One of the many things I admire about Carla Foote, our blog manager here at Really, is her courage to "dig." Both in the gardens around her house where she grows pretty things. But also in the soil of her life where God is growing her character. Pull out your own garden trowel and read on ...
Just Ignore the Weeds
By Carla Foote
I like to focus on the positive in my garden, especially this time of year when there are so many amazing perennials in bloom. The candytuft, basket of gold and lilacs have faded, but bright orange poppies and a mixed palate of iris grace my yard right now. A few roses have started opening and the peonies are budded and bobbing their heads in the breeze. Along with many weeds. Many, many weeds. The moist spring and good soil that brings forth beautiful perennials also results in bountiful weeds.
I make an effort to get ahead of the weeds, but I get discouraged as they seem to pop up faster than I can dig them out. Hence my strategy of ignoring the weeds and focusing on the positive. It's a Strengthfinder approach to gardening! (Strengthfinder is a leadership technique - and book - which focuses on bringing out the best in individuals by maximizing their strengths rather than focusing on negatives.)
Except that focusing on beauty has a limit. At some point the bindweed isn't just ugly, it actually chokes out plants. I did some research on bindweed and found that the roots and seeds can live for decades under asphalt. That is some tenacious ugly! And thriving weeds compete with flowers for precious water.
In the same way that ignoring weeds in my garden has a limit, so does my avoidance of ugly in my character. Yes, I am created in God's image, but I am broken, flawed, and sometimes despite my best intentions and efforts, the weeds in my life flourish and threaten to choke out the good.
I was pondering this dilemma on a recent walk around the neighborhood (looking at flowers and weeds). I was trying to identify the root of the "weed" issue in my own life. And I was reminded of a flaw, deeply rooted in my character. I like to be right - about everything. And that can be more than annoying, it can be damaging. Oh sometimes this character trait can be seen as a strength. As an editor, being precise is usually a positive attribute. But this desire to be right can be damaging when I wield it on those closest to me. My husband doesn't need me telling him the "right" way to drive when I am in the passenger seat. My friends don't need me informing them of a better way to handle a situation.
I wonder if the root of this weed is about something deeper than being right. Perhaps it reflects some underlying insecurity. By being "right" I can assert that I matter, that I am needed, that I am important. But it is a hungry, insecure, grasping for significance.
So how do I eradicate this weed in my character? I am still figuring this out - day by day. It takes time and effort to dig deep and get to the ugly roots, to stay ahead of fresh weeds sprouting. Because just like flowers, weeds are perennials, and they come back. Yet, even though the ground was cursed in Genesis 3, there is also the promise of redemption. Jesus is remaking me, and digging out weeds continuously, as I allow him to transform me. I limp on, imperfectly, sometimes choked by weeds, and sometimes allowing him to dig deeper, moving toward the beauty he created in me.
Carla Foote is the Really blog manager and also writes and edits for other clients through
her freelance business, www.fineprintedit.com. She enjoys the variety of freelance and the ability to step out of her home office and into her garden for breaks during the day and see what's blooming, such as her poppies pictured here.