Taming the Jungle

Ann Spangler
Ann Spangler
2015 5 Jan

Last year I planted a tiny garden in my postage-stamp-sized backyard—cramming in peppers, carrots, red radishes, white radishes, lettuce, strawberries, and tomatoes—lots and lots of tomatoes. So many tomatoes, in fact, that in just a few weeks, my raised garden bed looked like a giant tomato jungle. The plants were so thick that many of the other vegetables failed to thrive, unable to compete for the nutrition and sunshine they needed. Though I had plenty of tomatoes, I mourned the loss of the other plants and decided that I would do better next year, curbing my appetite for tomatoes so our family could enjoy a mix of vegetables.

Just like plants in a garden, there are things in our lives that will only grow if they are given the necessary space and nourishment—things like prayer, faith, rest, spiritual gifts, wisdom, serenity, and joy. Finding balance in life is rarely easy, in part because life is seasonal, always changing. There are times when work or family life makes unavoidable claims on our time and energy. We know that. But we also add things to our lives—even many good things—without giving the matter much thought. As always, having too many good things is not a good thing after all, because a harried schedule can choke out the life of God within us, preventing us from bearing the fruit God desires.

Take some time today to imagine your life as a garden. What does it look like? What plants does it contain? Have you kept up with the weeding? What needs thinning, pruning, or plucking out? Assuming you can do the necessary work to trim whatever needs trimming, is there anything new you would like to plant in your garden? Ask God’s Spirit to direct your thoughts, showing you the kind of garden God envisions for your life. Then ask for help to plan and plot the garden according to God’s direction. Watch and see what happens as you make the necessary changes in your life. 

(Image courtesy of suzanne100 at freeimages.com).