September 11, 2011


This used to only be one bush. And it used to look attractive (promise).

There are certain things that come along with home-ownership . . . like not being able to call the maintenance man to change a lightbulb (in my defense, it was too high to reach), having to change one's own air filters (which reminds me . . .) and then a little bit of "garden" work you could say.

The people who lived here before me planted a few bushes and flowers behind the patio. It looked really good when I first bought the house. Buuuuut do I know anything about maintaining plants? Absolutely not. Do I want to know anything about maintaining plants? Only if it is extremely necessary. Hence, my patio now has a mutant colony growing through the bushes.

Shortly after I moved, my dad came over and showed me which plants were weeds, how to get rid of them, etc. I even bought a hose to water the flowers.

I've seen that hose . . . maybe twice. I mean, it keeps raining, so I'm good, right?

Well, if I would have kept an eye out and picked weeds on a regular basis, you would actually see something aesthetically pleasing when you sat on the patio. But now it's the little shop of horrors.

What happens is, I'll be sitting out on the patio and notice this and think, hmmm - I should do something about that. Then I get distracted because I have to go to the gym or make an appointment or return an email or learn a new Nicki Minaj song.

So . . . the next thing you know, there's a monster living behind my patio.

I thought about it today (while still not doing anything about it . . . I mean, I'm going to have to buy gardening gloves before I can tackle that junk) . . . and how it resembles the state of my heart.

Whenever I let some behavior, attitude, sin pattern unchecked (and fail to "prune" my heart), it slowly develops over time. One day, the garden (I know I don't have a garden, but let's just call it that for now) looks gorgeous and manicured. Two days later, a few weeds appear but they're harmless . . . plus, I've got other things to tend to. Two weeks later, that sin has completely ravaged my heart and taken over.

I allow life's distractions (those little things I think are so urgent) to take over and keep me from maintaining my heart where it belongs. Until enough time passes for it to cause more of an effect than I realized it would.

Just a random thought from today . . . maybe I'll remember to buy gardening gloves one day . . . or just wait for winter to come and take it out . . . survival of the fittest, right?

September 3, 2011

In Regards To Myself

(I am listening to Underoath right now, which inspired the title of this post)

Learning things the hard way . . . or (re)learning that life is a process - a life-long process.

I have found myself asking God to give me patience, the capacity to trust Him with my life, contentment, etc. And you know what? I've discovered that I sometimes (more often than I'd like to admit) expect these prayers to be answered by a revelation, or a single moment in which, I'll wake up transformed from the girl I am now into the most patient, trusting, peaceful person ever.

Then I get frustrated and impatient because I'm not changing fast enough, or God isn't magically transforming me overnight. Then I realize this, and have to laugh at myself.

I'm glad He doesn't answer prayers or behave in a way that I always expect Him to . . . because He is so much bigger than my perceptions of Him. I still have so much to learn about His character and His ways.

Paul, in Philippians, writes:

I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
-Phil 4:11-13

Notice that he says he's learned to be content . . . not that he was born with this ability or magically became that way overnight. Having learned something is a process . . .

I was listening to one of JD's sermons on this passage last week and it was really encouraging just to be reminded that God uses our struggles and our failures to teach us, refine us, to build character and to bring us closer to Him.

I am finding that the frustrations and struggles that I'm walking through are the answer to my prayers for patience and for the ability to trust God. I can't become patient overnight (that would be ironic) . . . I have to process it over time and through a trial. How else can I learn these things if I don't have to work through them?

Honestly, the times in my life where I've had to work through a process and really wrestle with something are the times where I've grown and learned the most. And those are the times where God has reminded me of His immense patience and faithfulness . . . thank goodness He's more patient with me than I am with myself.
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