Garden Therapy

by - August 14, 2012


Back in high school and college, I was highly introspective, prone to times of getting lost in my emotions and thoughts, and wrote a lot of poetry that anyone on the brink of despair should never read. Writing was my therapy, and some of it was actually beautiful, but as kids have entered the picture, there just aren't words, and there is far less introspection. Whenever deep(er) thoughts start to creep up, they are usually interrupted by little gremlins disguised as adorable yet occasionally fussy boys. 

I'm okay with it all. I've been more at peace in the past year without all those deep thoughts. However, I do have my outlets. I keep my hands busy in the garden and at the pottery wheel. Somehow, bringing structure to lumps of clay and plots of soil is exceedingly satisfying to my soul. I'm firmly convinced that we all need our outlets or we will eventually have a massive meltdown. I worry about parents who have no hobbies or pleasures outside of work and raising children. Our kids need to be shown that they are not the center of the universe (since they are born convinced they are), and they need us to be healthy, emotionally and otherwise, so they too can learn that life requires some element of balance, or at least a struggle to not let all those things that say we must do them steal all of our short time here on earth.

When I step back from the shovel and the clay, I do wonder, does this matter? Does it matter that I am creating something? Does it matter that I am tending to plants? Well, I suppose my creations and work don't truly matter, but what matters is that in the process of it all, I find in enjoyment, and that enjoyment draws me to Jesus. 

John Piper made the statement, "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him." 

For many years, I was obsessively focused on discerning God's will for my life. I wanted to know his plan for me. I felt I was created for something huge, and I feared life passing without my having accomplished it. I remember a few weeks after my child was born, driving home from an errand and tears falling realizing that already God had done something huge through me in creating Scooby. I could now die in peace. Just kidding, I wasn't ready to die, but I did see that God's work would not be about my own arrival or glorification but His.

I just searched the Piper quote and found a bit he wrote on Christian hedonism and thought it was worth sharing.

We all make a god out of what we take the most pleasure in. Christian Hedonists want to make God their God by seeking after the greatest pleasure—pleasure in him.
By Christian Hedonism, we do not mean that our happiness is the highest good. We mean that pursuing the highest good will always result in our greatest happiness in the end. We should pursue this happiness, and pursue it with all our might. The desire to be happy is a proper motive for every good deed, and if you abandon the pursuit of your own joy you cannot love man or please God.
 I think when we stress, analyze and delve to the depths of introspection, we think we are seeking God, but sometimes all we find is more of ourselves, more of our guilt-laden, self-absorbed, unsatisfied, scared-of-failing selves. For now, I'm done with it. I will pray that God will show me in His time the places He wants to touch in my heart, that He will be doing the transforming work so I can focus on enjoying Him so that others may see He is a God of love and joy, and who brings beauty to all things broken.

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