Picking Weeds and Being Good Dirt

This world has felt a little crazy lately. I’ve reacted to some current events in a very intense fashion. Had I never experienced this wild surge of emotions, I might question my own sanity. However, this heightened mental state feels familiar. I felt these same powerful feelings a few years ago when we were adopting Caleb. I suspect the process of adopting a child makes my heart extra tender. I’m not typically a gal prone to tears but lately I’m finding myself getting teary eyed during commercials and I know something is up.

I’ve always been a fan of social media but lately I just cannot stomach the banter. I have told people in the past, who were struggling with how Facebook made them feel, “If it makes you feel bad, don’t have it.” I’ve recently had to take my own advice and deactivate my account, take a little break. I need to center myself, find my foundation again, and then I can get back on there to admire my friends’ pictures of their cute kiddos and laugh at funny memes. Until then, I’m like a smoker who’s trying to quit: I don’t know what to do with my hands.

Yesterday the kids were watching a cheesy movie, which would typically be a prime Facebook scrolling opportunity for me but instead I went outside to pull weeds. My Facebook hiatus should have happened weeks ago because those weeds were THICK. I had lots of time to think as I sat out there digging in the dirt.

My mind went to a parable that I’ve read many, many times. Jesus, the ever popular storyteller that he was, had gone out in a boat to get a little space from the crowd that had gathered around him. From the boat he told a story of a farmer who went out to plant seeds. Some seeds fell on the path, some on rocky soil, some fell in the thorns, and some fell on good soil. The seeds that fell on the path were gobbled up by birds. Jesus said that is like folks who hear the message and don’t understand it, as if Satan is grabbing it away from them. The seeds that fell on the rocky soil did great at first but their roots were crummy so when the sun came out, they burned up. Jesus likened it to folks who start out on fire for God but as soon as life gets hard, they lose their way. The seeds that fell among the thorns were quickly choked out by the prickly thorns, the same way we can become distracted by worry or deceitfulness and fall away from God. The seeds that fell on the good soil are like a person who hears the word of God and understands it and brings others to know who God is.

Guys, this story is a bible class teacher’s dream….the visual aid possiblities are amazing!! Birds and seeds and thorns and a hot sun. I digress.

Here’s what struck me today about this parable. Do you know what Jesus is telling us we should strive to be? Not a fancy farmer or a pretty bird. He doesn’t want us to be prickly thorns or the hot sun. We aren’t weeds or corn or flowers in this story. Jesus must’ve been on a bit of a mission to humble folks with this tale, because in it he calls us to be DIRT. I mean, not just any dirt. We shouldn’t aspire to be hard dirt or shallow dirt or thorny dirt. We should aspire to be good dirt. But really, Jesus? Dirt??

I think Jesus was telling me it’s good to keep my heart a little broken up and tender so that I can be receptive to what he wants me to see and hear and feel. I think he wants me to fill myself with the proper nutrition, with quiet time and time spent in scripture and in prayer, so that I can grow good things. And while manure might be good for actual dirt, I think it best if I remove some crap from my life right now (I’m looking at you, Facebook). I think perhaps Jesus wanted to remind me that being a follower of his isn’t always neat and tidy, that sometimes I’ve got to get dirty and do hard things.  I think Jesus wanted to remind me that tilling up a garden (or a heart) might hurt in the moment but it yields beautiful things in the long run. And maybe, just maybe, what feels like my heart breaking could just be God planting a seed. Maybe, being the God of the universe, He looked down and saw my tender heart and thought it was prime time for planting a passion. I can’t know for sure but it certainly makes my tender heart feel much less like an injury to protect and much more like an opportunity to grow something really good.

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