I was watering our garden one day, trying to figure out how much is the right amount of water for my plants, and the right amount of time to water. I’m not exactly famous for having the most lush gardens or plants in my home; I tend to either over-water or under-water, and neither approach results in happy, thriving plants.
I noticed there were places where the soil got completely moistened with the water I gave it.
In other places it looked only barely moist.
And there were still other places where I had watered not long before, yet that were completely dry.
I realized that there were several things affecting my garden hydration efforts…
AMOUNT OF SUN
Of course, the amount of sun the area had beating down onto it played a big part in how dry it was, and how quickly it would become dry again.
In most analogies, I like to equate the sun with God and his warm grace, but this analogy is different…
Here I liken the beating-down sun to the “hard stuff” in my life. Things that are just rotten, awful, hard, painful, not going away, and that I have no power to change. They just keep beating down on me – and drying me out – like the hot sun in a parched desert.
It isn’t necessarily our “fault” if we have a lot of “hard sun” beating down on our life. It can be, if we’ve done wrong things that opened ourselves up to it. But there is much forgiveness for anything we have done wrong, and then we have a God who wants to walk with us through the consequences; not just put us through them as punishment.
But “the rain falls on the just and the unjust alike,” so many things that happen are not because of our sin or faults, but only because this is Planet Earth, where hard stuff happens. We are not in Heaven yet. That’s the next chapter. (And there are days I look more forward to getting there than others!)
TYPE OF CONTAINER
Then there’s also the matter of the type of container or pot – or lack thereof – that a plant is in. A non-porous pot – metal or painted – does not allow nearly as much water to evaporate out through its walls as does a porous earthenware pot.
In fact, I’ve learned to not even put plants into smaller plain (as in unpainted) earthenware – “terra cotta” – pots as they dry out very quickly, and most of my plants die quickly in them.
At this point in my life, I am like a very porous earthenware pot. This whole thing of needing to die to my flesh in the area of food and eating is draining, in every sense of the word.
It involves allowing God to remove ~ as in peel off one layer at a time ~ my yucky “graveclothes” and reveal the stuff in me that either is dead, dying, or that needs to die.
I have to remember that this isn’t to annihilate me – though it feels like it sometimes in the midst of a painful process – but only to get me the end result of being healed and made whole and new. But it makes me “leaky” (including my eyes) and feeling very vulnerable. And greatly in need of a lot of God’s softening, moistening, refreshing and healing water.
Lesson from the pot type element: I need to allow the Holy Spirit to “seal” me in with His presence so that the watering of the Lord doesn’t just evaporate out!
PROXIMITY OF PLANTS TO EACH OTHER
I also noticed that the proximity of a plant to other plants made a difference in how soon the area would need to be watered again. I noticed that I was much less likely to see dry soil around plants that were close to other plants. The water seemed to soak through the whole area, probably through the common root system. And maybe just the interactive ambiance between them! Plus the shade the close-together plants created kept water from evaporating.
It doesn’t take too much imagination to translate this part of the analogy! Read any article on losing weight, or a testimony of someone who has lost – and kept off – weight, and they almost always include “accountability” in the list of tips.
We have also heard in Thin Within that our need for accountability is great. It took me a while before I finally started taking advantage of that here! Once I recommitted myself to doing this ~ to being in this kind of relationship – with you precious ladies here in the Thin Within community, I found it was absolutely priceless, and I now love it!
Being close to each other actually helps all of us retain our moisture and reduces the likelihood of “drying out on the vine”!
So how much time is “enough” time – especially with the Lord? It dawned on me, as I watered my garden, that I don’t need to focus on “putting in a certain amount of time” with the Lord, but that I need to give Him enough time to allow enough of His glorious healing and unlimited water to soak all the way down to my dry and needy roots; down to where my deepest need is.
“I pray…that out of his glorious, unlimited resources He will give you the mighty inner strengthening of his Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts, living within you as you trust in Him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love…” (Ephesians 3:14-17 TLB)
YES!!! This is what I desperately need! My roots need to “go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love”! The rest of this passage in Ephesians 3:14-19 (TLB) has even more life-giving water as it elaborates on what this “marvelous love” is like:
“…and may you be able to feel and understand, as all God’s children should, how long, how wide, how deep, and how high his love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves, though it is so great that you will never see the end of it or fully know or understand it. And so at last you will be filled up with God himself.“
Getting filled up by the Lord isn’t so that I can say “I spent such-and-such an amount of time with the Lord today,” (which my “to-do-ish” nature gravitates to!), but so that my roots, the very core of me, can have all the Living Water I need to be nourished, refreshed, and healed. Transformed ~ from the INSIDE OUT! Psalm 1 says:
“Blessed is the one … whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on His law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither — whatever they do prospers.“
I have much on my proverbial plate in this season of my life, and am way too easily distracted to get to the things I want and need to do. I have too often simply – and sadly – not given my roots “enough” water, or my heart enough Jesus. It comes out in there being too little grace, too much negativity, and too easily feeling discouraged.
I am SO grateful for the various Thin Within communities! Each one that I have been a part of has been a sweet blessing, but a blessing that I have not “taken advantage of” nearly as often as I need to. Notice I didn’t say “as often as I should.” This is because there’s no “should”; only what I actually need.
I too easily allow other things to crowd in and take the place of spending the time I need to with the Lord. It’s also too easy to not connect with my sisters, especially when I’ve derailed and am not walking in the truth I know the Lord wants me to be. In other words ~ sinning and walking in disobedience. Like Adam and Eve, it’s much easier to hide. So, rather than being a part of the help we most desperately need, we drift apart from each other.
So, with me, will you re-state your desire to connect? Here is the two-fold intent that will keep us from drying out:
1) One is my commitment to give the Lord more time to go more deeply into me, down into the dry, crusty, dark places that are in need of His touch and His redeeming work.
2) And I’m also restating my commitment to come to my Thin Within community more often and to not only share nuggets of my journey with you precious ladies, but also to be showered with the refreshing “Living Water” that the ladies (and a few guys) here so lavishly share here out of their own walks with the Lord!
I am so thankful for the openness to so vulnerably share our journeys!
“And the Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy you with all good things, and keep you healthy too; and you will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.” (Isaiah 58:11)…
COME TO HIM
So how will we get watered? One last verse comes to mind:
“My heart has heard You say, ‘Come and talk with Me, oh my people.'”
…which I take to mean that He actually wants me to come and talk with Him even, if not especially, when I’m in a bad mood or a dark place, ashamed of my repeated failings, my sin, my battle with food addiction, my frustrations with myself, and the feelings of hopelessness that get a hold of me and try to drag me down into the pit of despair. I don’t need to clean myself up to come to Him; He wants to do that! I just need to let Him!
So, even when I’d rather hide,
“by the mighty power of the Spirit of the Lord at work within me,” I will instead say: “…and my heart responds ‘LORD, (and you sisters here in the Thin Within community!), I AM COMING!’“
Does this post look familiar? That’s cuz it first appeared here on the Thin Within blog over a year ago, on May 9, 2016 under Deanna Burris’ name! I (Barb) was not officially blogging for Thin Within at the time, so Deanna posted it for me. However, I have since come on board TW’s blog team and wanted to both revise it and also to get it under my name for reference purposes. Hope this clears up any confusion. 🙂 I am happy to say that, in this last year, I have followed my own “two-fold intent” and am no longer dealing with “drying out on the vine”!