May 20, 2013

Boundaries Abounding

I have been trying to spend an hour in the garden on most days; with a 6 month old and a job, this may or may not happen as planned. But I look forward to putting Will down for his first nap of the day and heading out to the garden while it is still "cool" outside.

I have been trying to turn the patch of grass behind the house into dirt where I can plant my little seedlings. And let me just tell you how hard that is! I can see why we use grass as a ground cover - it's roots are thick and it will grow and grow and grow...and, well, grow!

At the rate I am moving I will have the plot ready to plant in November, but I will have some great looking biceps! Fighting the grass has turned me onto a little something important for all of our lives...boundaries.

3 Reasons I need boundaries in my garden:

1: If the grass is too close to where I am going to plant, I won't be able to rip it out without hurting the tender little roots of my seedlings.
2: Because grass is so good at covering ground, it won't be long before it creeps back into the areas from which I have already removed it.
3: The grass could suck all the nutrients out of the ground and keep my veggies from ever producing.

Without clearly defined boundaries in the garden, I can't see when the grass is coming back into areas I have already worked into dirt. I need a buffer zone of dirt between the grass and my plants, so I can see the grass in time to cut it back.

It is the same with sin in our lives. Say for example we are not committing a particular sin anymore, but we are still wound up in the lifestyle that promotes its growth, we will never be able to grow into the new things God has for us. Without clear boundaries we won't be able to see when that sin starts creeping back into our lives.

Separating ourselves from sin is a very important part of our Christian walk...and honestly this can be the most difficult part because it requires us to make sacrifices. We will have to stop hanging out with certain people that continue to practice the sin we are trying to be free from, stop eating at certain restaurants that tempt us to overindulge, maybe even stop watching a particular type of movie that has bad language or is full of violence, this principle applies to so many things.

But what are those sacrifices when compared to the fact that Jesus gave his life for us? He already paid the price of death for those sins, even the ones we still commit, and the only thing he is asking us to do is clean house. We need to create a set of boundaries so that we can identify sin as it starts to slither back into our lives. Without boundaries it is hard to see right from wrong, and it is hard not to hurt the good things when you have to rip out the bad.

Another difficult thing is that grass isn't always bad. I like it in the yard. It keeps the yard from getting muddy when it rains, it hides all the rocks, and is pretty when it is trimmed up. But, I can't have it in my garden because it will kill the plants. So some things fall into a gray area, they aren't inherently bad when they are in the right place, but if they start creeping into every area of our lives they can choke the life out of the good things.

Let's take a look at our lives this week and see if we need to establish a set of boundaries, or if we need to do some weeding in areas we have stopped tending. God will show us what we need to do.He is faithful and true. I love you guys!

May 6, 2013

When the Garden Attacks

Last time we were together I mentioned the word ants and the fact that I was wearing gloves to protect me from their fiery stings. Apparently I have been trying to make a garden in the world's largest ant-bed. These little critters are EVERYWHERE! I can't work in the same patch of grass for more than a few minutes at a time because they invade my shoes and sting my toes.

Did I mention that these were FIRE ants? Take the good ole Louisiana fire ant bite and then rub some Tabasco sauce in it and you will get close to what these feel like when they strike. If I showed you a picture of my legs right now you would see that they are peppered with red bite marks from these evil critters.

I tried poison.

I tried digging into the ant pile to kill the queen ant.

I tried different poison.

I almost tried diesel...I am a desperate woman.

Finally I have decided that I will have to share the ground with them....for now. I will keep killing them, one by one, if I have to, but for now the only thing I can do is protect myself. My armor: gloves, socks, pants, shoes, and long sleeves. I'll never get a tan at this rate, but at least I won't become one big, red, itchy bug bite.

Now, I know the ants are out there. I know what I have to do to protect myself. And yet, I still get the occasional's why:

  1. I am too prideful. Yep, prideful...I know they are there so I will just watch for them and kill them before they sting me. HA, that never works.
  2. I say, "I'll just be out there a minute, they won't have time to sting me." You know how long it takes for an ant to sting you? Me neither, but it is quick, like lightening. You can't out run them.
  3. I am too lazy to put on all of the armor. I'll just wear my gloves, and then I get stung on the toe.
  4. I stay in one spot too long. If I am there long enough, that one rogue ant will pick its way through all of my defenses and strikes. 
It is so interesting that these are the most common causes, in my life, for sin. I am being prideful, lazy, or I am around sin too long and then it just becomes natural again. But God gives me grace, and strength, and energy when I ask for it to overcome these things. His mercies are new every morning!