I hate yard projects. I hate raking, mowing, weeding, and maintaining the massive lilac bushes in my backyard. The unfortunate part about this, however, is that I happen to appreciate nature…so why can’t I get my act together so my yard actually looks nice??!
The truth is, I would rather sit on a patio somewhere eating tacos than pulling out weeds. Put a taco in my hand any day and I’m like 😃. Give me a rake or shovel and I feel ☹️. My husband is the same way, so the end result is having a backyard that looks more like Boo Radley’s than Joanna Gaines’s.
“But this year,” I proclaimed, “things are going to be different.” And they were.
I resisted my urge to gorge on carnitas and transplanted my hostas; I decimated weeds and trimmed those lilac bushes. But what I discovered while pruning my lilacs made my negligence blanch: almost all of my lilacs were leafless! Like every single branch! At first I couldn’t figure out why…until I uncovered a long and lanky choke vine circling around the perimeter.
I tried pulling it off (assuming it would be easy to do) but quickly realized it was about 40 feet in length so it took all of my weight and effort to conquer it! Sticks flew at my face, I got dirt in my eyes (I even fell down a few times), and in the end, my backyard looked like a legit battlefield.
Isn’t this how we sometimes approach the “choke vines” in our lives too? We leave things untouched and unpruned, saying we’ll “get to that later”, but we often don’t…because it’s WAY more fun to eat tacos!
But friends, every new season gives us a chance to prune the vines in our lives. If we can do this kind of yard work regularly — the kind no one really wants to do — we will experience lush growth on the other side. (I promise.)
How do we start, though, especially when eating tacos is so much more fun?!?!?
I got the chance to put this into practice recently when I found myself struggling with some pride and envy issues. It felt like a vine had wrapped around my heart so tightly every time I heard of someone getting a promotion in an area I was praying for. But then one day, by God’s grace, I remembered to humble myself, ask for forgiveness, and then ask for others to pray for me. I also asked God to reveal the truth about why I was struggling in this area, and almost immediately I saw an image of an egg.
I know what you’re thinking…an egg??? I thought that too, so I brushed it aside. But later that day at church I kept seeing that same image so I looked up “egg” verses in the Bible and guess what I found:
“If your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not!” (Luke 11:11-12)
How could I have forgotten this truth?! If earthly parents know how to give good gifts to their kids, how much more will our heavenly Father give us?!
My issue was clear: It wasn’t about other people getting promotions; it was about the fact that I wasn’t trusting God for mine.
I don’t know about you, but when you get to the root of an issue it’s like that choke vine just FALLS OFF. I could see clearly again, breathe easier, and I found that I could congratulate these friends of mine and legitimately mean it.
If any of this resonates with you, I encourage you to pray this simple prayer below. I believe that when you do, God will speak to the areas in your life that need pruning. He will then help you uproot the weeds surrounding your heart so that when you do finally get to eat those tacos, you’ll be able to fully enjoy them.
Heavenly Father, help me uproot the vines that keep me from focusing on the things of heaven. Please lovingly convict me where I may not be trusting you in my life and give me the strength to resist discontentment and apathy so I can follow you more clearly and humbly. AMEN.
Jonna Meidal is a mother to three wild and zany daughters and a wife to the funniest man on the planet. She is a writer, educator, birth doula, and travel junkie who can’t get through the day without Jesus and popcorn. You can read more of what she’s been up to at jonnameidal.com or follow her adventures on Instagram @jonnameidal.