What is Growing in your Garden?

I could not believe how fast they emerged.

Sprouting up out of nowhere, they invaded my flowerbed.   Along with the healthy plants, this rain filled winter in California also brought along some large weeds.

Left unattended, weeds just continue to grow.

Around the side of my house by my trash cans, some of the weeds stood taller than me. I had not even noticed how quickly they appeared. Interestingly, the guest speakers at church this weekend, George and Tondra Gregory, shared about the necessity of weeding and I want to share two important lessons I learned from them.

1. Weeds grow automatically but the good stuff never grows automatically. 

Have you ever thought about this?  Weeds will sprout up anywhere.  I recently found a huge weed in the crack on my driveway.  You don’t have to use miracle grow or give them extra water or sunlight; they just surface consistently.   However, my beautiful roses and flowering plants require much more intention.  They need proper sunlight, enough water and sometimes even then, these plants do not grow and prosper.

This is so true with life.  We desire healthy relationships with our family and friends as well as a deeper relationship with God, but these good things do not come automatically.  They require living a life of purpose. 

  • Turning off the TV to spend intentional time with our kids. 
  • Waking up early before work to read God’s Word and fill our mind with His truth. 
  • Saying no to something good to say Yes to something even better. 

However, if we coast on auto pilot and are not deliberate about what we do, think, or say, sadly, our life will become full of weeds.

2. Cutting the weeds is different than uprooting the weeds.

Once we have identified a weed in our life, it is essential to remove it.  A couple weeks ago, my boys were helping me get rid of these large weeds that had appeared.  It was tempting to take the easier path and just cut them all down and quickly clean up the flower bed.   However, this easier, quicker path would not have solved my weed problem.  In order to ensure that the weeds would not grow back, we removed them by the roots even if it did take longer.

Uprooting the weeds is the only way to guarantee they will not return.

This is the same in life too.  We identify a weed, a struggle or a bad habit that we need to address, and it is tempting to find the easiest path to eliminate its negative effects.  However, true change takes time and hard work. 

Let me share with you a personal example. For years, I struggled with reacting in anger instead of responding calmly.   Through counseling, I learned that anger is a secondary emotion and the primary emotions are hurt, disappointment, or fear.  Digging deeper, I realized that I really felt hurt and disappointment, but instead of sharing these emotions, I would just blast the other person with hurtful words.  In order to remove this weed by the roots, I had to take time and look deep within to see what was fueling this heated response.   

Maybe you have a different weed that needs to be uprooted.  I pray you will dig deep, embrace the hard work and time needed, and with God’s help, eliminate the weeds in your life.  

Friends, what is growing in your garden?  Weeds or Seeds.

If you see weeds, I encourage you to do the hard work to uproot them.  If you see new life growing from your seeds, I encourage you to be purposeful with your time and your relationships, so they continue to grow.  You will never regret living with intentionality.

Love, Jodi    

Your Next Step

This was just what I needed to hear. 

“The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The meaning of life is to give your gift away.”

These words penetrated my heart as I read Chris Hodges’ new book called, “What’s Next? The Journey to Know God, Find Freedom, Discover Purpose & Make A Difference.” 

We all want to make a difference and live out our purpose. 

This brings us to my favorite chapter of the book titled “Growth.” God wants all of us to grow- deeper in our faith and stronger in our relationships.  I love what Chris says, “The most important question to determine growth is not ‘What am I doing?’ but rather ‘Who Am I becoming?’

Chris looks at the verse, Luke 2:52 “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”  Just like Jesus, Chris shares that we are supposed to also grow in these same three areas.

1. Grow in Wisdom

Just like Jesus grew in wisdom, Chris encourages us to learn wisdom from others by asking a mentor, pastor, or someone ahead of us on our journey some important questions. 

  • “What is the greatest leadership lesson you’ve learned?
  • What are you learning now? 
  • How has failure shaped your life?
  • What have you read that I should read?
  • What have you done that I should do?”  

2. Grow in Stature

Just like Jesus grew taller and stronger, we need to take care of our bodies physically, especially when it comes to plenty of sleep and rest.  Busy is the new norm, so Chris encourages us “to take control of our schedule” by asking ourselves some important questions:

  • “Is what we’re so frantic about worth our time, our energy and our resources?
  • Will it matter a year from now?  Five years from now?”

3. Grow in Favor with God and Man

We can once again follow Jesus’ example.  He was not only intentional about his alone time with God, but He also purposely invested his time with others.   Chris says, “Connecting takes time and attention.”  This is so true and does not happen without intentionality on our part.

Chris says once a month, he takes a personal day to evaluate his growth in 12 key areas of his life.  Like a tune-up for his car, he says, “preventive maintenance is so much easier to do than full-scale repairs.”  I just loved this idea! Below is the list of questions directly from his book; he writes one way he can improve in that area each month.

  1. “Faith Life: How is my relationship with God?
  2. Marriage Life: How is my relationship with my spouse?
  3. Family Life: How are my relationships with my kids and immediate family?
  4. Office Life: How much time do I spent there, and is it effective?
  5. Computer Life: How can I productively spend less time on it?
  6. Ministry Life: How can I touch the lives of others? Where do I give?
  7. Financial Life: How are my personal finances?
  8. Social Life: When am I spending time engaged with friends?
  9. Attitudinal Life: Overall, what’s my attitude lately?
  10. Creative Life: Am I dreaming? Writing?
  11. Travel Life: How do I balance time away from home and church?
  12. Physical Life: Am I taking care of my body and physical self?”

Friends, as we live out our purpose, God continues to refine and grow us more like Jesus.  I just love the practical tips Chris shares in his book. I hope they encourage you as you take your next step. “What’s Next” for you? Please share in the comments below.

Love, Jodi