Monday, April 29, 2013

The Garden of My Heart

“The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.”

- Isaiah 58:11

 A few weeks ago Lila and I planted a garden. We planted sunflowers, three different colors of bell peppers, watermelon and tomatoes. I thought it would be a great thing for us to do together and decided to do it for a few reasons:

·        To teach her about the discipline required to care for plants through daily watering, weeding and harvesting.

·        To teach her about the life cycle of plants.

·        To reap the benefits of home-grown, pesticide-free fruits and vegetables.

I thought that most of this would be for Lila. I didn’t realize, though, that I’d gain so much in the process. Not only am I learning how to grow these plants, but I am learning so much about discipline, growing and changing.

Over the next three weeks, I’ll share some of my insights with you on these three areas. Today, let’s talk about discipline.

I often find it difficult to be disciplined in things I know I should, but planting this garden has taught me that I can be disciplined. So far, I’ve seen that one of the keys is to keep the end in mind, as Stephen Covey encourages. So far, I’ve managed to remember to water almost every day! I spent a lot of money on the raised bed kit, the plants and seeds. If I fail to water, all of that will be wasted! Not to mention the future fruits and vegetables we will harvest. So, with the end in mind, I choose to accept the steps necessary to get there.

Oh, how I long for this discipline in so many other areas of my life, like exercising, writing, studying Scripture, reading, house cleaning, etc. I so often start to make a change, and then fall off the wagon somehow. Or metaphorically speaking, I plant the garden and never water it. Being a busy mom and wife, I have so much to do and most of the time, I feel like I don’t have enough time to do it all. Do you ever feel that way?

Right now I’m in a Bible study and we’re going through Lysa TerKeurst’s Unglued study. It has been great for me to evaluate why I react the way I do. One of the important truths I’ve learned is imperfect progress. She says that if we give ourselves the grace to make imperfect progress, then we can make lasting changes in our lives. Sure, we’ll all fall off our routine, have a bad reaction or cheat on our diet from time to time because we aren’t perfect. We so often give up or vow that it’s not possible for us to change because we messed up.

But, falling off doesn’t mean we can’t ever get back on track. As long as we’re better off today than when we started out, we’re making progress. We all need to give ourselves grace to make imperfect progress.

So, with imperfect progress in mind, I’m growing this little garden. Because of it, I have much that I want to do in the garden of my heart. I’m so encouraged by my little plants because I see that progress is possible. With each step toward discipline and positive change, growth can emerge. 

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