With the order to “shelter at home” during the coronavirus pandemic, I have had many opportunities to spend time working in my yard (in between episodes of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, breaking up sibling scuffles, and trying to be a productive employee, of course). Since we moved in last summer, this is the first time I have lived in this particular house in the spring.
As winter gives way to new leaves, pollen, and blooming bulbs, I have been so enamored with God’s creation. It has been a joy to witness life burst out of the ground nearly every day that I didn’t have to prepare or work prior to the fruit. It’s such a tremendous contrast to the crisis of COVID-19, and I am struck with how we are constantly being asked to hold life and death in this tension. But in that tension so many feelings begin to surface: fear, anger, impatience, confusion, hope, trust. It also reveals where we run for comfort and safety: some idolatrous places, some healthy.
Where do I look for my comfort? Being an Enneagram 9 (peacemaker), comfort is high on my priority list. So I tune out, I get small, I basically stick my fingers in my ears and do the proverbial “lalalalala” to avoid having to face what’s out there. But by avoiding some of the uncomfortable, fear-inducing realities, I can also miss the blessings.
As I have gotten out in my yard to prepare a better place for beauty to thrive, I have been pulling weeds. Some are simple, with one main root that might only go 3-8 inches deep, and once they have been pulled out entirely, there’s little chance for them to grow back. However, there are other varieties that intertwine and choke everything in sight, on top of the surface and below. I would lift up part of one only to realize it stretched over a foot is some places, and the network below would cause such a disturbance in the landscape as I ripped it from the earth. The effect of removing these weeds is pervasive, and I am never really sure I’ve removed all that is needed to prevent it returning.
It feels like this what’s happening inside me, too, if I search my heart and admit the things I lean on (other than Jesus) for hope and comfort. COVID-19 has revealed that I blanket myself with things that tend to intertwine around all parts of my life, things like financial nest eggs, the health of my loved ones, a predictable schedule, those precious minutes to myself when my children aren’t asking something of me, etc. The list could go on and on. When I lean on those things instead of Jesus, the roots actually choke out life, stealing nutrients from the profound beauty that God desires for me.
It’s easy for me to get down in the dirt and clear away destructive weeds in my flower garden. But It’s much, much more difficult for me to allow the Lord to uproot the “weeds” in my own heart. Am I willing? Some moments, yes. Most moments, no. What about you?
May I (we) be more willing to be tilled for more beauty to grow in this unknown season.
CC Schott is the Women’s Director of Community Discipleship. In this role, CC “takes Barnabas to the streets” by equipping the community to offer Christ to their friends in struggle. Prior to joining the team at Barnabas, CC served as the Local Ministry Coordinator for Project 658, a Charlotte ministry reaching refugees. Before that, she was on the Young Life staff for 8 years which is how she landed in Charlotte in 2002. CC holds a BFA in Interior Design from Winthrop University. She has studied under Larry Crabb, garnering tools through Larry’s School of Spiritual Direction. CC is married to Mike and they have a son, Wally and a daughter, Grace.