Monday, April 23, 2012

Focusing on the Weeds

My sister, Diana was visiting in January and said "your garden looks so pretty."  I immediately said, "ugh, there are so many weeds but thanks."  A few weeks later I was sitting outside and I really looked at my garden.  It was beautiful.  We have jokingly called it our "gardening on a budget" project.  When we moved in, it was all ice plant and it was mostly dead.  The soil is rocky and full of clay.  It was so hard that there weren't even many weeds, nothing could grow there. So we ripped out all of the ice plant and started over.  I asked friends for starts and cuttings from their gardens and planted those.  (I also love to shop the garden section clearance at Lowes and Home Depot to see what plants I can rescue.  Then if they don't grow I'm only out a couple of bucks.)   Then we added gypsum and topsoil to soften up the clay.  Over the course of the last 6 years it has transformed into what it is now.   

It wouldn't win any landscape design awards.  But I love to sit outside and watch the birds and look at the flowers.  I love to walk out and see how my vegetables are growing.  I love that I have parsley, Greek and Mexican oregano, sage, thyme, rosemary and mint right outside my door to flavor my meals.  

As I sat outside, I reflected on my response to my sister.  It was a pretty good indicator of my naturally pessimistic bent.  The first thing I saw was the weeds.  I can do the same thing with my life.  When someone mentions how strong my faith is my first thought is about the ways that I'm faithless, the ways that I don't reflect Christ, or the areas where I need to grow.   Philippians 4:8 tells us to focus on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, praiseworthy, and excellent.  4:9 goes on to say that the God who gives us peace will be with us when when we put what we've learned into practice.  

I think it's been pretty easy for me to just accept my natural bent.  When someone calls me a pessimist I argue that I'm not a pessimist, I'm a realist.  But do I honor God and the multitude of ways that he blesses me throughout the day by being a realist who sees all the negatives most clearly? As a realist can I change my natural bent to think about the real things that are lovely or admirable or any of the other qualities listed in Philippians 4:8 instead of the negative?  I think if it wasn't possible for everyone that it would just be listed as a suggestion for some people. Instead it's an exhortation, which means that it is advised or urged with a sense of earnestness or urgency.  Obviously, thinking on positive things is important to God.

It all comes down to my choices.  Every situation, every experience, can be viewed through either a positive or negative lens.   I want to be with the God who brings me peace, so I'm going to choose to think on things His way.

How about you?  What do you usually find yourself thinking/focusing on?  

1 comment:

Mama-Bug said...

Thanks Dawn! Something to think about for sure :)