A show garden lacks weeds. There is not a weed to be seen anywhere. This is not an accident. Well before the visitors entered the show garden a team of gardeners were up bright an early, pulling up little weeds that had appeared overnight to keep the soil healthy. But as the summer goes on, the mass of weeds are kept out simply by the abundance of the planting itself. The good plants fill the soil, leaving no room for weeds to take root or strive.
Relationships are identical to this. They need regular attention to keep all the weeds at bay. But more importantly, the relationship needs to thrive and become so well established that it leaves no room in your relationship soil for weeds to flourish. Feed your relationship, cause them to flourish and let the range of your relationships totally fill the relationship soil you have available.
God wants you to have fantastic relationships. That is what God wants you to experience and enjoy. He does not want you to lurch from one relationship dysfunction to another, he wants you to become a skillful relationship gardener – someone who is nurturing all their primary relationships with care and attention to achieve maximum fruitfulness. That is never about crises intervention, but always to do with daily disciplines of relationship management. But should a relationship ever become so damaged that crises intervention is needed, get it fast! Then once mended, develop the daily disciplines of nurturing and feeding it like a real relationship gardener.
In conclusion here are three practical things to do in your gardening:
Watch for disconnection whether deliberate or accidental – admit it as you look into the face of Jesus – act on it and take active steps to reconnect as appropriate – affirm your reconnection.
Dig and turn over the ground using the tools that God has given us – repentance means to change you mind – forgiveness sets you free.
Feed – commitment – wholeness – good communication – trust – good company – resolve – vision – fun – passion – healthy compromise – prioritising quality time – self-control – humility – releasing – wisdom
Pottering – good gardeners once they have put in the hard work and have a flourishing garden love to potter – my mum and Theresa’s mum are examples of this. They savour the fragrance, absorb the beauty and relax in God’s marvelous creation. Then they spot a greenfly on a rose bud or a dead head that needs nipping off. They go to the shed for some insecticide and some sheers and spray and cut. Then a shoot of a weed catches their eye and again they are off again removing the weed. Before they know it they have been doing all kinds of maintenance jobs. If you ask them what they are doing, they are just pottering.
As you enjoy the relationships God has given you don’t forget to potter – watch, dig and feed as you go about your relationships.
As the seed – “the message of God’s Kingdom” – is sown in your soil, it will produce a harvest of wonderful relationships to enrich your life and fulfill you as the social and spiritual person God created you to be.