Pulling Weeds

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

I pulled weeds a little over a month ago. If Liam had not been playing in that section of the yard, I wouldn’t have noticed them; they were so small.

I pinched them between my thumb and index finger, and with a slight tug they came up, root and all. It was the easiest experience I’ve ever had pulling weeds.

The weeds from last year were nowhere near this easy. Although they weren’t very big, they proved to me by that first prickly tug that looks can be deceiving. I was not to be outdone by some nasty old weeds, however, so I grabbed some gardening gloves and a hand shovel and squared off with the ugly plants.

After several minutes of carefully digging at the bottom of each one, I pulled them out and threw them into the trash. I showed those weeds who was boss! I couldn’t quite revel in my victory, however, because it was only a partial win. The roots ran too deep to be completely uprooted. In the back of my mind, I knew these weeds would seek revenge for what I had done to them that day. For now, they would nurse themselves back to strength, all the while planning their next move (cue the sinister music).

My latest weed-pulling session got me to thinking about how easy it is for weeds to pop up in our own lives. They can be a bad habit or tendency, a small indulgence that we justify, or a daydream or thought pattern that isn’t beneficial to us or pleasing to the Lord. Or perhaps it’s a relationship. Or pride. There are too many to mention, and they vary as much as the physical weeds that sprout up in front of us. But they share one thing in common—the intention to choke out any life around them.

Their intention is to choke out life.

One of the problems with a weed is that its appearance can be deceiving, as I discovered last year. It might look small and innocent, but down below, its roots are growing deep and destroying anything in its path.

Nonetheless, since it looks so innocent and easy to handle, we can easily convince ourselves that it’s no big deal. We’ll take care of it later on, when it’s more convenient. But that moment of “convenience” almost never comes. The truth is, most times we like our weeds. There is something about them that offers us a false sense of comfort, familiarity, or pleasure. So we justify why that habit, tendency, indulgence, etc. is in our lives and why it’s not such a bad thing. And we try to quiet the voice telling us otherwise.

But let’s not deceive ourselves.

“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.”

Galatians 6:7 ESV

The destructive life patterns we sow today will reap for us more than we bargain for in all the wrong ways no matter how much we try to convince ourselves otherwise. Let us not be quick to ignore that, and let us not be slow to act.

If we aren’t keeping weeds around because we’re fond of them, then perhaps it’s because we feel overwhelmed by them—too overwhelmed to try to pluck them out.

This was literally the case for my husband several years ago. Before we met, JJ owned a quaint, ranch-style brick home. Everything about it was lovely except for the dirt back yard. He didn’t mind, though. He worked long hours and didn’t have time to enjoy being outdoors.

One day after monsoon season, he peered into his backyard and saw some weeds. He planned to get around to the prickly plants when he had more time, but by then, they had grown well past his head and were too much to handle.

Fortunately for him, a friend of his was strapped for cash and gladly took care of the weeds when JJ offered to pay him for it. His dirt yard was restored to its former beauty (because dirt yards start to look beautiful after they have been cleared of weeds). All was well at the ranch-style home.

I’m guessing that we all have a few weeds to pull at this point in time. They may even seem over our heads. And the monsoon that has caused them to sprout up and grow continues to rage on with no known ending in sight. But we can’t wait for the storm to stop before we pull the weeds. If we do, they will only dig their roots more deeply. We have to be willing to get a little wet and muddy in order to restore our own backyards. Fortunately, we need not do it alone. God has given us a Helper, the Spirit of truth (John 15:26), who is willing and able to help us uproot our weeds. Let’s choose to dig them up and plant good seed with Him instead.

As we continue to weather this storm for however long it endures, we can be sure that more weeds will continue to sprout up, perhaps suspiciously similar to the ones we have already pulled. It can be tedious—this task of pulling weeds. It can also feel disheartening at times when the weeds we pulled are the same ones that keep popping up again. But let us not grow weary of doing this good work. Let’s continue to rid ourselves of weeds and continue to sow seeds that will produce a good harvest. And then, when this monsoon season finally comes to an end, we might just peer into our own backyards, and instead of finding nasty weeds, we will see a colorful array of plants blooming forth in full beauty. Let’s stick with it. Let’s continue to pull weeds.