On what was the most unusually, gloriously warm Saturday, we were invited around to a barbeque (or like us South Africans like to call it, a braai) at friends of ours. These friends are quite special to us. We have all learned to adapt from our African cultures (they’re from Zimbabwe) as we started our families here in the United Kingdom. We are like family, which is why I can share this without fear of getting into trouble. Ha!
As the weather offered us such a beautiful gift, we didn’t skip a beat to organise a get together involving fire and meat. As my husband and I sat in their garden, enjoying the beautiful weather and company, we couldn’t help feeling a little bit envious of their immaculately manicured garden. As our hosts disappeared into the house for a minute, my husband leaned over to me and jokingly said: “I don’t like these people! Their garden is too perfect.”
As my friend reappeared with refreshments, she asked us why we were whispering and we sheepishly confessed: “We don’t like the fact that your garden is so perfect!” We all had a good laugh as we talked about how their beautiful garden is exposing our lack of skill and interest in gardening. My friend’s husband pointed out that we had every tool in the shed you could possibly want or need. This is accurate, my husband loves to collect the tools, we just do not use them. I say “we” because I do not intend on throwing him under the bus. Ha!
As we returned from our visit, I couldn’t help but mull over the great analogy that this conversation offered. You see, our hearts are also like gardens; and we have every tool in the Word that we could possibly want or need to keep our hearts in immaculate condition. Free from the weeds of cares and worry. Free from roots of bitterness or rejection. Free from thorny bushes of fear and doubt. But we have to use our tools and do some gardening.
We all want to have and experience a life of peace. True peace. Lasting peace. Peace that stays even when life gets overwhelming or trouble comes out of left field. It’s easier to deal with those things, when your garden is tidy. It’s much more difficult when you have to cut through all the overgrown foliage to find your peace again.
Peace is not some external force, it is grown and cultivated:
“Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me – everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”
Philippians 4:9 NLT
Paul’s wisdom is profound as much as it is uncomfortable to hear. If he could write this book (Philippians), a recipe book for peace and joy, whilst being imprisoned, then it should be at least worth a read. Better yet, when we apply and practice the things he teaches in it: gratitude, thankfulness, paying attention to what we think about and so much more excellent heart-gardening advice.
Perhaps it is time to get those tools out of the shed. Time to uproot some weeds and plant some seeds. Add some nutrients to the soil and water what we have planted. Hmm… this has certainly made me think about so much more than the messy state of our garden.
What will I find when I start working in the garden of my heart?
Make this your declaration today:
I choose to uproot every care and worry in my heart. I trust in the God of Peace, who lives in me.
Thank you for the tools you have provided for us in your Word. Holy Spirit, remind us to put into practice what we have learned. Identify every weed or root that has no place in the garden of our hearts. Give us the wisdom we need to keep our hearts in immaculate condition.
In Jesus Name
Today, I hear the Father say: “Beautiful Child. I have created you to be my dwelling place. As you allow me to settle in your heart, my peace will fill your whole being. I love to be with you, because my heart delights in you. Stop striving, let go of your cares and allow me to create in you, a resting place of peace and joy. I am more than able to give you beautiful rest.” ❤