I’m trying to learn how to garden. And by that I mean keep a plant alive for more than a week. So my mom bought me hanging pots for our porch, and I love them. Every morning, I fill up my watering can and give them a good long pour of Rocky Mountain water (from the tap).
But every once and a while, I forget. Life gets busy, and the flowers go without. Yesterday I realized it had been several days since I last watered them, and they looked shriveled up. I really thought they were goners; I had failed. The flowers were no longer open and soft; where fullness once was, now emptiness presided.
Hope was almost lost. But in a last ditch effort, I doused them with water and, believing in the name, an overserving of Miracle Grow. I wanted to keep watering and watering to make up for it, but I knew I had done what I could for now.
That was last night. I woke up this morning and went to see them – and they looked amazingly better. There were blossomed flowers and lively leaves. I could see they still needed more love, consistent love, but they were on their way back to full health.
I know this is somewhat of an obvious Christian connection – yes, Kallie, we all need ‘watered’ and without it we shrivel. But I love the imagery, and I love the truth of it.
We need Jesus. We need time with Him every day, all day. We need to pursue Him and be filled with Him or else we shrivel. We become fearful, anxious, sad, lost, crabby. (I’ll take you out of this – Ibecome fearful, anxious, sad, lost, crabby.)
The truth of the matter is yes, watering my flowers and giving them some Miracle Grow last night helped exponentially. But if that is all I do for the next week, they’ll be right back where they were, or worse. It takes consistent care and attention to keep a plant alive. Our lives of faith are no different. Opening your Bible once a week, yeah that is a good thing. But it is not enough.
I went through a dry patch recently. Being a seminary student runs the risk of making the Bible your textbook and Jesus your study guide. We can justify not spending time with the Lord because, well, “I read all of Exodus for class today.” (That is not Miracle Grow, people.) I got burnt out and I was not motivated or excited about spending time with God, in any way. I woke up each morning only wanting to watch something on Netflix and escape the world; I had no desire to open my Bible or write in my journal. I justified it by saying, God doesn’t want me to do anything out of guilt. So if the only reason I am spending time with Him is because I feel like I ‘should’, then it isn’t really what He wants for me. I should want to spend time with Him. So I’ll just take a break till I feel like it again.
I shared these feelings with my mentor, and she shared some wisdom (ahh, mentoring). Sometimes, we just have to press on in something that we know is good, even if it seems dry and pointless. Even if we aren’t feeling inspired or wanting, we know it is something good for us. Something that eventually after becoming repetition, will become something we rely on. For example, you may not want to drink several glasses of water everyday, but you do it because it is good for you. Eventually you don’t know how you lived without your snobby Camelbak (I just want one, ok…).
Does that make sense? Repetition of something good, basically forming a good habit, doesn’t necessarily excite us at first, but eventually becomes a necessity and a life-giving activity.
“To pray when you do not feel like it is not hypocrisy – it is faithfulness to the greatest duty of life.” (Springs in the Valley)
God says things like come to me, seek me and you will find me. He promises that endurance and consistency are rewarded attributes and He is never hiding from us. In life’s dry and dark moments, He is there. Never far from you. We just have to make the time, do the work, and He will be present.
It isn’t a formula: me + Bible = God’s rewards
It is just faith. Faith that the God who appeared to so many people before us is the same God, moving and active in our world today. He loves us, and will help us grow and bloom, if we allow Him to water us.
love, joy and hugs,