Christian Living

A Problem in the Garden

San Diego County has two growing seasons, the problem this year is that plant life hasn’t quite figured out which season we’re in yet.

Christian Living

The Sacred Act of Pulling Weeds

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9

Sometimes in the movies the bad guy goes into a church confession booth. He sits down heavily in the chair and the priest says, “Son, how long has it been since your last confession?” A cold, violent voice answers back, “Father, it’s…. it’s been a long time.” And then the bad guy takes a deep breath and slowly confesses his sins– murder, rape, deception, adultery, etc.

The unspoken narrative is that he’d come a long way from the nervous boy making his first confession as a boy. He hadn’t been to confession enough.

Confessing Sins is Like Pulling Weeds

I love my garden. There is something wholesome and beautiful about growing your own food. When you tend a garden your falls into a sacred rhythm. You become more aware of heat and season and wildlife because each plays a role in your garden. Each day you do a little bit of work and every day you enjoy a little bit of harvest.

Watering, fertilizing, pruning, preparing the soil… And pulling weeds. Every day you have to pulls some weeds.

If I pull weeds for 5-10 minutes every day I can keep it in control. The weeds aren’t a big deal. They are easy to pull and haven’t done much damage.

But if I take a few days off from pulling weeds it becomes a bigger deal. Weeds reproduce fast so there are more of them to pull and they are harder to kill because they have taken root in the soil. Not only have they begun leaching nutrients away from my vegetables, but their roots may have begun to intertwine with the roots of my vegetables, which means I’ll do damage to the good roots in the process of pulling the bad roots out.

If I take a week or two off from pulling weeds I’ll have a major problem. Weeds grow fast and tall and begin to choke out the good stuff. Fixing it becomes a major chore and it’s probably already too late.

I’ve found this to be exactly like confessing sins  to another believer. When I regularly check in with someone, confessing sins in a sacred life rhythm keeps the sin in check.

It’s when I fall out of the habit, when I go weeks or months or even years without truly sharing with someone what’s really going on– those little sins take root and mature. They grow big and begin to choke out the good stuff.

And it’s a lot of work and a lot of pain to get them out of my life. 

HT to Brian and Kevin and our high school small group. This post came directly from our discussion on 1 John last Wednesday. 

p.s. Yes, I know I’m blogging about weeds on 4/20. Not that kind of weed, stoner.

Photo credit: Dreamcatcher-stock via Deviant Art
garden illustrations


The last couple of weeks have been stressful. Work stuff piled up as an ever growing to-do list was at war with two very firm deadlines. Stress built, tension built, and I was an emotional wreck. One day last week I started working at 6:00 am and largely sat in the same place steadily working until 10:00 pm. And I didn’t feel any closer to being done than I did before.

I’ve learned that one of the ways I relax is to spend time in our garden. Life can be going a million miles per hour and it all slows when I crouch or kneel next to a bed of vegetables.

The chores of having a garden are fairly simply and repetitive. Fertilize the soil. Plant things at the right time. Water when its dry. Pull weeds. Harvest. Repeat.

The back-to-basics simplicity is what brings me so much joy. Fresh, organic fruits and vegetables are merely the by-product of the primary benefit.

Each weed I pull it releases a little bit of tension. In the past couple of weeks, the warmer weather arriving forced me to water more… which resulted in weeds springing up everywhere. That was perfect! Because I had plenty of tension, frustration, and anxiety to pull out with each weed as well.

Pulling weeds has a strong tie to my life with Jesus, too.

Here are a few things I’m reminded of as I weed my garden:

  • You can’t just weed once per week.It’s better to weed a little bit each day.
  • Weeds like fertile soil just as much as crop producing plants. Where there is growth there will be weeds.
  • Sometimes you have to be gentle when you pull out a weed. It’s roots my be intertwined with roots of a good plant.
  • Some weeds have thorns and smell bad. But others are pretty and you’re tempted to keep them. Don’t.
  • Bugs eat your fruits and vegetables. For some reason they leave weeds alone.
  • Even the best gardeners pull weeds. You never get above it… you just get better at it. And some just get better at hiding the evidence.
  • Weeding the garden is work. It’s an easy skill but it is always going to get you dirty and always going to make you sweat.

What are some other parallels between taking care of your garden and your walk with Christ?