I look out at my mess of a garden that has been made so ugly by nature while also thinking of all the work that goes along with spring in a garden, and my heart sags as if already bearing the fatigue that is coming, weighed down by the seemingly endless back-breaking tasks that are required to make the garden healthy and beautiful - again. I don't know the psychology behind the human tendency to despair. It's just the opposite of the optimism of The Little Engine That Could. When I look out at the dismal sight that is my garden, I'm not thinking "I think I can I think I can." I'm thinking, "Oh my gosh, what was I thinking? This garden was a colossal mistake."
This is how I react to pressure and overload. I think defeated thoughts even before the battle is joined. I'm immobilized for a time not knowing exactly which huge first step to take. Invariably, however, I take that step and the next and the next. I don't think I know what it is that makes me take those steps. Is it the human spirit, my spirit or God's spirit? Oh, gee, there's my answer.
Let me back up a bit. My original thought for this blog was to say it will all work out in the end. That is to say that God has always made it work out for me in the end. So I should have more faith and a positive, joyful attitude at the beginning, celebrating, if you will, in advance what He will do. However, the previous paragraph took an unexpected turn for me. As many times as I have accomplished big things and thanked God for His provision and enablement at the end, I always still start out with a defeated spirit. Oh, sure, this wasn't a problem in the first couple of years of the garden maybe because all was accomplished with raw energy and sheer adrenalin. That was human (not to diminish the divine inspiration on many levels), but the maintenance of this garden has seemed to be a different matter. Is it a different matter? What is the difference?
Perhaps it is simply the curse of work, day in and day out, the sweat of the brow thing. That attitude, my attitude is wrong. I'm feeling cursed when I should feel blessed. I should take heed of Colossians 3:23, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord..." OK, there it is. It's His garden anyway. It's all His. How cool! I'm the gardener in God's garden. My work will produce a garden that will please its Owner, and He will be pleased when His blooms cover His rose bushes.
So, as is often the case, motivation is the critical factor. Am I working hard simply to make roses grow and bloom? Then no wonder I'm despondent when their nature cycles to barrenness. Why do I garden? To say I do it for God sounds overly pious and is untrue. OK, the truth is that I haven't been doing it for God. I've been doing it for me mostly. Maybe it would be good if each time I went out into the garden, I knew my purpose for being there. Kind of a get-my-priorities-straight moment as I go out the door, a moment of direct contact with Him before I begin. Yes, and a moment even now to acknowledge that my perspective needs to change if I expect to find joy and optimism instead of despair and dread. Thank you, Lord. I didn't know this would be what I would write here, but You knew it was what I needed to hear.