“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:12-14 (NLT)
Today I mowed the grass.
Yeah, I know. Not a big deal. You’re right. Totally not a big deal.
Unless you don’t have a lawnmower. And you are completely dependent on others to mow your grass for you. And your heart’s desire was to use an old-timey mower (new, of course) to get a good work-out and help the environment but you find you don’t have enough horsepower to mow a yard your size.
So, when hubs announced that my father-in-law had fixed my mother’s old push mower (everything except the self-propel worked), I jumped at the chance to get it back and mow my grass.
I’m sure most of you are thinking I’m bonkers. I’m not going to argue with you, but I’m going to explain why this was such a big deal for me.
My History with the Lawnmower
One of my chores growing up (once I was old enough) was to mow the grass. All three of the offspring were required to cut the grass once we were old enough to handle the mower and not run over flower beds, bushes, toes, or anything else of importance. We split the yard into three sections, and each daughter completed her section. While I hated most of my chores – I mean, who really loves cleaning a toilet or folding your father’s underwear – this was one chore I relished. I loved being outside. Cutting the grass gave me time to my thoughts, and as I grew older and began a relationship with the Lord, cutting the grass gave me time to be with Him.
Yup, Jesus and I had lots of conversations while I pushed that mower around the yard.
I loved this time so much that often I would do my younger sister’s portion for her. She didn’t mind.
And, when my older sister moved off, I took her portion of the yard as well. So, somehow mowing the entire yard became my chore.
I did not mind. Not one bit.
A new chapter in life.
Fast forward to getting married. We were given a lawn mower, but J and I decided to return it and get other needed items because we were getting a used riding mower from his father. Fast forward more and you’ll find the riding mower was constantly breaking down. Fast forward some more and you’ll see that my father-in-law graciously came over and mowed our yard as often as we needed, despite having to travel 45 minutes one way to get to our house. (Like me, he enjoyed mowing the grass.)
During this time my depression worsened. No, not because of a silly lawnmower. I’m what you would classify as a “hypersensitive” person. Many think that is a load of bull, but believe me, it’s real. I experience highs and lows in a much more extreme way than the average person. So, I’ve always been on the brink of depression. But my lowest point came after marriage.
Before you think the hubs is a really horrible person, let me clarify. I struggled with balancing adulthood, a career, being a wife, and running a household. I had all of these ideas of how it should look…which it did not end up like. And this, folks, was well before Pinterest.
The real problem? My relationship with Christ went from being the top priority in my life to barely registering on the totem pole.
Then, my sweet baby came along. And, as happy as I was to have such a beautiful child in my life, I struggled even more to balance my life. That’s when my worst bout of depression came. I am incredibly thankful my husband didn’t give up on me because his prayers and the prayers of my family helped me get out of that pit. I was so lost in my faith that I had given up.
Slowly I began to see Christ’s Hand reaching for me. It had been there all the time but I was so consumed with condemning myself that I hadn’t noticed it.
And, here I am today…not “cured” of depression but learning how to overcome it through Christ.
Lawn care and Quiet time.
I thought about all of this as I mowed the grass. I’m telling you…I have deep thoughts when I cut grass.
I began to see a parallel between my relationship with Christ and taking care of my yard. Both are things that require continual attention. I can’t mow my grass once in a blue moon and expect it to be okay. Likewise, I can’t read my Bible once and expect to hear Christ clearly.
See this ant bed? Every time I came across a section of grass that was almost too difficult to mow, I found an ant grass or a pile of poop at the bottom of it. (I figured you’d rather see the ant bed than the poop.) You know what keeps those away? Constant mowing keeps the ant beds at bay and scooping the poop up regularly…well, you get the picture. If those things are done regularly, mowing the grass is much more manageable.
Not the case this time. See, someone hasn’t been doing their job. (Insert awkward cough here.)
Seeking the Lord every single day is like mowing my grass regularly. When I seek His face daily, the difficult things seem much more manageable. I’m not saying they won’t exist or they’ll seem like nothing, but through Christ you have the confidence to persevere, to push through them.
There were times when I was mowing the yard and I thought, “I can’t do this. This is too hard. I’m too out of shape for this.” In other words, my body wanted me to give up. I’ve heard that before. When the boy is throwing a tantrum. When supper is burnt. When a student at school got under my skin. When I felt no one noticed my hard work. When someone in the family is sick.
Before I would have given up.
But now I hear, “You’re right. You can’t do this. But, with Christ’s help you can.”
I looked at the portion of yard left to mow. It seemed unattainable. I looked at what I had already mowed. A cooling breeze from a nearby storm blew my way. Yes, Lord, with your help I can do this.
And, guess what?
I did it. I mowed that yard. High five to Jesus.
Whatever the circumstance, don’t give up. Keep pressing onward.