Updated: Apr 15
The back of my legs and my back hurt because of a rash decision I made 3 days ago. It was a beautiful day, and I had decided to take a long lonely walk (don’t worry, I like being alone sometimes) with a new audiobook I decided to try out. I crossed the street to a nearby community and began to look at all the beautiful landscaping. Completely ignoring the book I’d been listening to, I found myself comparing one yard to another. I said to myself, “ Wow, now this is beautiful! I love their flowers and the bushes are cut down so nicely. I love the cherry blossom tree in the center. Those pretty pink petals on the ground are just gorgeous. I’d like to paint that tree.” Then I’d move on to another house, and I’d think to myself, “Look at all those dandelions. They really need to get some weed killer because the crabgrass is taking over their lawn. It would be nice if they had some lilies out front to match their house.” I’d look at these lawns with pity and think, perhaps they don’t have the money or the help to take care of their lawn.
I circled around the corner to head back home and, you guessed it, the comparison continued. My yard wasn’t full of dandelions but the flowerbeds left much to be desired. The old dead leaves and flowers were wrapped around the new green sprouts and the mulch was dried up dust brown colored mess. I laughed at myself for not even considering my own flower bed as I was comparing all to other flower beds across the street.
My husband and I had a brief conversation about fixing up the yard a few days before I’d taken this walk, we just hadn’t set a day and time to do it. So, with all the “inspiration” (comparisons, really) I’d gathered on my walk, I decided to get started right then and there. I didn’t call my husband because he was resting, and I didn’t call my son because I really hadn’t planned on working on it very long. I just figured I’d assess it and get started on it myself. No tools, no gardening gloves, just my bare hands, my will, and my “inspiration”. I thought, “it’s really not that bad...just a few old leaves and weeds here and there.”
Well, it started out easy enough. I bent over and picked up the leaves and debris. But then, I tried to pull up a weed. “Boy, that baby is deep,” I thought to myself. So, I went into the garage to find a hoe or something. I didn’t want to take the time to find the proper gardening tools (my husband knows where everything is), so I grabbed the first thing that I could find that I could use to dig up this one stubborn weed, a paint scraper. So, here I am in the flower bed with this paint scraper. I went from one weed to the next and my back began to get sore while the back of my legs started to ache. I wanted to stop because of the pain, but I didn’t want to stop because I was doing so much good.
After about 45 min. My husband came through the front door. The first thing out of his mouth was, “You’re using the wrong tools.” He went to the garage and pulled out this hoe that has a long handle. At the very bottom, there’s the hoe on one side and a three-prong fork on the other. He gave it to me. I had forgotten all about that tool! It came back to my memory from when I had my son and nieces help me weed the flower bed a few years back. Speaking of my son, my husband’s second response to my spontaneous decision to weed the flowerbed was, “Why didn’t you get Josh to help you?” I just said, “I don’t know.” But the real answer was, it was an unplanned decision, that came from making comparisons, that I decided to do alone. Once my husband observed my craziness, he changed his clothes, got all the proper tools, called “the boy” to help us, and they continued to work, while I went in the house to make dinner.
So here I am now, with muscles so sore that I have to slllloooowwwly move into a sitting position and speak words of encouragement to myself when it’s time to stand back up. (LOL)
Here's what I've learned:
Making comparisons can sometimes make you do stupid things.
Haha! The bible doesn’t say, compare your neighbors to yourself, but it does say love your neighbor as you love yourself. Galatians 6:1-5 says, “Brothers if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.”(ESV)
In other words, the only reason you should be looking at others is to help them, not to judge them because, Yvonne, you’re no better. You can fall into sin just as well, especially if you’re looking at everyone else's “business” but ignoring your own.
Being alone, in my opinion, can be great! But working alone can be back-breaking. Besides, we need each other.
Again, Galatians 6:2 says that we are to bear one another’s burdens in order to fulfill the law of Christ. What is the law of Christ? Haha! Love your neighbor as you love yourself. Also, check out verse 6 which says, “Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches.” Here, Paul is saying that when the people received the Word from the teacher, then they should, in return, share what they have(could be food, lodging, prayers) with the teacher. Sometimes, we gotta be teachable and listen to good counsel from someone who knows what they are talking about and when we receive it, we should share something with them in return, hence bearing one another burdens. So I did do one thing right, I listened to instructions (my husband is far better at gardening even though he’s a city kid), AND I made dinner!
Some weeds are deeply rooted, so using the right tools reeeaaalllyyy helps!
Using the right tools makes the job much easier. With some weeds, it’s going to take more than just any handy object to uproot them. When we have the weeds of resentment, unforgiveness, envy, covetousness, etc taking up space in our hearts, then how can we continue to bear the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control? (Galatian 5:22-23). We need our tools; the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, and other believers. John 15, Jesus says, “Remain in me” several times as he describes the kind of relationship we should have with Him in order to bear good fruit.
Taking care of your “flowerbed” will keep weeds from growing.
Back to Galatians 6:7-10, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have the opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”(ESV) I think I’ll start sowing and taking care of my “flowerbed” now, and then the “weeding” might not be so painful!
To be sure, the next time I do it, I’ll be calling all the “troops”, pulling out all the right tools, and mindin’ my own “flower bed”!
If you enjoyed this post, please like and share it! I have written similar stories in my book, Kill the Busy, Save the Bee. If you already have your copy, let someone else know how great it is :-) https://www.yvonnemariespeaks.com/bookstore
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