We recently used some Christmas money to re-sod our lawn and fix some drainage issues in our yard. While my wife and I have almost finished all the work inside our house since moving in last July, the yard was a mess. The grass was patchy and drainage was poor. I spent several weekends last fall weeding the yard, only to find that the weeds comprised most of the green ground cover. I tried grass seed, but with our irrigation system non-functional and a lack of rain, the seeds sprouted, but never took. When it did rain, two or three areas in our yard would turn into small ponds.
So last week a crew showed up, tore out all the existing grass, fixed the irrigation system, and brought in a dump truck load of dirt to level out areas of erosion. It was a flurry of activity for one morning and the crew did a great job. There was just one problem. The new grass won’t be delivered until sometime this next week.
As I had my coffee the next morning, I was looking out over our revamped lawn and all I saw was dirt. In that moment, I actually started thinking the old yard wasn’t that bad. Better than just dirt. I had to remind myself that what I was looking at was not the finished product. It was a necessary step to restoring the health of our lawn.
But this post is not about our lawn.
Being the beginning of a new year, I am working my way through my annual look back at my spiritual life, using the Fruit of the Spirit as a guide. I couldn’t help but think that this was all a parable for the state of my soul. I want spiritual growth in my life. I can identify the areas that need some work. I want to open myself up to the transforming work of God’s Spirit.
But – truth be told – I prefer God pluck a few weeds, scatter some seed, and hope for the best. It is much less painful, but it will never create an environment where my soul flourishes. Meanwhile, I wonder if God is ready to plow up all that is unhealthy, alter the landscape of my soul, and lay bare everything in preparation for something new. But the laying bare part is the part that is painful, and it isn’t pretty. It is, however, a necessary step in the formation of an environment that will promote flourishing.
So which will I choose? The tinkering around on the weekends with some plucking and primping of the current state of my spiritual life? Or the laying bare of all that isn’t compatable with the kingdom of God, so that new growth can take place? Which will you choose?
Dirt isn’t pretty, but it is the foundation of healthy, new growth.