“I borrowed a weed-wacker… I’m going to go wack weeds.”
Outside, he yanks the pull-start and the buzz whirs into action, determined, fierce, a little engine with spinning blades hewing down the thick, tall, stalks smothering our yard.
Should I be wacking weeds too? What would it take to clean out my overgrown heart?
I hear the sizzling sound as the blades slice through tough fiber, grown so tall and rooted so deep hands would work for hours to pull them up by the roots… and then, since our yard is all weeds, there would be no yard left at all, just mounds of rumpled dirt clods all uprooted.
How deep do my weed-roots go?
Aren’t I doing ok, really? I mean, how bad can it really be - the state of my heart? I’m living in another country, raising my kids to understand another culture, speak another language. I’m strategizing about reaching out to those around me in Jesus’ name. I’m coping with water shortages, power outtages, nasty no-see-um biting bugs, freezing cold winters and unpredictable summers. I’m enduring isolation, loneliness, relationship stress, culture stress, all for the sake of carrying the Good News in my skin to this group of people who maybe wouldn’t hear any other way.
So where are the weeds? Are they really there? Doesn’t all this giving up for Jesus count for something?
I think about my ugly attitude last night, when I overheard frustration from my husband, took it personally, and allowed myself to sink into utter despair over my own failure buttons being pushed.
I think about how I snapped at my kids and lost patience and even (shall I say it?) got sick of the sound of them, all because I didn’t get my nap yesterday.
I think of how I tunneled into children’s fiction books for the whole afternoon, addictively escaping deeper into a different world to shut out my own - which is filled with what? Blessings. Beautiful children. A loving husband. Potential for blessing and giving all around me. Nature singing God’s beauty right outside my doorstep. I blocked it all out and buried my head in the sand - and the result was a late, unorganized, inadequate dinner, an unsatisfied family, and a sick heart. Weeds galore.
I think of the blog post I read - no, devoured - this morning that brought tears springing sharply and made my breakfast stick in my throat. I think how I ache for my boys to grow up that way, to love that way, to give that way… and of how little and feeble my example is, me being the person they absorb life from 24 hours a day, as I hoard their best toys and teach them to give away only the lesser, broken bits. Ugh.
What are they sponging from me, as I greedily hoard my own time and heartily resent interruptions, sleep deprivation, and unexpected guests? What are they internalizing as I put my own agenda first over people, so they can see I only give out in little, limited pockets, when it suits me - instead of lavishly, without reserve, like Mary with her perfume all poured out?
What are they subconsciously tucking away?
All inside of me aches, and I feel the prickles of all those weeds in my heart. The buzz outside continues, relentless, driving home the question: Will you submit to those spinning blades - will you let Me mow down all this ugly so I can have room to grow goodness?
No matter where we are in the world, or what we think we’re doing for Christ, the battlefield is in our own hearts. I could live this whole cross-cultural sojourning life, feeling and acting holy, and convince myself I’m giving everything up for Jesus. But without true lavish Christ-love in my heart or a true willingness to sacrifice what’s actually dear to me, I am seriously only a clanging cymbal.
Time to invite the Weed-Wacker.
What are some ways you convince yourself you’re “ok” spiritually?
What real weeds are subtly growing in your heart
that you need to invite the Holy Spirit to hack out?