Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Keeping up with the Jones', and other really bad ideas.

"There's one good thing about snow, it makes your lawn look as nice as your neighbor's."
~Clyde Moore

I went outside with my kids today to enjoy the beautiful weather. We were kicking balls, and picking up sticks when I noticed that my pebble area was full of last year's leaves that had yet to be raked up. DOGGONE! I'm going to have to go and rake those muddy things up now! The snow is gone. It's all melted. This is that special time of the year when you can see what did not get done last year. :)

We have AWESOME neighbors. They are so very opposite of me when it comes to taking care of their yard. If there is a weed in their yard, they bend over and pull the thing, because why would you leave a weed in your yard? My approach is usually more like this, "Well, there is a weed, but there are so many weeds really. If I pull that one I have to pull all the others. If I don't pull all the others, what difference does it make if I pull that one?" Deep thoughts, I know.

Sometimes my neighbors, who are really awesome, finish everything in their yard, and it dawns on them, "Hey! It's not dark yet. I think I will go take care of Alisha's yard." Not even kidding you. They don't do it every day, but they have done it on more than one occasion! The wife comes over and serves us by picking our weeds sometimes! The husband shakes his head with embarrassment, and says, "Just tell her to get out of your yard!". Of course, my response is always, "HECK NO! I hate pulling weeds. I think I'll just make her cookies and ask her to stay." He has had his share of helping us too, actually. When we first moved here and did not have a lawn mower yet, he surprised us by showing up in our backyard with his riding lawn mower and knocking it out one night. I was so impressed! I was shocked, actually, and then I was really impressed. How nice!

My neighbor is a doll. I love her. You would too. She is fit, and beautiful. She works hard, and takes delight in her work. She takes joy in working her yard! (exclamation point) THEN, she takes joy in serving us by working our yard. (EXCLAMATION POINT!) Unbelievable, right? So, why do I tell you all of this. Two reasons:

1. So you can get a laugh.

2. To make you think.

There are so many places I could go with this, actually. I could probably do a whole series called, "Things I learned from my neighbor". Maybe I will someday. I could also do a series called, "Things not to do in your yard." Not today though.

Today, my point is this. Have you ever been the one who needed help? I mean, have you ever been in a place where you really just could not keep up with all the demands before you? I have/am. Don't you just wish you could be the type that has all the weeds perfectly plucked? I do. I want to keep up. I want to have a beautiful yard. I like Winter, because the snow makes my yard look as good as my neighbors. But, then comes Spring, and all it's foliage....and weeds. Are you depressed yet? :) I am reminded of the things I did not get to last year. I am reminded of the leaves that need to be raked, and the sticks I failed to pick up...and how did that poop get there? We don't even have a dog. (no, really, who's poop is that?)

Hahaha...anyway, where was I? OH yes! When we first moved here I felt significant pressure to keep up with my neighbors. I knew nothing about working a yard. We didn't even have our own lawn mower, for crying out loud! I didn't know the difference between a weed and a thing worth keeping. I was totally clueless. Now, I know some things, but I lack the zeal for keeping it up, and there are still many things I don't know. I get tired, overwhelmed, and hungry. I'm basically always hungry. Am I annoying you yet? :) I want to keep up with everyone around me, but I just can't seem to do it. I keep trying anyway, but at some point I had to come to terms with the idea that we would never have a yard that looked THAT amazing. Not in a "I just don't care" kind of way, but more of a "I just can't be stressed out about that when I need to be dealing with my baby and I can't afford all the cool gadgets to make my yard do THAT". I had to choose what to pour my energy into. Those kinds of decisions are hard to make, aren't they? If I can't do it all by myself, does that make me a failure? Sometimes I tell myself I am a failure if I can't do "it all". I can start beating myself up, and sizing myself up to all of the people around me...not just in my yard, but in every area of my life. I can stand with pride and say, "NO! I don't need help! Get out of my yard!" The truth is, though, I need help. My neighbor took time to show me how to do some things in my yard. She trimmed down a bush I didn't even know you could trim down. She gave me the idea to cut off a massive branch of a giant tree that had broken and died in a storm. From there I realized I could trim other branches that needed trimming. She actually bought me some grass shears because I thought hers were so cool! So, what do I do with that? LOVE her. That's what I do.

Are you help-able these days? It's actually God's design that you help and be helped. Are you stopping someone from helping you because you are feeling proud? Let someone be a blessing to you. It's okay. What's holding you back? Whatever it is, pray it out, and ask God to take that from you. Are you helping others? I may not be able to help people with their yard, but certainly I have something worthwhile to give. If you are not currently helping people around you, pray and ask God to give you eyes to see someone around you who needs you. He'll honor that prayer.

The body of Christ. I love the body of Christ. Bless and be blessed. Do not be so proud that you cannot accept help, and do not be so busy that you cannot pour into the lives of those around you. It is not God's plan that you isolate and work really hard to keep up with everyone around you on your own. Get your focus off of keeping up with everyone. It only leads to judgment and jealousy...both are quite ugly. God's plan is that you have a family of believers to walk alongside of you and cheer for you when you are down. It is not His plan that you point out all of the people who are failing to keep up, and then throw yourself a pity party every time you fail to keep up.

Do you need help right now? Pray. Seek help. Ask God to show you where you can get the help you need, or ask for His strength as you attempt at tackling the things He is calling you to.

Is someone on your heart today? Pray. Ask if you can help that person. Give them the blessing of knowing that they are not alone. They will love you for it, but even if they don't, you are obedient...and that's really all that matters. God can take it from there.

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