I love flower gardens that have a certain wildness, seemingly thrown together without looking measured and precise. But most are gardens that didn’t get that way by accident. A lot of work goes into planting, weeding, and watering them.
Such was a flower garden I enjoyed away from home on vacation this month. I dreamed of how lovely it would be to have so many wonderful flowers in my own backyard. How they calm and refresh my soul. How their beauty gives me hope.
How much work it is to weed and thin and cultivate.
In an instant my idyllic dream came crashing down with the reality of the work involved to keep a flower garden this size looking this beautiful.
Because this was someone else’s garden, I could enjoy it freely without thinking of the cost – time, materials, physical labor. At home, all I seem to do is look at the cost and complain about the work involved.
I know my tendency is to complain about all the beautiful things that require work to keep them beautiful:
- A job
- A tidy home
- A large yard with nice gardens
- Healthy friendships
- My physical well-being
- My emotional well-being
- My walk with Jesus
- My blog
Yes, all of those things require effort and work, but they could be worth the work. And if they’re worth the work, it should help me to do the work more cheerfully.
This summer God has shown me how much I complain…about how messy my house is, about how tired I am, about how much my kids complain, about how much I have to do.
I want the beauty without the work.
But when I put the work in, the result brings with it joy and satisfaction that doesn’t come without the work. When I complain, I rob myself of that joy.
So what can I do? I can choose to continue on; grumbling, murmuring, and complaining. But I don’t believe that’s the life God has called me, or you, to.
I need to first decide if this thing – the flower garden, the friendship, the marriage, the home project, the kid in my kitchen – is worth putting work into. Maybe in this season, I need to be content with enjoying others’ flowers.
But if it is worth the work, I can’t do it alone. I need wisdom that only God provides and His Holy Spirit guiding me in my moment-to-moment choices.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. – James 1:5 ESV
The key is that I must ask. He wants me to come to Him in confident expectation that He will work. His strength is made perfect in my weakness (II Corinthians 12:9), but He wants me to admit my weakness and my need for His wisdom.
And when He meets me in my weakness, the hard work all of a sudden isn’t so miserable.
Is there a flower garden on your life that’s overgrown with weeds, that needs a little work, a little weeding? It can be a thing of beauty, satisfaction, and joy when you ask God for wisdom and strength and put in the work to make it beautiful.