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Thursday, June 2, 2011

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Recently I was weeding in my mother’s garden, doing my best to make her place look lovely as she comes to visit soon. My own garden is overgrown, needs water and fertilizing. This week I dutifully washed and folded all of my children’s clothing, put them away and changed their bedding. My own laundry basket is overflowing and I scramble in the morning to locate something fresh, clean and appropriate to wear. Last night I emailed some friends and straitened the house, but I never took time to feed my spirit. Are you noticing a trend here?

I have neglected my own garden in order to take care of others. If you are familiar with the Boundaries books and philosophy, we are taught that our lives are like a garden. We are responsible to care for our own space, to plant, feed, nourish and protect that which is our responsibility. Too often, we become enmeshed in others’ gardens and neglect our own. We prop up their dreams, nourish their goals, invest in ornamentation and even deal with the compost. Husbands, children, co-workers, friends, church needs, family – all have come before the tending of my own garden at times, I still struggle with the balance.

But let me give you permission to take care of you. Do you need to do some weeding? Some feeding? Some planting? One of the things I have learned is to take stock of what I’m truly responsible for and what I’m not. Yes, all those things listed above are my responsibilities and I wasn’t wrong to do them. But it has been wrong of me to let things slide in self care. When the balance gets off kilter like this, it shows in my attitude and spirit.

One of the gifts of the great changes in my life is the chance to reset my own life. I’m planting the seeds of new dreams. I’m fertilizing them with achievable goals and investing in relationships that enhance the beauty of my garden. I’m dealing with the weeds by removing what is hindering the growth of what is most important or sucking energy from what I really want to be about. Some weeds look pretty, but they’re not intentional. I’m trying to use some of the ‘junk’ of my past to process into compost which can then enrich the soil for my future. It’s beautiful the way God can work all things into good when we’re willing to face what needs to change.

A lovely, beautiful garden – a place of energy and rest, a safe spot with clear boundaries is what I desire. What have you planted in the garden of your soul lately?