How to Have a Life that Flourishes Like a Well-Tended Garden


vegetable garden


Growing up in the rural South taught me several lessons. One of those lessons was that if you want to raise crops and eat the good of the land, you’ve got to cultivate the soil.

My parents were both born into large families just prior to the Great Depression. Dad was one of 15 siblings and Mom was number 11 of 12. In those days in the rural South, if you ate it, it was because you raised it or grew it on your own farm. So after my parents married and eventually bought their own land, a farm with its own garden spot was quite naturally a part of it.

My memories easily take me back to that garden.

Every spring, my dad would break up our garden spot with his tractor, disking up the ground to prepare it for planting. I often rode atop that disk, adding weight to help force its cutting disks deeper into the ground. Even now, the smell of the freshly broken ground fills my nostrils. I can almost feel my hands brushing the dust off my cheeks. The newly plowed ground felt cool and soft in between my toes.

Lest nostalgia paint the wrong picture, I must admit to you that for the most part I hated it. It was hard work that was never ending until the harvest was over. From disking to tilling to planting to weeding to harvest, the garden could never be untended if it were to be productive.

And this morning as I reflected on what it takes to be spiritually healthy, that garden spot flooded my mind.

Much like tending a garden, healthy spirituality requires attention.

If we are to produce a fruitful life, we must know what is happening in the core of our being where life flows from our hearts. We must be able to name what is happening on the inside of us where our real life is. If we don’t cultivate this inner life, we find ourselves living out of touch with our hearts, minds, and souls.

In Proverbs 4:23, Solomon reminded us that “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

So often, God is speaking to us in the core of our being and we are too busy and too out of touch with our hearts to hear what He is saying. Tiny weeds begin to pop up in the soil of our life and unless we pull them up by the roots, they will grow into large weeds that suck the life out of us.

We must pay attention to our inner nudges. We must listen to what is bugging us and stressing us. We must courageously name what lies deep inside our heart where God is stirring our questions and longings. We must be able to name these questions and longings to God and often, we must name them to another person.  As we open ourselves to all that is in our hearts, we can allow God to cultivate the soil of our hearts. We can choose to pull up the weeds that threaten to steal our very life.

The end result of a well tended garden is a harvest of satisfying fruitfulness and a deep sense that it was worth the work after all.

Will you pause today to listen to what is coming up in your heart? What longings and questions are rising within you today? Make the choice to pay attention and do whatever needs to be done in order to have life that flourishes like a garden well-tended. 


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Categories : Purposeful Living

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