My nickname at the gym is “No Sweat, Annette” for obvious reasons. Aside from a bit of dampness on my shirt, I simply don’t perspire. Until a few days ago, that is, while weeding in the flowerbed overgrown with weeds staging a coup. Water coursed down my face as I bent over repeatedly to yank weeds bigger than the size of Texas, soaked shirt sticking to my skin.
Most annoyances pulled out easily despite the dry ground until I encountered the Big Daddy of all weeds. I tugged, wrenched and pulled. It was immovable, roots clinging to the dirt underneath. Planting my feet on either side of the massive growth, I heaved. Nothing. What was holding this down?! Trying a different strategy, I grabbed ahold of the mass and began to twist closely to the ground. It finally gave way catapulting me flat on my behind. I felt like I had won a significant battle. A few hours later, the bed was cleansed of its ugly impurities while I, drenched with sweat, looked on with satisfaction.
Working in my garden and among my flowers, I am reminded often about the status of my heart. Weeds spring up quickly and become large obstructions to beauty similar to what occurs in my heart if I leave it unattended. What I think is just a small matter can become huge if I ignore it. When I ignore the weeds in my garden, they threaten the growth of the beans, cucumbers and peppers I’ve intentionally planted for my family’s benefit. However, it’s easy to see the problem because they have become colossal obstructions. A few hours of work and the nasty weeds are eradicated.
Sometimes foul issues lurk beneath as when weeds sneak in among flowers. I must move away some beauty to get to the roots. Just like the hidden weeds, I might not even realize what is concealed in the inner recesses of my heart. It’s fairly simple to recognize when I struggle with gossip, jealousy or anger. Even others can see those glaring faults. But what about those that I don’t even recognize? Could there be matters simmering in my heart that I am unaware of, that are hindering me from receiving all the bounty of God’s blessing?
This summer a beautiful honeysuckle vine choked the life out of my blackberry bush severely limiting the berry crop. How can such a pleasant, fragrant plant be an agent of death? And yet, no matter how many times I pulled life-sucking vines from the bush, they continued to wrap and thread their way through fruit laden branches. Does it work the same with me?
Perhaps my heart is capable of both at the same time: the hostile veiled from my eyes stunting my growth and the seemingly good twisting its way through my heart, choking out the bountiful fruit that God desires to bring forth in me.
Just today I was reminded of Psalm 19:12 which says, “Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults.” God knows what’s buried in our hearts; we just need to ask Him to reveal it so we can receive healing. We can pray with the David in Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” It might be that the offensive way in me is something crowding out the best God desires to show me.
Will you be courageous with me and ask Him to search your heart? When He reveals the mystery, let’s commit to yanking that ugly thing out by the roots!