Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tending a Different Garden

I've rewritten this post many times in many ways for the past few months, but I've never completed it. I am hopeful that tonight's the night.
The tenth commandment is "you shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s." (Exodus 20:17). When I think of coveting, I think of wanting something to the point of trying to take it. To covet, according to Mr. Webster, means "to feel inordinate desire for what belongs to another." Really, coveting is the heart of American society. We've taken sin and turned it not just into a business, but a way of life. We even have an expression for it - "keeping up with the Joneses." It seems hard to get through the day without coveting something. We covet a pair of shoes we see on a website, a house for sale down the road, someone else's stationery at work, we even covet people's lives. How often have we said "I wish I were her?" What's wrong with saying "I'm glad I'm me?"

For most of my 24 years, I have let other people's perceptions run my life. I look to others to gauge my self worth and success in this world. I've let my parents tell me I'm too fat, and I learned to covet others' physiques. I've let others scare me into second guessing my decisions and opinions, and I learned to devalue myself. I've listened to others bash the lives of other people, and I've learned to be judgmental. I've listened to other people gush about possessions, and I've learned to covet.

All of these negative lessons have really put a strain on me. As cheesy as it sounds, they've hurt my heart - physically and emotionally. My anxiety symptoms are mostly physical, with palpitations being the scariest. But I get over my panic attacks. The emotional damage lasts far longer.

I read The Shack by William Paul Young this past summer. It really did touch me deeply. I now go back to a passage which was my favorite. The protagonist, Mac, lost a daughter tragically. His hatred, guilt, and grief was a heavy burden for him. With the help of the Holy Spirit, he tilled up thick, poisonous roots in order to make room for a garden. It became clear to him that in order for the beautiful things in life to flourish, we must flush out those things that hold us back and poison our hearts.

So what do all of these random paragraphs have to do with one another? I am cultivating a different garden than that usually featured in my posts. I am cultivating my inner garden. I am doing my best to flush out those things that cause me nothing but pain and grief in order to make room for joy, beauty, and contentment.

Because I love lists, here we go:
- I will deal with my issues in a healthy way
- I will accept my genetics as they are while focusing on health
- I will do my best to figure out who I am and what I want
- I will learn to not be so guarded with those around me
- I will learn to be "the friend a friend would like to have"
- I will find a church I like, no matter how embarrassed I get

Borrowed from Website

How do you tend your inner garden?

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