Pull those weeds!

I have had a lot of interaction with weeds lately thanks to having a small jungle in our backyard.  We bought a house in Central Florida on a creek where the backyard had been “let go.” We tore through the canopy of vines, pulled a bajillion weeds several times and laid nice sod which, a year later, was blanketed in a couple feet of sand thanks to the 500-year flood that Hurricane Ian dropped. The sand lasted several months giving us quasi beach conditions until spring came and sprouted a nice crop of weeds. Ian also decided for us that it was time to take out our 40-year-old decaying deck.

Prepping our yard for its makeover is when I spent hours and hours with weeds. They are actually fascinating. I was not interested in their scientific or even common names, but in their characteristics. They come in every size and personality imaginable — tall, wide, ground huggers and some that leave you with “gifts.”

Weeds are an eyesore

My experience with them inspired me to write about how I see our lives played out in nature. Weeds are something that is not desired, which reminds me of sin. Like weeds, sin comes in so many forms. We need to recognize that in order to have a nice lawn that is pleasing and representative of a Christ-filled life, we need to clear out the undesirable, dark parts of our lives.

Tall and terrifying

The first kind of weeds are the ones that are most noticeable. They are tall and a bit terrifying, like substance abuse, adultery, physical violence, etc. For the most part, the world agrees that they are easily tagged as sins. Taking one of those babies out, makes a huge difference in your life.

Take out the easy ones

Then there are those that are very bushy and super easy to pull out.  Those are great because they can literally take a square foot of space, so with one easy pull, you clear a satisfying piece of ground. Think of something you can grab hold of out of your life and it makes such a difference. This isn’t always easy to identify, but if you are feeling stressed, you have the “busy” quality. Maybe it’s clearing up some time for others, like getting off social media and helping your neighbor or co-worker. Or giving some time to fellowship with God, tune in to the Holy Spirit or reflect on Jesus’ love for us. Suddenly, you feel lighter because time does not have a grip on you. It no longer owns your productivity. Maybe it’s getting rid of something that costs you money that you really don’t need. Now your budget is freer and then you can save, give a little more to charity or others who are financially struggling.

Sneaky snakes

The ground huggers are the most menacing! They lay low and run, trying to stay inconspicuous, but very effective. They reroot and keep going and going. These sins are not identifiable on the surface, but they do lead to unsettled living. They may be lying to others, unintentional bragging, jealousy, prejudice, really anything that isn’t too glaring. These sins can subtly rule your life to where you don’t let loving others in.  They can crawl into your children, affecting your family for many, many generations (sins of our fathers).  It can also infiltrate any group — friends, coworkers, neighbors, even a nation.  In weeding, these are definitely the hardest for me to deal with.

Shake ‘em off

Then, there are the frustrating ones that have burs or sticky seeds on them. Barely touching them, you get covered. These are little things you struggle with constantly — dealing with traffic, having paperwork pile up, taking the dogs out many times a day and constantly going to the grocery store.  These are not all sins, but things we can get bitter about. They are part of life.  If we don’t take care of them, we will keep collecting them until we are covered. These kind of weeds also remind me of social media.  We can easily get wrapped up in all the tidbits of information and influences, that we let them take over and fail to see the forest for the trees.

Turn yourself over to God

The great thing about all of these weeds is that they can be ripped out! Just like Jesus said that if something causes you to sin, then get rid of it (Matthew 5:29-30). We can profess our belief in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, but still let weeds grow. It’s not until we also obey what God says, follow Jesus’ example and listen to the Holy Spirit that our yard becomes beautiful and attractive to others. If people see all of your weeds, they won’t want to believe anything you say, including being a Christian because the weeds show you aren’t living a righteous life. If your soul is cared for properly by working hard to keep the weeds out, others will be drawn to that beauty and get a glimpse of the comfort you feel and confidence you exude by following Jesus.

This means continuously obeying God’s word and allowing the Holy Spirit lead you instead of trying to control your life yourself.  The Spirit helps identify weeds and warns you about potential threats. If we have a good foundation — or “sod” in our analogy — we can keep the weeds at bay. The goal is to show others how beautiful your soul is so they will want that fulfilling life for themselves and create their own immaculate lawn.

Sorry if this is a bit cringy.  But, go pull some weeds and you will see what I’m talking about.  It’s very satisfying to toss them into a yard waste can and have them hauled away.  Thank you, Jesus!!!