“There is a time for everything,” says the Teacher, “and a season for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot. . .” (Eccl. 3:1-2).
I carry on with my own lines, letting the wisdom in the Teacher’s words nudge me a little deeper into God’s gentleness in the areas where I need it today.
There is a time to press deep into theology, and a time to relax and enjoy God in his creation. A time to keep one’s seat in the chair and fingers on the keyboard, and a time to close the laptop and head out to the balcony where the hanging basket is pleading for attention and the breeze touches shoulders gently and the body and soul have room to breathe.
Sometimes what my plants need is not more fertilizer, but a little attention with the scissors as I pause to snip away the rubbery nub left behind when the fuchsia flowers fall. Sometimes what I need to flourish is not more theology and Scripture—more fertilizing—but the pruning away of some beliefs and behaviours that discourage further blooming.
I carry on, cleaning away the papery pouches which hold the nemesia seeds, watching the small seeds scatter. Unlike the fuchsia, which will stop blooming if I fail to remove the pods, the nemesia don’t really need their pods removed, but I’m having fun now, and maybe a little TLC will help them flourish?
And maybe, sometimes, the choice to stop working and savour life and beauty is, in that moment, the greatest manifestation of trust.
Sitting out here on this summer morning, I realize that I’m pruning away bits and pieces that keep me from blooming at the same time as I’m tending my plants.
I’m releasing my grip on the belief that work must always come before play. (There is a time for everything, and sometimes weariness can be God’s messenger, nudging me toward his gentle care and the renewal he gives through rest.)
I’m letting go, too, of the belief that God delights more in my work-worship than in my rest-worship, and takes more pleasure in my productivity than my play.
I’ll need God’s gentle reminders again, I’m sure—probably in the not too distant future. But how lovely that he knows me and loves me and keeps calling to me, as he does to all of us, precisely in the areas he knows we most need it, summoning us to come and settle a little more deeply in his love.