Saturday, July 13, 2013

My Weeding Adventure: Sidewalk, Mulch, Thoughts

Maybe this isn't the "perfect" picture to start off this post ... 
but, then again, maybe it is.  
It's our front sidewalk that Grandad & I meticulously laid just a month before Lucy graced us with her presence. It took a lot of hard work, tons of sweat, and truckloads of his patience with his sidekick helper -- me.  It took me about 4 hours, but I finally pulled out all some of the weeds that had overtaken this walkway.  As you can see, I still have to pull out the weeds from the mulch bed ... 
but at least the sidewalk has been weeded. 
(And I will add that since this picture was taken, just one little section of the mulch-bed awaits its weeding)

Over the past few weeks, I have spent countless hours weeding -- sidewalk, patio, pool landscape (look out driveway -- your turn is fast approaching). I wish I could say that I did the weeding as I should have -- out of the direct heat of the sunlight, always with plenty of sunscreen, hydrating as I should, protecting my hands with gardening gloves
(you get the idea) -- but I simply cannot.  

(As you can see, I used "surgical" gloves -- not much for protection though. However, very useful for making sure I pulled the roots as well as the weeds. AND one of my girls must have "told on me" to my Mother. On a recent visit to GG & Grandpa's, my Mother gave me a pair of her gardening gloves to protect my hands!)

And so the picture above leads me to the next aspect of weeding from the past few weeks -- 
weeding my thoughts.

When I was outside pulling the pesky weeds by their roots ...
ridding the sidewalk & mulch beds of the unsightly weeds ...
preserving the beauty of the roses, shrubbery & landscape ...

I had
countless hours alone with my Savior ...
countless minutes alone with my King ...
countless seconds alone with my Creator.

I shed tears ...
I asked questions ...
I praised Him.

Just as our sidewalk and mulch beds needed to be rid of unsightly weeds, so did my thoughts. I will be the first to admit that sometimes -- more often than they should -- my thoughts focus on things that are negative. I can be a rather pessimistic person (although I "reason" it out by saying that I'm just "realistic" --
but I'm really just hoping to find a way to justify my negative thinking).

While I've been weeding in the sweltering sun (in between the unusual amount of rain we've been experiencing), a particular passage has come to mind ... one that God breathed through the life of Paul as he was held prisoner. I personally love reading through this letter to the Philippians because Paul uses his sufferings to describe the purest of joy we all can have through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(And this includes our thoughts too!)

(New Kings James Version) Philippians 4:4-9 ... 

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!  Let your gentleness be known to all men.  The Lord is at hand.  Be anxious for nothing, 
but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, 
let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, 
which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and mind through Christ Jesus.
(this next verse has been my focal verse for the past few weeks)
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, 
if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy -- 
meditate on these things. 
The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, 
and the God of peace will be with you.

If prisoner Paul could focus on the good that God had done and give praises to God in whatever situation he was in ... surely I can think on things that are
true ... noble ... just ... pure ... lovely ... good report.

One of my childhood pastors would always say that God never minced words ...
that He didn't put words into His Word just to "take up space".  And this encouragement from Paul has driven home to me. When I think of what I'm supposed to think about (meditate on), I've been wondering ...

Does God want me to think on the positive things of life so that He can take care of 
the negative things? 
If I'm so focused on negative, am I giving thanks to Him?  
How can I approach the Throne of Grace when I'm ranting & raving over negative things?  
If I'm worried about things, how can I "be anxious for nothing" at the same time?
Can I rejoice about what God has done in my life, 
but yet complain about what hasn't come about yet?

This is one area of my life that I have absolute control over --

my thoughts ...
they are mine
I own them

And just like weeding my sidewalk and mulch beds ...
when it's completed -- it's beautiful.
but they need continued care to keep the weeds out and
the roots from taking over from the ground to the surface.

It's my continued prayer to focus on the things that God desires ...
and allow Him to take care of everything else.
My thoughts (just like the weeds) can be manageable if I take care of them when the negative
springs through my mind ...
it's much harder to control once negativity has taken root.

A work in progress ...

 just like me.