In his book on marriage, Paul Tripp writes this about “Pulling Weeds”:
Marriage really is just a long-term exercise in gardening. If you’ve done any gardening you know there simply aren’t any shortcuts. Gardens begin with hard work. Clearing the land isn’t fun, but it’s essential. Digging holes for the seeds isn’t enjoyable, but it, too, is a necessary step. The work of regular watering and weeding is also a necessity. Pruning off wilted flowers and dead leaves is necessary for plant heath, too.
Why is it that we don’t expect our gardens to just grow by them selves—you know, from weedy land to lush garden—yet we expect our marriages to blossom beautifully without the daily work of pulling up weeds and planting seeds. I don’t know why we think that the most comprehensive and long-term of all human relationships can stay alive and thrive without the same commitment we make to our gardens. Perhaps one of the fundamental sins that we all commit in our marriages is the sin of inattention.
Did you ever drive by that house (maybe it’s yours) where the garden was planted by an impatient or lazy gardener? You can see some evidence of flower life, but the plants are not healthy, and the view is surely not pretty! I think there are many, many marriages just like that.
Ouch. That hits too close to home on many facets of life. Whether it’s our personal lives, a relationship, our business, our church, or an organization we’re a part of – “healthy” things require three very clear and resolved steps.
Step One: Making Difficult Decisions.
Health demands that we make decisions that we have been unwilling to make and allowed unhealthy realities to creep in.
Step Two: The Discipline to PRACTICE living in light of these decisions.
We all give up way too easily when “health” doesn’t just “happen”. Many of us have been raised in the “Right Click-Download-SaveAs” generation where we don’t have to “do the hard work” we just want to press a button and see something get healthy. That’s not reality.
Step Three: The Guardrails to Support & Sustain Health.
Healthy lives, healthy relationships, healthy marriages, healthy organizations – require guardrails. We need the rhythms, the “support” crew (meaning people!), and the humility to realize that we can’t get healthy and stay healthy on our own.
So… Is it worth it? While we say we want health, the truth is many of us find the alternative a bit more comfortable and convenient. The cost of “getting healthy” often seems too high. But the benefits will always outweigh the short-term pain.
Where do you need to get healthy?
What would it look like for you to put these three steps into action in that area of your life?
What’s the difficult decision you’ve been putting off? What’s your plan for putting it “into practice”? What guardrails will you establish to support your plan?
Practicing with you!
A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.