Are you ever caught off guard when life meets you in the ordinary with nuggets of wisdom that you weren’t expecting? That’s exactly what happened to me yesterday when I spent several hours with my children planting our family’s garden. I welcomed the time together and fully expected a day of pulling weeds, digging in the dirt, and getting our garden set for the start of the season. But, I didn’t expect to dig up wisdom in the process. There between the rototilling and planting, between the zucchini and marigolds, I was struck by how much life is like gardening.
5 Life Lessons I that I Found in My Garden:
1. You can’t harvest what you don’t plant.
For the past few days I’ve been thinking about what I want to grow in our garden this season. The time to decide what I want to harvest later in the summer is now. If we don’t plant zucchinis, it doesn’t matter how well I tend to our garden, zucchinis won’t grow.
The same is true in life. If we’re discontented with a situation but don’t plant the seeds of change, we won’t reap the change we wish would happen. If for example we’re miserable at work, we have a few choices – change jobs, change our attitude, or influence the situation as much as it is up to us. But, if we do nothing, we can’t expect anything to change. You can’t harvest what you don’t plant.
2. Water daily.
For a garden to grow, the plants need to be watered daily. Some days, rain takes care of the task on our behalf. Other days require our effort.
In life we need to show up each day and take the next step. It’s not enough to set out towards our goals, we need to continue to press on. Life doesn’t work on autopilot. Show up daily. Nurture your dreams and goals bit by bit, day by day.
3. Weed often.
Weeds threaten and choke out plants in a garden. They start small and spread. The longer they’re allowed in the garden, the deeper their roots, the greater their risk. For a garden to be healthy, we need to pull the weeds that pop up.
Life is no different. The weeds that creep into our lives start small – a distraction, a missed opportunity, or a flat out bad decision. But if we ignore them, the roots grow deeper and they multiply eventually choking the potential we set out to grow.
4. Protect what you plant.
When we planted our garden, we took care to plant flowers and herbs that deter the deer and bunnies that might think we planted our garden just for them. Additionally, living in the north it is not uncommon to need to cover the garden at night in the early spring to protect the plants from the potential of frost through the chilly nights. For a garden to have a chance to bloom, it needs to be protected.
Our lives require “protection” in order to allow us to bloom to our potential as well. We need to establish healthy boundaries to protect ourselves emotionally or physically from people who have less than our best interests at heart. Equally as important, we need to protect our time. If we aren’t careful, our time will be consumed by distractions that rob us of the opportunity for our full harvest.
5. Be willing to wait.
It’s exciting to plant a new garden. Tending to the soil and placing the new plants comes with a bit of excitement and expectation. But planting day is most definitely not harvest day. Some plants take weeks, others longer before they’ll produce. Planting day marks the first day of waiting.
While we understand that in a garden, often in life we’re easily discouraged by the same scenario. We make a change and want results now. We make good food choices for a week and think we’re failing if the scale doesn’t immediately celebrate our change. The harvest takes time. Stay the course. Don’t give up. Don’t quit! You’ll get there. You’re just in the season of wait.
Lately I’ve been in the planting and weeding stages of life. I’ve been working to establish some new habits that I would like to grow. Doing so has required pulling out some old habits down to the roots. The changes have helped me lose weight and establish a new exercise routine as well as increased writing time. We don’t get to our goals by accident. We don’t just “drift” in the right direction. It takes planning, preparation and commitment to stay the course and pull the weeds. But, it also comes with the excitement of celebrating a harvest when our hard work bears fruit!
Have you planted a garden this year? What is your favorite part? Or, do you have some gardening you’re working on in life? Why not click to join the conversation and let me know which of these you’re working on. Be sure to click below to sign up to receive these doses of encouragement. Have a great week!
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