plant had overtaken my garden and killed off everything near it. Leave it for a week, then a month, then a year and these previously harmless and even beneficial things become all we think about, a source of pain, a cause of addiction and if unchecked the very things which will diminish and kill off not just our relationships, time with God and other people but also our dreams and very lives.
Today I encourage you to do some “gardening” and bring into rightful place those things in your life that have been allowed to run rampant. Some things perhaps will have to be pulled out altogether and never allowed in your life again – for you they are toxic and dangerous.
Other things just need to be given the proper boundaries and limits so they become a blessing to be enjoyed rather than something destructive and all consuming. God will give you wisdom if you ask as to what needs to be done to restore a healthy balance because what is okay for one person may not be right for another. His plan is always to bring peace, joy and fullness of life so trust Him, put aside your pride and your way of doing things and let Him lead you. He after all is the Master Gardener. (John 10:10; John 15)
Jesus said, “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.”(John 15:1-2 NLT)
“And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death: Sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That’s a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God.”(Colossians 3:5 The Message)
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”(Philippians 4:8 ESV)
Prayer: Lord please help me to have wisdom as I look at the different areas of my life with honesty and without pride or stubbornness. I ask that you prune away and put in its proper place everything in my life. I want the plan and life you have designed for me, so could you please show me what that looks like today so I can start to walk in it. In Jesus name Amen