(I wrote this in 2012 just before releasing my book Discovering Your Authentic Core Values. This is the result of the process I went through that I document in that book. If you’re thinking about getting clear about who you are and where you’re headed in life, this is a great starting place.)
This evening I spent a quiet half-hour watering our newly planted garden. I’m not an experienced gardener; I’m not really a gardener at all. I’m mostly the hired help for my wife’s garden. But she’s away on a trip and so I’m keeping the thing alive for her.
As I watered, I was thinking about the new, young plants forcing their way through our soil and the small weeds spreading quickly in every direction. There are hours of work in our future–watering, weeding, pruning and caring for these little plants.
All of this brought to mind my own life and the new season I’m in. Like the spring weather that’s calling these little plants out of the soil, I’m in a new phase of life. I’m working through what I’m calling an emotional recovery. As the lead pastor of a small church with big dreams, I came very near to burning out. (If that story is interesting to you, you can watch me tell some of it here.)
The scars in my own heart and my closest relationships are still fresh. I’ve been in counseling for a year. I’ve been reading about a deeper, more emotionally healthy way of living for the past three. I’ve opened the door of my heart to new friends, to counselors and mentors, and increasingly to my wife. Which, by the way, is a big deal for someone who has lived just over 40 years keeping his heart to himself. I’ve been journaling intensely for the past two years.
God seems to be doing gardening work in my heart. Turning the hard-packed soil. Pulling up some weeds that have taken deep root. Tilling in some much needed nutrients. The process is still painful, but something new is emerging, like the little plants fighting through in our garden.