This morning I have been working on clearing the other half of my raspberry patch. It is completely overrun by trees, bushes, and noxious weeds. I've noticed that some of the weeds are just surface weeds and pull out really easy, and others have deep roots. And often times those deep roots are entangled with the raspberry bush roots. So I have to be very careful as I untangle them so as to not hurt my precious raspberries!
It got me thinking about Satan and growing up. I think there are certain sins that are similar to those of the surface weeds. He doesn't have to plant those near my heart, because he knows, they won't take root. It is not a temptation for me to rob a bank. It just isn't. It is not a temptation for me to murder someone (well... nah, we won't go down that thought path. :). There are certain commandments of God, and laws of the land, that are no problem for me to follow. But then there are others that I do struggle with. And most of them are not the temporal laws, but the personal ones. Honoring our bodies as a temple (how many of us at one point has hated our body?), honoring our neighbor as our self. Well, if you are full of noxious thoughts and hatred for yourself, then your neighbor may be getting the short end of the stick.
As I have been on my journey this last four months of working to get my weight off I have really found that there are lots of noxious weeds on my inside. When we are born and are little children, we essentially are born with a perfect perception of ourselves and the world around us. Think of the children in your life, their main concerns are to feel loved, have shelter, to learn, and to be fed (oh and to play and have fun!). But as we grow, things happen to us, we learn bad habits, we make bad choices with painful consequences, and soon those beautiful feelings we had about ourselves and the world are bogged down by these things. The noxious weeds take over and the beauty within is tied down and cannot shine. Soon we are full of self defeating thoughts, hatred, pain, and negativity. And Satan - he is gleeful at this!! He no longer has to maintain this particular garden. Although I may not be robbing banks and killing people, I am still letting him have influence on me.
So, you know what comes next right? Lots of hard work. Lots of pulling, tugging, digging, and sweating. Watch out for the thorns, those hurt! Oh, and while your digging out all those weeds, make sure you don't pull out the precious things along with it. Things like personal values, religious beliefs, etc. And the most precious of all, the knowledge of oneself that ultimately you are a good person, you deserve happiness, you deserve joy, you deserve to be thin, you deserve to be loved, you deserve to love others, you are a child of God. These are all things that as children, we didn't doubt, we just innately knew them. But those weeds that have been planted in our hearts - the ones that tell you don't deserve any of that, that you are crap (you are not crap!), they are deeply entangled together. Not only will it take the hard work to get them out, it will also take some gentleness, patience, understanding, forgiving, and oh yeah - probably lots of tears.
I have to say; it was really satisfying this morning as I cleared a spot for each different raspberry bush. Each time I got one clear and cleaned out around the base, then shored it up with more dirt, it felt so good. The same has been for my heart. It's been a tough four months, and I think I've really only gotten to the surface stuff. I know that as I continue to work on cleaning out all the weeds, it's going to get harder, more painful, and more satisfying in the end. And then just as I make sure there is plenty of dirt at the base, water, sun, and nutrition to help my plants grow, I must do the same for my heart and soul. Make sure that my base is covered by the gospel of Jesus Christ. That I am giving it lots of scripture reading and prayer. I truly believe that as I do this, my body will start to feel clean from the inside, and it won't be such a struggle to eat to honor my body, and not to stuff my emotions. It won't be such a challenge to exercise because I’ll recognize it as something that I can do to cherish my body and what it was created for, and I ultimately I will finally be able to say goodbye to all this weight. The real Sam will immerge and it will be glorious! I was going to say "I can't wait", and partly that is true. But mostly, I’m so glad to already be on my path, already have started my journey. It's a beautiful life, and I'm excited to see what it brings! So get your gardening gloves on and join me, let's get rid of those noxious weeds together!!!