As a child, I had a hard time understanding why my dad would wake us up at the break of dawn. Nevertheless, his internal clock was equivalent to that of a rooster. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised, if during his ninety-one years of life, God used him to wake up the sun and tell it to rise. I, on the other hand, loved my blankets, and despised the farm work that was expected of me. Like most kids my age, I wanted to spend my summer vacation hanging out with friends, cooling off in the river, and riding my bike. In my opinion, spending a good summer day, chopping weeds in the chile field, was down-right torture.
I remember the moment, as if it were yesterday, how my dad beamed with pride as he handed me my first hoe. It was a couple of days after my 5th birthday. His smile was ginormous. My little mind anticipated an unexpected post-birthday gift. Much to my surprise, the smile came with an announcement. I was told that I would be joining my dad in the fields that coming summer. He spoke with joy as he explained how this meant that I would be one step closer to manhood. The enthusiasm he exerted would have been appropriate if he were handing me a golden heirloom. Much to my disappointment, he handed me a wooden pole with a piece of metal attached to the end of it.
While my dad viewed this moment as the best father-son moment ever, I interpreted it as a nightmare. The last thing that I wanted to do was spend my summers sweating in the hot sun cutting down countless weeds. Nevertheless, my dad was preparing to teach me a timeless principle. …. “Weeds choke up the life of a seed, and the earlier you remove weeds, the more fruitful the seed will become.”
Over the past few years, I’ve been intentional about improving the environment of my heart. There are dreams that I would love to see fulfilled and goals that I am determined to reach. Nevertheless, I am also reminded that I must be mindful of the environment that I choose to grow in. As painful as the process is, I’m learning to remove the things in my life that hinder my growth. To say this has been easy would be a lie. I have had to cut down habits, mindsets, unhealthy relationships, and beliefs that were keeping me from being all that God has created me to be. I wish that I can tell you that I’ve let each of these go with ease. Sadly, the truth is that I’ve thrown a number tantrums that have left me kicking and screaming over what I consider to be losses. There have also been moments where I’ve been able to do nothing but cry. Nevertheless, God’s love always sees me through. He wipes away my tears, embraces me in spite of my mess, and sends me on a path towards becoming the man the he has purposed me to be.
Recently, I ran into a single sentence found in the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church. The sentence reads, “And you are God’s field.”
I don’t believe that my discovery of this sentence was a coincidence. On the contrary, I believe that my discovery of this sentence was a divine reminder that the ground of my heart must be tended to if I am to fulfill my purpose. That means that my heart must be watered, cultivated, plowed, ….. and as much as I hate it, it must also be pruned.
Sometimes life calls on you to do things that you’d rather not do. I’m not fond of cutting down or plucking weeds. There are so many other things that I’d rather be doing on a beautiful sunny day. Nevertheless, this tiresome work is worth every blessing that it lays ahead. So, as I pluck every unwanted weed from my path I’m also choosing to say, “Thank you Lord for this privilege of being able to clear the path for what you have in store for me.”
Thankful for Jesus and thankful for grace.
John Eli Garay
John Eli has spent over 15 years mentoring and coaching individuals in life skills, career transitions, and through organizational change. His resume includes pastoral care, behavioral health, and higher-education advising. From an early age, John recognized that God created him to bring hope, healing and encouragement to others. He is currently walking out his purpose by helping others confront, and work through, self-inflicted trauma of past choices. His ministry includes blogging, speaking, and personal development coaching. He currently lives in Chandler, Arizona with his wife, mini-schnauzer and an antique piano whom he calls, “Betty.”
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