5 years ago a friend of mine asked if I wanted some purple cone flowers for my flower garden around my house.
Having admired them in other gardens, I said yes and promptly planted them in a spot next to some other flowers. Turns out they were Brown Eyed Susans, a relative of the intended flower. And, further, they spread terribly. I enjoyed them the first summer but began ripping them out the next year as they spread through the iris and choked out some other plantings.
Now, some five years later, I am still pulling these plants. They grow and spread quickly. I never let them flower but pull them as soon as I can make sure I get them and not another plan that might be right in the same spot. When I pull them I know that some little root fiber remains and so I’ll be back pulling again in a week or so.
The truth is I will never be free from these plantings. I do have some choices:
- ignore them and let them take over the garden (BTW, they would be fine in an isolated spot surrounded by grass so they couldn’t take over another planted area)
- be irritated that I can’t get rid of them and thus fail to see the beauty around them
- stay vigilant but enjoy the garden
- try shock and awe by killing everything in that spot.
I find this is much like our persistent life problems. Whether by naive choice or by something beyond our control, we develop persistent struggles with things like anxiety, depression, addictions, relational challenges, etc. While God sometimes provide miraculous removal of these struggles, we rarely find complete freedom from these kinds of struggles. We may not be in crisis mode forever, but total relaxation and assumption of no return of the problem is rare also.
So, we too have some choices:
- be angry and bitter that the problem continues to have some place in our life
- blame others for our problems
- ruminate on why only we seem to have these problems
- try shock and awe and so destroy lots of other things
- accept the need to stay vigilant, going after the roots and shoots as soon as we notice them.
Does this illustration work for you?