John and I stood side by side, staring at the mess of a garden in front of us.
We’d hacked down the hedge last spring, thinking we’d eventually rip out the bushes and put in new ones. Miracle of miracles, the bushes came back and looked great.
They were hideous.
We’d put off pulling them out for months. Too hard. Too deep. Too messy.
They’d mocked us long enough. Daring us to do something about insidious roots.
We tackled them. Having had rain for days, the ground was squishy and hopefully more willing to cooperate in giving up the roots of the nasty bushes.
We attacked the bushes with a shovel and an axe. Digging around the edges to loosen the the thinner roots. Using the axe to hack at the thicker ones. I’d pull them out as far as they could go, and John would continue to hack at the roots.
Until they were freed. And could be ripped out of the dirt.
John looked over at me. “We need more dirt.”
We did. Try as we might, the dirt that clung to the roots wouldn’t all come off. The holes that were left were more unsightly than the ugly bushes we were pulling out.
That’s life. There are those things in my life that I tolerate for longer than I should. A critical spirit. Being too judgmental. I pass it off as being insightful.
I find when I start digging around some of my bad habits and attitudes, they’ve grown roots into my soul. They become more a part of me than I want to admit. Addressing them becomes as uncomfortable as hacking at the roots of my ugly bushes.
I’m not going to get those messy parts of me all the way out. I’ll continue weeding them out as long as I live. But I can start filling in the holes left with better attitudes. Better plants. Better dirt.
We all have that broken nature, so the kind of plants we tend to nurture in our hearts are the hurtful kind. Impurity, jealousy, selfishness. The dirt of our souls isn’t healthy.
God grows new things in our hearts when we’re His.
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23
New dirt will grow new attitudes and perspectives. I need to fill in the gaps of my heart with fruit that only God can grow with soil He nourishes.
I’m a lousy gardener. I don’t enjoy anything about it. I tend to kill plants instead of nurturing them.
God is the Master Gardener. I’m one of His plants that He won’t ever abandon. His digging and pruning? If it makes a difference in what I become–something beautiful for Him–it’s worth it.
I need new dirt.