I LOVE SPRING! I love the amazing weather, I love the sun staying out later, and I love being outside. One of my favorite outdoor activities is working in the yard. I love pulling weeds and trimming the hedges which is good because my house has lots of weeds to pull and hedges to trim. This is my second spring to be in my house and work on the yard. Growing up in farmland, we had rich soil that was great for growing real green grass. Here in Tennessee, my yard is full of green weeds that from a distance look good when mowed and kept short, but when you walk thru the lawn, it just doesn't feel right. Last spring I made a goal to have a lawn that was mostly grass with a few weeds rather the other way around. I knew that this process would not happen in a year, so I made a plan. Last year I singled out one weed in my front yard decided that was the weed I would get rid of this year. So I started pulling. My roommates would giggle, as it was almost certain that as they drove up the hill on Thursday nights after work, they would see me pulling this specific weed from the yard. I spent hours and hours tackling this problem. This project took months as I would carefully find the base of the weed and pull slowly and gently to make sure I got the entire root. There were times I wanted to just carelessly pull off the tops of all the weeds just to get them to temporarily be out of sight, but for the most part I stuck to my detailed plan. And my time was well spent, as this year that weed has not returned to my yard! I'm so excited. Last night I was back in the yard, pulling some weeds in the back of the house and as I walking back to the front I realized, that out of all the hours I spent on the front lawn, I had neglected the side of my house. The small section on the outside of driveway that no one really notices, I completely neglected and it is ravaged with weeds, including the one I specifically pulled from the front yard last year. It looks horrible as the weeds have taken over. What a mess! So I began pulling the weeds over there and as I did I began reflecting on this…
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.
New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, S. Ps 139:23-24
I was thinking about how my heart is like my lawn. I began asking God to spend time with me looking at my heart. I asked Him to help me differentiate between the weeds and the grass in my life. And I asked Him to help me begin the process or pulling the “weeds” and moving towards holiness. This process will take time. First, God has to reveal the “weeds” in my life, and then slowly begin the process of true refinement. Often when God reveals areas of improvement in my life I want to make adjustments to create the illusion that those weeds have been pulled…much like I wanted to rip off the tops of the weeds to reveal the grass. But this is a temporary solution, and it does not accomplish the goal of ridding my heart of the “weed.” I have to take time to get to the root issue, the real reason why I am thinking, acting or speaking in a way that is unpleasing to the Lord. But I can't stop here; identifying the weed is only the beginning. Spending time with Jesus reading His word and having conversations with Him leads me to a place where He can not only search my heart for weeds, but where He can begin pulling them. God really challenged me with the words of David in this Psalm. He challenged me by asking me if I was willing to let Him come inspect my heart. Do I really desire for Him to reveal the hurtful ways in me? Do I really want Him to try me and know my anxious thoughts? This prayer is a vulnerable one. But it is also a necessary one if I want to be holy as my heavenly Father is holy (Matthew 5:48). I have to be completely honest with myself and with God about my desire for righteousness in my life. If I really want to look more like Jesus every day, I must go thru the refinement process. I must ask Him to walk thru my heart and pull the weeds. I must be patient to let Him pull the entire root. And I must continue to be vulnerable and let Him seek out my entire heart. Otherwise, my heart will look like my lawn…healthy in the front and full of weeds on the side. So this spring as I commit to pulling weeds in my yard, I am also committing to let God pull the weeds out of my heart, not just for this season but for the rest of my life. He has already begun showing me a few weeds that are cluttering up my heart and together we have begun the pulling process. Are you ready for God to do the same for you?
Lord, I pray that You will search out and know my heart, my WHOLE heart. Look for weeds as you try me and sort thru my thoughts. Reveal to me the hurtful weeds that have taken root in my heart, and let's begin pulling these as You lead me in the way everlasting. Amen.