The neighbors on each side of our house apparently like weeds. I’m certain they send them E-vites, throw them parties, occasionally provide a concert (via their car speakers) and encourage them to bring all of their friends. The more weeds the better. All of that to say, our yard is now the landing place for the excess of our neighbor’s weeds.
I am fortunate to have help with our front yard but the back yard is a different story. That is my responsibility. Now some of you might be wondering why my husband doesn’t do the yard work. The first answer is that in spite of one person’s claim that he can “Make America great again,” this is not the 1950’s. If you are gasping in disdain after reading that last statement, I will add that my husband does the cooking in our household.
I’ve never been fond of cooking. I did it for nearly twenty-five years in a marriage where the menu was required reading on the refrigerator door. Of course, this systematic approach to cooking allowed for groceries purchased with perfect accuracy. (Hint—that wasn’t my idea.) The rigid method of cooking, recording data and seldom getting a thank you for the resulting meal, turned me off to cooking entirely.
Today, to my great fortune, I’m married to man who creates meals of wonder and seldom uses a recipe. I’m still amazed at how he does that. I believe recipes are exact instructions to prevent poisoning those at the dinner table. Wait, where was I? Ah, yes. Weeds. Just to be clear before I get back to my point, my husband doesn’t prepare meals with weeds; we are not vegan—yet. (winking at my Vegan son)
So there I was evicting my neighbor’s weeds currently living in my back yard. I tugged until my shoulder snapped and finally extricated the deadly evil. To my surprise, I saw fresh green grass struggling toward the light. Suddenly, as I stared in wonder at the tiny bits of shiny green life, God reminded me of a spiritual principle.
If I let my spiritual practice look like spiritual formation, but it really isn’t, the weeds of apathy and monotony take over. I want God’s Word to grow new life in me every day. God longs for a deep, life-changing relationship and is the giver of new life and spiritual growth.
Today, I am nursing a sore shoulder, but there are fewer weeds in my backyard and I’m starting a new spiritual challenge. God is pulling the weeds of old church teachings out of me. He is giving life and joy as I read the Gospel along with a new book titled, Nice: Why We Love to Be Liked and How God Calls Us to More by Sharon Hodde Miller. One reviewer says of Miller’s book, “Our culture is desperate for Jesus’ love—his compassion, his cross—but we fool ourselves if we think we can replace gospel sacrifice with bland niceness. In this book, Sharon calls out the spiritual impotence of ‘nice Christianity’ and invites us into a faith that honors Christ…”
I plan to write a full review of her book on my Blog in the near future. In the meantime, you may want to read along with me. Maybe there is new life hiding under old church weeds in your spirit too.