Apr 7, 2012

Unruly Problems

Everyone I know has been itching for spring to arrive. Even people who don't like to garden are celebrating the bursting forth of buds on the trees and tulips popping up their heads in response to warmth and sunshine.
About a month ago, as I walked in and out of my home, I noticed wonderful clusters of green showing up in various places in my garden. Even when a dust of snow would appear, the green would resist the elements and stay alive.
Oh how happy I was to see some green again!

My mind curiously began to wonder:  what perennial is now beginning to grow back?
Often from one year to next, I forget what perennial I planted where - and therefore spring becomes somewhat of a "treasure hunt".

In the past few years, I've discovered that if I allow a certain annual to remain in the garden right through the fall and into the winter, it will leave copious amounts of seeds that regrow in abundance the next year. What a pleasant discovery! Not only that, but this annual resists cold and continues to deliver lovely white scented flowers mixed with large tufts of green  right into the first harsh cold days of winter.

Between a busy fall and the decision to leave a certain annual... I neglected to fully clear out my gardens as we moved into late fall. I actually liked the look of the various tones of all the browning leaves and the artistic expression they created on the canvas of my garden soil.

Yesterday I finally got to cleaning out my garden.

The small cute, delicate bundles of green that were a welcome sight just a month ago, were out in large groups to greet me. Some even had lovely white flowers to entice me. Problem was.. for the most part, they were all WEEDS.

As usual, my perennials were also popping up, in the carefully planned locations that they had been originally placed. These bright green bundles though had decided it was time to dominate, multiply and take up the real estate of my precious black soil.

Weed - noun
  • a valueless plant growing wild, especially one that grows on cultivated ground to the exclusion or injury of the desired crop
  • any undesirable or troublesome plant, especially one that grows profusely where it is not wanted: The vacant lot was covered with weeds.

One of the ways God speaks to me is through metaphors. Since becoming a professional coach, the value and message of metaphors has only intensified for me and it has become an incredible tool in my practice. 

Metaphor - noun
  •  a figure of speech in which a term or phrase is applied to something to which it is not literally      applicable in order to suggest a resemblance, as in “A mighty fortress is our God.” 
  • something used, or regarded as being used, to represent something else; emblem; symbol.

Did you know that a metaphor has the ability to actually create a shift in your thinking and perspective? 
It can actually alter certain neural pathways in your brain.
Metaphors give us a picture of what is, or what could be. Often knowing reality or truth in our head isn't enough for us. We often need to see it in action in order to get a picture of the real impact. 

The right metaphor at the right time can kick start us from knowledge - into experience, action and impact.

Jesus Christ used the power of metaphors in the parables he told. He told allegorical stories to paint a picture in our minds to illustrate and teach a truth.

My garden clean out day, became yet another opportunity for tremendous illustration that drove home a truth and caused me to shift my perspective and make new choices for the future.

And here it is in a nutshell:
 Leaving what seemed like a "beautiful thing" a "last glimmer of life and beauty" in my garden became my excuse not to give my soil the necessary preparation for winter. 

As I write this post, I stop for a moment and google: "importance of cleaning out gardens in the fall"
Oh boy... now it's really hitting home!
Within 15 seconds I see pages of links on this important gardening step. Here's the first thing I click on:

It’s important to clean up all the dead foliage every fall, because garden pests and plant diseases can overwinter in garden debris and cause problems in the garden next year.

No kidding!!! 

Yesterday as my husband and I gardened, we were muttering and complaining about these "unruly problems". What was supposed to be a fun discovery of spring and preparation for growth, ended up being a weed extraction on the mammoth scale!
Not only had these unruly problems taken over real estate on my beautiful black soil, they had creeped onto the lawn. 
By the end of it all, I had a garbage can full of pests  -   a garden that had holes - lost alot of precious soil AND some nasty, pesky roots still trying to hang onto it's turf.

Lesson learned. Metaphor burned into my mind, my spirit, my memory.

As I dug and picked out weeds, I kept asking myself:

What "good or beautiful things" have I decided to keep present longer than what is best? 

What "healthy steps" or "principles" or "processes" have I avoided that are impacting me now?

What are the necessary steps I must take as I exit one season and move into another?

Great questions, and lots of great truths that I am taking away from my time in my garden.
Every choice we make today impacts us in our future. 

Wisdom and truth can become our friend and support structure for future success. 
Doing what feels right or enjoyable in the moment, can be a set up for future "unruly problems" that rob the landscape of our lives and can cost us and take "seasons of time" to bring back into a healthy balance.

What might this metaphor be speaking to you?

The Pursuit of Wisdom Brings Security  - Proverbs 2
1 My son, if you will receive my words
And treasure my commandments within you,
2 Make your ear attentive to wisdom,
Incline your heart to understanding;
3 For if you cry for discernment,
Lift your voice for understanding;
4 If you seek her as silver
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
5 Then you will discern the fear of the LORD
And discover the knowledge of God.
6 For the LORD gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
He is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
8 Guarding the paths of justice,
And He preserves the way of His godly ones.
9 Then you will discern righteousness and justice
And equity and every good course.
10 For wisdom will enter your heart
And knowledge will be pleasant to your soul


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