The Garden of Life

A few weeks ago, my son Joel wrote a piece in German that he translated yesterday. He is on a precious journey to become the wonderful person God has designed him to be. Follow his advice and clean your garden, will you?

Just take a moment and think of your life as a garden. As you take a look at it you see a lot of weeds and in the middle of these weeds you find a some flowers. But the weeds take the sunlight away from the flowers. You make the decision that you want to see the flowers from a far distance and you want to separate them from the weeds in your garden. But what you want the most is that the flowers can grow good.

There are different things you can do now. The easiest way would be to take the lawnmower in your hand and mow the weeds down. But as you know, thats not a permanent solution – the weeds grow again and the work starts from the beginning. So it would be better to invest more time and power and to pull everything out by hand. You start to hold the thickets and weeds at their roots and pull them out of the ground. Maybe you come to a bigger and stronger root, where you need more power or a tool. Or it can be that you suddenly find a big rock. A rock that is so heavy that you can’t lift it on your own. In that case, it would be good to call a friend that is able to help you to succeed in this challenge. You work on, root by root and meter by meter (foot by foot), with the goal to free the flowers from the weeds. Sometimes you may need a break, or even wait for the next day to work on, because you loose your power or you are in pain. In the end you did it – you pulled everything out that didn’t belong to your garden. Everything that blocked the sunlight for the flowers. It costed you a lot of time and power, but the feeling you have in you when you look back on how it was before and how it is now is indescribable. Even if you might have missed some roots, you are pleased, because you know, that your work from now on will be easier. The weeds may never stop growing in your garden, but with regular care it will never look like in the beginning. The flowers are able to grow fully now, but only when you care of them in the right way. You have to water them. You might not know how to pull the weeds out, or how to take care of your flowers. But for that there is a specialist you can ask. He can tell you how things have to be handled. He can give you tools and he can show you how to use them. Now, that the flowers thrive, a feeling of happiness overcomes you every time you are looking at them. You don’t have to fear that the flowers get overgrown by the weeds.

Let me explain to you how I look at the garden. I see the problems that I have in my life and my bad attributes in the weeds. One square foot of weeds is my fear, the next one my anger and an other one my inability. I find many more things like selfishness, obstinacy, the inability to listen, the mean way to react to circumstances and people, jealousy and so on. The flowers symbolize talents, relationships and good attributes like: magnanimity, love, ability, self-confidence, the ability to accept yourself. In our life, a lot of things can not work properly, because we allow other things to rule us. Maybe we loose a loved person because of our anger, or our jealousy. Maybe we can’t look at ourself in the mirror, because we hate ourself. So now you start working on different things. But don’t you think it’s easy to work on your problems. Sometimes it hurts you, sometimes you have no power to do it. But no one can expect that you reach the end instantly. The rock is in this case a problem, which seems to be unsolvable for you alone. Involve a trustworthy friend that can help you solve this problem, that is there for you around the clock, but that also has the permission to help you, no matter what it takes, even if it is uncomfortable for you. Some problems can only be solved like that. Take care of your talents, relationships and good attributes through “watering” them. Learn how to use things properly. Practice to use, know and control your talents better. Bring love, safety and devotion into your relationships, no matter if it’s towards your spouse or to your friends. Live out your good attributes, use your talents to do good things and to be there for other people. Because your garden is not just becoming beautiful for you, it’s also for others.

Make the decision to work through your problems to make your life better.

But wait a minute. There was something else I didn’t explain yet. It’s about the specialist, which tells you what there is to do and which gives you the tools and shows you how to use them. This specialist is God. You may think right now: “But it works without the help of the specialist.” But in this case I tell you: “But it works better with his help!” God can show you what your problems and deficits are and how you can handle them. He gives you the tools like the Bible or your Church congregation, where you find answers to make your work easier every time.

And before ending, I want to tell you that the most beautiful flower in my garden represents my relationship to God. I chose to work through the things that hold me back to have a better relationship with him. It’s a never-ending challenge for me, but if the biggest parts are gone it becomes easier to care for everything. You will realize that your life will change because you no longer stand in your own way.

Thank you for reading this. For questions about this topic, just send me a message.

Greetings Joel Rickenbach

Have a look at Joel’s YouTube stream or find him on Facebook.

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Accompanyist | Pastor in Exile | Iconoclast — I am a Gallup certified CliftonStrengths coach and a Spiral Dynamics practitioner.