Monday, August 29, 2011

when we're fed

it was early morning, the sun just up and the children still down.  i stood holding a jug of blue over the thirst-droopy flowers on my deck.  they gulped greedily and the blue dribbled right through their pot's bottom. like children and ice cream cones - nothing to do but watch it all drip dirty and down. enjoy the moment and worry later about the mess.

miracle grow. that's the blue stuff in plastic jug and that's the trick. over my years of gardening i've had friends ask me the secret to vibrant plants, full containers and colorful blooms. like i had some kind of special sparkly green thumb growing off the end of my hand.   like there was some kind of spell i chanted each twilight to petunias and zinnias and sweet potato vine. the truth is, there's no magic formula or mystical song, the flowers, like us, just need to be fed. 

i guess the name, miracle grow, is misleading.  there is nothing miraculous about it.  plants grow when plants are fed. it is that easy. the secret ingredient is food -- simply food.  if a gardener wants to see growth and color and fullness, she must be willing to feed her flowers.  though the blue stuff costs slightly more than sunshine and rain, it is easily available at wal-mart or the grocery store and has a shelf life of forever.  it is not a particularly sophisticated concoction, it just needs to be done.   

it takes time and it takes some remembering. it takes lugging around a gallon jug full of sloshing blue once in a while. it is not as easy or fast as picking up the hose and spraying everything down in a mad dash. it is deliberate and slow. but it works. i guess it depends on what you want. most of us can keep a plant or two alive with an occasional spray our squirt of water. flowers are usually tenacious enough to last a season of mild neglect. but if we want those incredible containers spilling over with life and bloom, we have to invest more. that's all there is to it.

and isn't this life? isn't this exactly our spiritual life? most of us wish and want for a deeper, brighter, bolder color to our walk with Christ. we typically have plenty of desire, but fall short when it comes to the daily grind of dedication.  i know, i am one of those who fall short.  i fail miserably. i am so often satisfied with a quick few minutes here or there - dash off a devotion. pray a quick prayer. journal a thought or two and out the door i go... on to the next pressing, pushing, fast-paced thing.

i love those little devotionals in the grocery store check out line which promise deep spiritual renewal in five minutes or less. can anything be deep and renewed in less than five minutes? i'm thinking no.  i'm thinking even my hair conditioner needs more time.  i'm thinking we need food. real food. real feeding. i had someone once give me a "carpool line devotional." really? carpool line? i spend a lot of time in them, but i'm not thinking it the ideal spot for going deep with Jesus. i mean i can apply my lipstick and pick at a hangnail...i can organize my receipts or update my calendar...but do i really want to cram God into these 3 or 4 minutes with my foot on the break and my eyes on pedestrians.   isn't He worth more of me, than my wait time and my leftover minutes?

i am not for one second suggesting we can't meet God in carpool lines. don't get me wrong, there's no need for a cathedral or a clean face. God meets us everywhere. anywhere - even in the carpool line.  but, if we honestly want a deeper relationship with Him, we need to find the time to be fully fed. truly fed. not just quickly sprayed in our SUVs and mini-vans with some succinct and snappy and feel-good thoughts.

even Jesus, perfect and holy, knew He needed to take the time.  even Jesus, sinless and spotless, went up on the mountain or out on the water or off to the desert.  even the very son of God got up early to find His father.

"very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house
and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed. " ~ mark 1:35

it isn't always easy.  feeding my soul is a lot like feeding my children.   i know i need to do it and i truly want to.  in fact,  i really like cooking.  but come 3pm, most days, i am not sure what's for dinner.  i am busy and distracted and doing something else always and it feels often like one more thing.  i forget the sustenance. i forget, even, the pleasure.  it is then that i have to lay down what keeps me spinning and let go of what keeps me ticking. i have to train myself to back away from my busy-ness, or there's no dinner on the table and we all go hungry. in fact, we starve.  it is that simple. not easy,  but simple.  like that jug of blue miracle grow -  no miracle needed, just taking the time.

"the time a Christian gives to prayer and fellowship with 
God is not meant for his carnal or natural life, 
but to nourish the life of Jesus in him."  ~ oswald chambers

but whoever drinks the water i give him will never thirst.  
indeed, the water I give him will become in him a 
spring of water welling up to eternal life."  ~ john 4:14


Simply LKJ said...

I love this! Like the flowers we really do need to tend to our spiritual growth daily as well. Oh, and your flowers ARE beautiful!!

Aus said...

Thanks again - I had to come back for a second read - really good stuff here Jody - and one place that you CAN find God is in your flowers...need more proof that God cares....who but He would give us something like this!

hugs - aus and co.