Finding balance in life is hard for me. The children’s novel I’m writing is calling me, but so is the need for order in my house. Weeds clog my flower garden. Hobbies pull. I love time with my grandchildren and their parents. I prepare dinner and enjoy quiet evenings with my husband. Reading the Bible, engaging in Bible study, and meditating on His Word get short changed. The Holy Spirit is quiet. His nudges lack the urgency of the other clamor. Yet without quiet reflection, I have nothing to say when I write.
Did Jesus have anything to say about this problem? One story he told points straight at my heart. Mark 4:3-8, “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants so that they could not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown.”
If the soil is my mind, I must make sure it’s ready to receive the seed. A good farmer softens the soil by plowing and harrowing. He breaks up the hard lumps. What hard lumps exist in me? What sort of weeds choke out the seed? Unresolved anger that leads to bitterness and resentment, along with a refusal to forgive real and imagined offences come to mind.
A farmer times planting to maximize harvest. When I go through the motions of reading the Bible, but have so many other things on my mind that the words do not penetrate, there is no harvest. I’m feeding a whole flock of hungry birds, not planting. I need clear mental space, not just physical time, in order to grow faith.
Prayer guides say: focus on God first, on His power and goodness, before contemplating His Word or making requests. Jesus told us to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. (Matthew 6:33) He promised that everything else would fall into place if we obey. This is the secret for finding the balance we all need. It keeps those pesky birds from eating the seed before it can take root in our lives.
Have a blessed day in your personal spirit garden.