I used to have a budding flower garden, but unfortunately all of those pretty flowers are gone, some of them have turned brown, and weeds have grown up in several patches. Because it’s colder than my preference, I limit my time outside these days and I didn’t even notice. That is until my husband and I attended a marriage retreat this weekend and the counselor said we must be intentional about pulling weeds and planting seeds in our marriage garden.
The counselor and his wife taught from Paul Tripp’s book, What Did You Expect? Redeeming the Realities of Marriage. In the book, Tripp asks couples to make growth and change a daily agenda. By pulling weeds, we daily commit to saying “no” to certain things. For example, I can commit to saying “no” to responding to my spouse with a sarcastic or disrespectful tone. Planting seeds means that we daily commit to saying “yes” to other things. I can commit to using my words to encourage my spouse.
One of the things I really like about this marriage book is: Tripp understands that fixing a marriage does not just center around the “marriage” passages in the Bible. Tripp brings the entire Bible to bear on our marriages, because the Bible is an eastern book which values relationships; therefore, any scriptures in the Bible and biblical teachings can be profitable for our marriages and other relationships in our lives. Hence, the pulling weeds, planting seeds principle can be applicable to all of us whether married or single.
As the counselor continued with the analogy of his vegetable garden, I got a mental picture of my flower garden. I thought about how beautiful it looked in the spring and how much my family and I enjoyed seeing the flowers blossom. When I got in the car, I said to my husband, “Remember how beautiful our flowers looked six months ago? Look how horrible our garden looks now all because we have not paid it any attention.” I understand that our flowers will not bloom all year, but how we till and nurture our soil in the off-season does provide a healthy environment for our flowers to continue to blossom every spring. Such is the case with our spiritual growth, self care, and personal lives.
We have to be intentional about pulling weeds (what or who we say “no” to) and planting seeds (what or who we say “yes” to), if we want continued growth, to present ourselves as beautiful, and display the glory of the Lord. We cannot neglect our personal relationship with the Lord, or neglect building healthy relationships with others. We cannot neglect our bodies or emotional health for months on end and still expect to feel vibrant and have joy. We cannot neglect the development of our minds and expect to grow in wisdom, knowledge and discernment.
Neglect in any of these areas will ensure weeds are growing, taking root, and robbing the healthy parts of our life of its nutrients. We must pull those weeds and plant seeds of God’s goodness in its place. We can choose daily to plant seeds of love, compassion, kindness, grace, patience…you get the picture. The Apostle Paul says we should “put off your old self” and “put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph 4:22-24).”
What weeds do you need to pull up today? What seeds do you need to plant?
© Natasha Sistrunk Robinson 2013