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Garden treasures

The place where we should find ourselves most comfortable is with ourselves, with our thoughts, in our own minds. Yet in life we find people who are terrified of being by themselves or being alone to face their thoughts when really that is the place we ought to find the most peace and the most pleasure.

Our minds should be the one place we find ourselves most fascinated with possibilities and hope. And because the world around us is often filled with much noise a peaceful mind is something we must also work to preserve. God gives us peace but we must actively preserve that peace in our minds by staying close to the source of it.

When I first moved into the house I currently live in, it had a beautiful and immaculate front garden. It was a new building so perhaps that was a given. I am ashamed to say, it took me over a year to finally decide to give it some TLC which was long overdue. What use to be a lovely neat piece of flower bed was now overgrown with weed and one could hardly see the ground beneath. Hah!

How did that happened? As I worked through the small piece of land with my garden fork, I found lots of rubbish, papers, empty cans, dead leaves but mostly I found weeds. The weeds threatened to overcome the flower plants that actually “owned” the flower bed. I found other plants as well which while not weed specifically, I decided I didn’t want growing there. They were equally nice but not what I wanted growing in my front garden.

Isn’t it sometimes the same with our thoughts? We suddenly find notions and preconceptions, mind-sets erupting and we cannot quite pin point the moment it took root or how that “no-sense” thought or in TEOS speak “no-truth” thought got in our minds in the first place. It had no business being there and you had entertained it for much longer than was required. Think of the dozens of conversations you’ve had this week, consider the TV shows & movies you have watched, the books or magazines you have digested, the adverts, the banter even the eavesdropping! They have all contributed to the stuff now running around in your mind. Now consider, how much of that stuff is actually cultivating the kind of garden you want people to see when they walk past you each day? In other words, how much of that is cultivating the unique and beautiful person you want people to encounter each time they meet you.

I discovered it was easy to pick up the dead leaves, the papers, and empty packs and toss them out in the baggage but when it came to the weed well that was a lot tougher. They are tougher because they had grown roots and extended their reach much deeper then it looked on the surface. I also found some particular weeds in my garden “very prickly” wouldn’t dare touch them with my bare hand. Before I got to work on those ones I bought special tools from the garden center, made sure I had my garden gloves on, clipped the extended branches with a garden scissor so I could get closer and then dug them out with a large shovel.

It took some thought and planning to get the job done but boy was it worth it – the front garden looks so lovely now, I can literally hear it breathing again!

When last did you let your mind have a breather like that? When last did you sit quietly and purge your thoughts? When last did you do surgery on a particular thought process that you knew was as poisonous to your growth and well-being as those weeds were in my garden?

That thought that would not let you forgive him or her, that thought that has held you capture in that abusive relationship, that thought that causes you to gossip about your colleagues, that thought that has kept you from speaking to your father for years? That thought that keeps you thinking you don't deserve better. Yes, that thought you think is just a simple thought is actually a stronghold, a weed that has roots buried deep in your mind and is affecting your ability to grow, to be released, to be renewed, to be all you can be as a husband, as a mother, as a daughter, as a worker in church, as a singer, as a writer, as a manager. Whatever territory God has called you to claim it is your responsibility to keep that ground immaculate, weed free, thriving and attractive so eyes can see from afar and confess, indeed this is a delightful land!

I have recently fallen in love with God’s words to us in Song of Solomon 6:2-3. It says,

“My beloved has gone down to his garden,

to the beds of spices,

to browse in the gardens

and to gather lilies.

I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine;

he browses among the lilies”

Our minds are God's garden. That is where some of His greatest treasures are deposited and so He cautions us to guard it with diligence. It is also the place He uniquely communes with us “our beloved comes down to the garden of your mind, of my mind, to the bed of spices” knowing how matchlessly He has made every single one of us. He enjoys our uniqueness and we must never let the world rob us of it.

And the passage goes on to say “He browses among the lilies”. Love it!

Lilies are some of the most beautiful flowers in the world and not surprisingly come in various colors. Lilies symbolize some of the most beautiful things, eternal things. The white lilies, my favorite, symbolize purity, innocence, tranquility, and humility. God delights in humility, he enjoys it and wants to be around it. When we assume this posture in our minds we dwell in His presence and amazing and wonderful things happen.

Be blessed!

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