I stepped out on the front porch after a much needed three hour Sunday afternoon nap to the horror of four precious houseplants burning in the hot afternoon sun. Black leaves screaming of death and devastation to this heart that has nurtured them for the last two years or so. You see, these are the longest plant friends I have had. I have worked with them and often revived them through chicken pecking ,wind blowing them over, underwatering, overwatering, and many overturnings. In return, they have graced our home with fresh oxygen and soothing beauty. They were like a warm blanket of God's creation over me each time I caught their appearance in my kitchen and living room. Now, they are hurting. They have been scorched.... black leaves all over... even some of the stems are black. And that Christmas Cactus? It's leaves are bleached with black spots. Will they recover? They look miserable and make my heart heavy.
I cut away their black leaves one by one... sometimes a bunch at a time all the way to the base of the stem leaving a scraggly looking plant. It looks a little like how I've been feeling lately. Cut back and limp. Struggling to revive my spirit. Did I allow myself to get scorched? Did I set myself out in the hot sun for too long? I guess I did. My plants were in the hot sun for 8 hours. When I left them on the porch in the morning sun, I thought they would soon be covered with protecting shade. I thought I would bring them in as soon as I returned home for lunch. Exhausted when I arrived home, my thoughts turned to sleep forgetting all about my sweet friends on the porch.
Much effort is required when caring for a living creation. Much thought must be given to its care in order for it to survive... even more for it to thrive. I too am a living creation. And I have a loving creator who cares for me. When I fail to present myself before him regularly, I begin to droop. When I am drooping, I need more of Him. When my yeses turn me away from his refreshing, I begin to get scorched with the busyness of life. Often I consider pleasing others as so important that it sacrifices the nourishment I need to please them with what they really desire.... my love.
Just as my plants require certain conditions to survive and thrive, so do I. Feeling there are just too many conditions to provide for everyone, I choose those the ones generally accepted by others to be necessary. Yet, I am unique. God made me....well, me. What I need is not necessarily the same as what others need. I am jealous of those who don't appear to need so much refreshing.... so much time to think.... to rest.... to be still. I need quiet time every day for an hour to rest, do some muscle relaxation, listen to soothing music. I need time to read God's word and talk to him without interruption and without noise in the background. I need a relaxing bath once a week. I need candles burning to remind me of the peace and light of God. I need daily exercise... a walk, some stretching, some weight bearing exercise. I need lots of vegetables. I need to give myself food breaks once in a while. I need to smile at my kids more often. I need to play. I need to observe the people and world around me. I need more thankfulness in my heart. I need to take it easy on myself when I don't measure up to my own expectations... or when things aren't going according to the plans in my head. TRUST. GOD. DAILY. Minute by minute. BREATHE Him in. BE STILL as often as possible. Accept failure. Accept joy. Accept love. Give myself what I need not only to survive but to thrive. Protect myself and others from the scorching of the leaves of my spirit. Only then can I help others... and my plants ;) ... to thrive alongside me.
God is waiting to refresh my spirit... to heal my scorched leaves.. I will lay myself at His feet and receive His nourishing love like a wave of new life washing over me!