A lot of you know our back yard has been a work in progress (Yes, we bought the house knowing that). The north-east corner of our yard though has driven us absolutely crazy …. especially me.
🌿 Nasty vines, giant – I seriously mean GIANT – tree roots from multiple extra large trees (not pictured, they were recently cut down), weeds, old bricks (why?), large rocks, rusted shed, trash, you name it….it lives in that back corner. I’ve despised that area since day 1.
We worked HARD to clean it up. We killed the vines with nasty chemicals.. (I know, I know I hate chemicals too, but sometimes you need to pull out the super powers), cleaned up the leaves, got rid of as many bricks above the surface. The giant tree in our neighbors yard got cut down, cut down a ton of our own dead trees, cleared the vines as best as we could, hired helping hands for a spring clean up, and even had some friends over to help us rake and clean. BUT IT STILL WASN’T ENOUGH! Oh and guess what, it uncovered a solid view of the rusted shed. Now my eyes go straight to that nasty thing in my neighbors yard. I’ve thought about painting the back of it (he’d never know right?). Now I NEED a privacy fence… that’ll do the trick!
As I’m sure you know where this is going, I’ve already learned a few lessons in this north-east-corner-of-my-yard-journey.
This summer, our big back yard project has been a garden. Funny enough, the only spot with LOTS of sunlight is my north-east corner. God has a funny way of bringing new life in the midst of seemingly hopeless and worthless areas.
Let the digging begin. Rory kicked butt leveling and building a foundation for our raised garden beds. It ALREADY looked better. We built one large bed, filled it with dirt (why is dirt so expensive? It’s literally dirt for Pete’s sake….), and planted our little baby seedlings (and some store bought veggies). Next year, phase two will be to build beds to make a ‘W’. In the mean time, one garden bed was enough to test the waters and save our budget.
Now, the north-east corner is the MOST visited spot of our yard.
Two things happen when we don’t like something about ourselves or our life.
- We ignore it, pretend like it’s not there and we complain…. A LOT. This route only works for so long until another weed sprouts, another vine grows, or we simply catch a quick glimpse of it. Quickly, we are reminded of that nasty thing/area/temper/attitude/relationship again. This route doesn’t end well and prolongs the problem areas in our lives. Truly, it makes them worse. We grow in bitterness and jealously and run from progress and growth. Speaking from experience, I’ve been here & am still here in some areas of my life. Yep, I’m a work in progress, too!
- The second option is, we work on it, little by little, with the resources we have. We start to clean up the mess, vine by vine, leaf by leaf. This route is REALLY hard. There are days we chip away and see absolutely no progress. We digress, fall back into old ways and habits, and feel frustrated. We feel SO far from the goal, we are tempted to quit. We work diligently seeing little progress, while others seem to be zooming by us creating their seemingly perfect lives while we keep-on-digging. However, the difference this time is…. we keep going. We grab the rake, another lawn bag, and we go for it. One step at a time.
Truthfully, there are plenty of areas in my life that matter WAY more than my north-east corner. My relationship with God, my marriage, my kiddos, my church family, my friendships, my heath, etc., just to name a few. The same is true here. So many times we look in the mirror and we don’t like where our marriage is at, or we feel far from God. Maybe we despise the way we lose our temper with our kids or there are relationships that need mending. These have all been true for me at different points in my life.
The consequences of running from these problem areas are far greater than ignoring my weedy back yard.
No one expects perfection from us, not even Jesus!, but yet we put this pressure on ourselves to find quick fixes. We want perfection FAST. We know this…. there are NO [healthy & sustainable] quick fixes. Don’t let anyone EVER sell you on the idea that “this video will change your marriage”, “this book will make you a better mom”, “this job will change everything” or “this diet will make the weight magically disappear & never come back”.
They might be tools to help you get where you want to go but the truth is, if we want to see progress, we ATTACK it slowly… little by little. We submit our goals, agendas, hopes, and dreams to the DREAM-GIVER! We let God’s transforming power work. Then we get to catch glimpses of His hand at work in the little by little.
If we don’t go slow and go after progress over time, we miss out on life lessons like this. We miss out on the molding and shaping that God wants to do in our lives. My yard now has a story. My marriage has a foundation. My friendships have roots. My babies [will] see growth in me over time.
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6
Thank you Jesus for back yard moments, for progress NOT perfection, and for little by little growth.
[Funny, this started out as a Facebook post until I realized I had too much to say for a quick photo scroll.]
Cheers to Progress!