As you probably already know I LOVE to garden. I wouldn’t say I have a green thumb or am really knowledgable or anything but I am out in the garden whenever I get the chance and it has taught me a lot about life.
This post won’t be filled with gardening tips. Just my musings about life that I think from my time digging around in the dirt.
Here’s what I’ve been thinking about as of late:
Pests are like sin.
If you aren’t regularly checking for them, you’ll find yourself overwhelmed and withering away.
This thought came to me recently but it all started early in the summer. I came out to water my bougainvillea one day and noticed it was not doing well. It had no blooms and barely any leaves. The ones that were still on were spotted, yellow, and wilting.
I turned over a leaf and discovered bugs. So many bugs. I looked under another leaf. More Bugs. The bougainvillea was covered in them. How had I not seen it before?!
Turns out they were mealy bugs. I white scaly insect that sucks the sap of your plant and kills it. I sprayed need oil (which is supposed to help) but there were too many. So I resorted to picking them off with a stick and crushing them.
I was SO upset (was my favorite plant going to survive???).
But the truth is mealy bugs didn’t just come out of nowhere, and I knew it. It probably started with one, and then the evil bug brought its friends, and then all the mealy bugs in the neighborhood moved in.
I wasn’t in the regular habit of checking for pests and all of a sudden my bougainvillea was dying before my eyes.
While picking the bugs off, I was reminded of how sin creeps into our lives in a very similar way. The reality is people don’t wake up one day and decide they are going to have an affair or beat their spouse or embezzle money.
It always starts with something small: Savoring the attention of a coworker, tension that has gone unresolved, the thought that some extra cash would solve all your problems. Just one “innocent” thought can snowball and lead you to a place you never wanted to be.
And if we aren’t regularly assessing our hearts for these things and crush them with a stick while they are small, you could find yourself withering away.
Even though bougainvilleas are almost impossible to kill, it was not immune to pests. Even though we might feel secure in our marriage, job, identity, we are not immune to sin and hurting others (and ourselves) in giant ways.
The good news is my bougainvillea didn’t die. It took maybe two months of hand picking bugs off, every day for at least an hour, and little flower buds started to form.
Then a week after that it exploded with blooms and is flourishing!
But I still go out at least once a week to check for bugs. For the most part, the mealy bugs are gone, but once in a while I’ll turn over a leaf and find it covered with bugs and am so thankful that made a habit of checking.
I am also thankful for this extra reminder, that I am not immune to sin and I want to be diligent about protecting this beautiful life I’ve been given.