What are you “growing” in the garden of your life?
The past few summers, my sons and I have been cultivating a pretty concentrated vegetable and fruit garden. It started as a chance to teach my younger sons how diligence and hard work pay off in a tangible way – healthy, tasty vegetables they can enjoy with the rest of the family. Every year, when we go pick out some new plant babies to carefully sow in our garden, we enthusiastically pick out all of our favorites and creatively try to plant them all in our small plot of land. As they grow throughout the summer, the plants inevitably expand beyond the borders of the garden. These cucumbers, strawberries, squash, watermelon, zucchini, and cauliflower all combine into one tangled mess! It’s pretty entertaining really.
After starting this year’s garden, I was studying with my Father a few days ago when He reminded me of the verse in Galatians 6:9 which states:
Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.
I was intrigued with what He was trying to share with me, so I kept listening as He showed this well-known verse to me in a new way. He revealed that I can actually “grow” weary like I was cultivating our garden’s fruits and vegetables. He even shared with me how I was doing that in my life! Just like I had planted and cared for baby carrots in my garden, I was planting and nurturing some habits in my heart that were going to produce weariness and discouragement in my life!
Complaining and Murmuring
When we repeatedly meditate and talk about our problems and challenges, we are sowing seeds of discontentment in our lives that grow and bear the fruit of weariness! Complaining is discontentment and faultfinding displayed to others, and murmuring is discontentment and faultfinding displayed to ourselves. As we engage in these activities, we are sowing seeds from which we don’t want to reap! They steal our joy in very things that bring us the greatest satisfaction and the passion we have for our purpose.
Everyone has circumstances that we would like to see changed, but if we focus on those things instead of God’s goodness or what God has done, we will become dissatisfied with where we are and might even give up!
David says in Psalm 27:13,
I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living.
Replacing the seeds of complaint and murmur with praise and thanksgiving will change the fruit of weariness to joy and passion for the things of God!
Isaiah 61:3 tells us Jesus came,
To grant those who mourn in Zion,
Giving them a garland instead of ashes,
The oil of gladness instead of mourning,
The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.
So they will be called oaks of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
It glorifies God for us to be glad, joyful, thankful, and passionate!
We will also reap “weary” when we are overly occupied with our own situations instead of focusing on Jesus or how we can bless others. Even as Jesus was going through the crucifixion, scourging, physical and mental abuse, rejection, and death, He wasn’t meditating on what He was going through. Hebrews 12:1-2 tells us He was focused on the joy of God coming as a result of His suffering. He was looking toward the reconciliation His blood was purchasing for us all. As He let go of Himself, He found the strength to endure those challenges and not give up. We certainly have nothing to endure even remotely similar to what He did for us, but He wants us to follow His pattern of being God- and others-focused.
Hebrews 12:3 says,
For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Using praise and thanksgiving will again help us to shift our focus higher than just what we see in the natural. Looking humbly toward God, knowing His great love for us is His motivation for everything He does in our lives, will help us to maintain an attitude of joy and worship at all times, and we will not grow weary in the gardens of our lives!
To me, it sounds foolish to keep doing activities that I have learned lead to a state of despair, weariness, and hopelessness. If you struggle with weariness, discontentment, or discouragement sometimes, join me in sowing the seeds that we want to reap from too! Let’s grow joy, contentment, and thanksgiving instead of growing weary.