This past week, I had to get rid of all of our plants. It wasn’t an easy thing to do. These are plants that we bought right after moving into our first home together. I had dreams that I would be able to love these plants well and nurture them to grow beautifully. About three months down the line, things started to get complicated.
It started with just a few little bugs crawling around in the dirt of one of these plants. Eventually we realised that these bugs could fly, and they started occasionally buzzing around our faces. It was annoying, but ignorable. Soon after, though, they started to multiply. (Later on in my research, I would learn that these bugs produce around 300 eggs a day – each.) I noticed them in almost every one of the plants in our house. Favouring damp places, they started seeping out of the window sills and flying into our drinks.
Once it was too hard to ignore, we took action, of course. However, there didn’t seem to be enough vinegar in the world to douse these guys. We got pretty good at smacking them while they flew around our heads, but that also wasn’t stopping the problem. Even when we stuck the plants outside, the bugs came in through the vent in our kitchen. It got so bad that I started waking up nearly every morning to a bug flying into my nose. The problem had gone from a slight nuisance to a real intrusion in our lives. Not to be dramatic, but I felt a little helpless!
Until one morning – I realised that the only way to truly solve the problem would be to start fresh. To get rid of the bugs, we needed to get rid of the soil that they had laid hundreds of eggs in and the roots that they had made their homes. It was a big step. I had carefully selected those plants only months earlier, and we had invested both time and money into them. But, since getting rid of the plants and the soil they had claimed, we haven’t seen a bug since. There was freedom in that decision to start fresh.
The situation reminded me of a time in my life where I needed to start fresh on a much larger scale. At the age of 21, the small choices I made in life led to a big infestation of negativity. I thought that I had chosen a life that would make me happy, but I wasn’t. I tried to reform things in small ways, like pursuing new projects in my work, going on more adventures, and shopping at thrift stores (a lot). It came to a similar point as with the bugs, though. I realised that all of the small changes in the world couldn’t get to the root of the problem.
I needed a fresh start.
There wasn’t a lot that changed externally that day besides the ending of a long relationship. The real transformation came in my own realisation that I hadn’t been able to create a perfect life for myself. The root of the infestation of negativity was my pride. Once I admitted my inability, the negative thoughts swarming around me suddenly stopped. In that fresh start, God came in and started growing me again, from seedling onward. It hasn’t been an easy process, but He is the most caring and detail-oriented gardener.
Of course, this new life hasn’t been free of mistakes. The negativity still comes sometimes. Pride still shows its face more than I would wish. So, what keeps me from having to start fresh over and over again? How has it not gotten to another point of needing to take out the roots? This is what God has begun to reveal to me lately:
A vision is fulfilled by making the right decisions now.
The small ones that don’t seem like they’d make a lot of difference. Like actually reading the care instructions on a packet of seeds, remembering to water at the right time, and dealing with a bug problem before it gets out of hand. You see, I am a visionary person. It’s a strength and something I know God has gifted me with, to be able to dream big and think outside of the box. But with every strength, there is another side of the coin. I’m not always the best at taking those baby steps on the way towards a dream, or even being able to figure out what those steps are.
Lately, God has been speaking to us about some big-picture ideas. On the Media team here at YWAM Perth, we’re looking forward to what God wants to do over the next five years. Chris and I are also prayerfully looking ahead to what God has for us as a couple in the future. I absolutely love this first part: dreaming, planning, asking “what if”. I’m so grateful that God is using these big ideas to teach me how to take little steps with Him towards those dreams. I’m excited to learn how to make the right decisions that will lead to a tall, beautiful tree and not a bug-infested mess.