This past several days have been full of hot weather and a lot of rain. The rain caused many shifts in the temperature within just a day. Much like the weather, these past few days have created some shifts in my life. The shifts have sparked refocus for me into different directions, both personally and professional. Of course my life is much like any superhero’s (constantly singular), and I don’t get much time off from working hard to make a difference. In spite of that, there are days when I’m thankful for the rain storms that come along even when they are coupled with 103 degree temperatures. Many states are and have been experiencing record high temperatures and storms these past few days. Likewise, many people experience storms in their lives.
Heat is known to burn and scorch the Earth. Heat is often looked at as a destructive force for many reasons, and it can be sometimes. But heat also has cleansing properties to it. Have you ever seen a field that has been burned and wondered what happened to it? In agriculture there’s a process called slash and burn, or controlled burn, where a field is cut and is intentionally burned so that the ashes can provide nutrients to the soil in that area. For those of us who are not familiar with this process, we would think that something tragic had happened to the soil and that it would no longer be useful for growing a crop. But the opposite is true. From heat many things become renewed. In mythology a phoenix is said to rise from ashes of the fire that it died in, and diamonds are created by a mineral process when coal (or magma, according to some) is heated to temperatures of 1000 degree celsius. Some people practice bikram yoga because it is meant to reduce stress and tension while allowing a deeper stretch because the muscles of the body are warmer. Many of the islands we find so beautiful resulted from erupting volcanoes that now lay dormant. Heat has its place in our lives and it can be useful and beneficial, if used correctly.
Rain storms can also be looked upon as very destructive. I personally believe that into each life a little (sometimes a lot, depending on who you ask) rain must fall. Rain storms come through and create power outages, topple trees and even flood or wash away areas that can’t withstand the pressure. We sometimes are fearful of the rain because the weather reports tell us that we should be. Much like heat, rain serves other purposes. Rain nourishes the Earth. Rain also allows for growth in desolate places. Rain in a person’s life cleanses the soul. Without rain, life is dry. Rain can also wash away all the dirt that tries to settle in places where it shouldn’t, both literally and figuratively. The more dirt there is, the stronger the rain storm has to be to wash it away, in nature and in life.
Sometimes (when I can), I look at my life from what I can remember as a child up until now. Although my life has always been good, it has had its share of heat and rain. Sometimes I think I got more than my fair share of heat and rain, but you know what they say, God never gives us more than we can handle. I’ve been truly blessed. I look at it as a blessing because I know that heat and rain are a process and necessity in our lives. They are changing forces. Change is good.
I look at my life as a garden. Doing so allows me a better grasp of my life and understanding of my purpose. In my garden there are all the things I need along with some of the things I want. It is all given to me because of the Master’s Plan. Everything in my garden serves a purpose, whether I understand it or not and whether I like it or not. Just like any other garden, weeds grow and destructive insects try to infiltrate and destroy my garden and turn it into what they want it to be. This is contradictory to the Master’s Plan. When this occurs, to rectify the situation, weeds have to be pulled, insecticides have to be introduced to the environment, and rain storms form to wash away the dirt, weeds and dead insects. In extreme situations, when God sees fit or when there aren’t any other options to get my garden back in order, it is completely burned and regrown. The ‘weeding of my garden’ is what I refer to it as. Others call it by many names: break ups, divorce, bankruptcy, miscarriage, death of a loved one, unwanted change in career, friendships that end, betrayal, car accidents.
Typically my garden is weeded every few years. Lately, it has been happening every month for the last few months. I see exactly what it is for what it is. It is the process that is necessary to keep those who don’t fit into my life away from me and enhanced security of what I’m meant to have and achieve. It’s my spiritual shield, armor and bullet proof vest.
The process of weeding my garden is never much fun. It sometimes causes pain and even heartache. However, I recognize it as a necessity so that I can live the purpose driven life that I’m meant to live. I understand that everything I may want isn’t what I’m meant to have. I know that I have something that I bring to this world that is of value and requires I have certain people in my life. I also know that everyone that I meet is not meant to be in my life for the rest of my life. Those who are already destined to be with me for a long time have already been put in place and proven themselves as friends. I know that these, along with other life events, people, places and experiences are all elements in my garden and that it will grow, change, bloom with perennials and annuals and occasionally will require weeding. I know that the heat and rain that come are essential to the process of maintaining my garden as well. It all works together to make me who I am and who I’m meant to be.
Everyone has a garden and it needs to be taken care of. Sometimes we’re not able to make the hard decisions because of our personal desires. Sometimes we’re not able to tell a person who is hurting us that we don’t want or need them around because we love them. Sometimes we’re not able to change a situation just because we want it to. Sometimes we don’t do what we need to do willingly to improve our lives and circumstances. Sometimes we need a Godly intervention. That is what the heat and rain are that you experience in your life:
God moving you to where you should be, when you need to be there, even when you resist it.
So how does your garden grow? Are you allowing the heat and rain to cleanse and renew your garden when necessary? Do you welcome the growth that comes about afterwards? Or do you like having weeds and pests?