Gardening: Fruit and Weeds

The house that I live in has a beautiful property. It has trees that bloom beautifully in the spring, many gardens and a corner property lawn. Unfortunately, because I'm a student and don't have time, the gardens and property have grown a little wild.

Bushes need to be cut back, there's more dandelions than grass and the front garden is in serious need of some perennials. A few weeks ago when I stumbled upon these raspberry bushes at the side of my house and I was so excited - amongst the mess something fruitful and wonderful grew! I started to get excited as I climbed through the plants to pick those little red berries, but after a few minutes I realized that it was harder than I thought.

Giant, 4 foot weeds had completely overgrown my raspberry bushes, making it congested and difficult to find the berries. Left unattended, these weeds had grown overtime unknown to me until I wanted to benefit from the fruit that had grown. As I tried to sort out which was a raspberry bush and which was a weed I noticed that the weeds weren't just preventing my berries from growing - they were killing them.

Sections of the bush had become black and shrivelled; once the potential for such sweet fruit, now dead decay. I realized that if I ever wanted more fruit to grow in my garden I needed to take out these weeds. But as I started to pull them out, the thorns on the raspberry bushes dug into my skin. The weed itself wasn't easy to pull out either and I had to really dig deep to yank it out.

Something left unattended for so long actually caused pain in the process of removing it. 

Eventually all that was left was my raspberry bushes - and I feel motivated to upkeep my garden in hopes of producing more fruit next summer.

Do you ever feel like that's an analogy for your life? It feels like one for mine. There are areas of my life that I tend to leave unattended, and in the process weeds take root. In the form of bitterness, envy, greed and jealously, sin seeps into the dark corners of my life.

I often don't notice it until it starts to crowd out and kill the good fruit that I produce. For instance, a healthy, positive friendship would be an example of good fruit in my life. But when my close friend starts to date an awesome guy and I'm still alone - envy surfaces. The fact that she was dating someone and I was still single didn't in itself cause the jealousy, it only exposed the sin that was already in my heart. I often try really hard to convince myself (and others) that I'm content with singleness and "don't need" someone else in my life. But this facade covers the bitterness and loneliness in my heart, and I don't realize the discontentment and jealously of others that stirs within me. I ignore those feelings and attitudes until that's all I see when I look at myself in a mirror.

Feeling jealous is a weed in my life and it eventually crowds out the good fruit of my friendship. Overtime it even works to kill that friendship, sucking its nutrients and not allowing it to thrive - just like my raspberry bushes. Often when I finally identify this sin in my life it's already taken deep root. By the time I work at trying to remove it, it causes us a lot more pain than expected. I'm motivated to remove that jealousy in my heart because I don't want to lose my friendship. But doing so requires humility, honesty and communication (with my friend, myself and God).

Recognizing that my attitude and behaviour is wrong and harmful is a very difficult and painful process. But when I feel envious towards my friend, I'm actually hating her in my heart. I'm called to instead love her and be happy for her. I'm called to trust where God is directing my life and be at peace with where I'm at. The good fruit produced by my friendship is way more beneficial in the long run than the comfort of leaving that weed alone. It's worth it to dig up that sin in my life and trust my unknown future to a known God. I can celebrate with my friend for her new relationship and I can celebrate that as I trust in God, He is leading me down my own path. After all, as most gardeners know, the best fruit is always worth the wait.

Have you ever experienced something similar in your own life? If so, comment below!