Make room in the garden

I started reading my Bible every morning somewhere in July. Yes, I’ve been a Christian for 25 years…and have ‘found’ time for study in the past…even consistent study for a few weeks. Always, after a short time something felt more pressing and my study time fell away. Like seeds rooted in rocky soil the habit had nothing to hold it to it’s place in my day.

I love this old worn out chair!

In order to create room for anything new, something old needs to be removed. We always fill all the space we have with things…the time we have with ‘to-do’s… I think about when I rearrange furniture. Something has always got to go to make room for the new. It is common sense, yes, but it’s not easy. What needs to go isn’t always something useless, bad or unhealthy. It’s hard to get rid of what is comfortable and familiar to make room for something that is better or healthier…It’s hard to get rid of our old worn out chair that is comfortable and full of memories…the one I read to my kids in…the one in all the Christmas pictures for the past 25 years… The new chair will be just as comfortable, no holes in the upholstery and look fantastic! I’m even excited about the new chair. But still, the familiar and comfortable has to go. I need to make room for the new and better.

This story I read this morning says it well from Discovering Joy in Philippians by Pam Farrel, Jean E. Jones and Karla Dornacher. It’s a garden analogy which is always easy for me to understand. 🙂

“One spring I decided to grow lettuce. I bought a pony pack each of romaine and red leaf lettuce. I nestle some among just-sprouting amaryllises and planted the rest in the empty pots. I figured when the amaryllises finished blooming, the growing lettuce leaves would hide their fading leaves and within weeks take their place entirely.

All went well…for a while.

But by mid spring, the lettuce tucked among the amaryllises was stunted and tough, while the other plants were round and tender.

I don’t have amaryllis in my garden but I do have beautiful Iris

That’s when it hit me. Amaryllises aren’t annuals-plants that completely die back after blooming. They’re bulbs, so even though what’s on the surface dies back, what’s under the soil multiplies. The lettuce roots had no room to grow and couldn’t produce healthy leaves.

Amused at my cluelessness, I thought, Isn’t this like what happens when we try to add a new spiritual habit without making space for it? After all, adding a spiritual habit doesn’t happen magically. We usually need to eliminate something to make room.

Nestling lettuce among amaryllis bulbs doesn’t work, so if you feel God tugging you to take on a spiritual habit of eternal value, creatively make space for it.”

It’s true for any healthy new habit. We need to remove something in our day for the new habit to have room to sink deep roots.