Flower or Weed? It depends.
Do you know the scientific difference between a flower and a weed? Nothing. Yep. It's true. The only difference between a flower and a weed is whether or not you want it to grow where it does.
What has taken root in your life that you don't want around? Is it grief? Struggle? Limitations? Uncertainty? Some of that might really need to go. But maybe not all of it. There might be circumstances you've been desperate to be rid of, yet have remained because God allowed them to. Maybe there is more to our pain than we can see.
I have struggled with depression and anxiety most of my life and I don't like it. It's shameful. It's difficult. It causes me pain and limits my life in frustrating, embarrasing ways. Like a dandelion growing in my backyard, I was sure it needed to be plucked, mowed, or zapped with weed-killer. I've considered depression a weed that I've repeatedly tried to remove and yet stubbornly returns despite all my efforts.
Even so, as I continue to follow Jesus, read His Word, seek Him out and bring my whole self to Him, I am discovering God and I have a very different perspectives on the things that have taken root where I didn't want to them to grow.
I see weeds.
He sees flowers.
It's caused me to reconsider the anxiety and depression that comes and goes like the tide. If God has chosen not to remove it (and trust me, I've asked. And asked. And asked.) then maybe He doesn't view it like I do. Maybe there can be more to my struggles than simply overcoming them. Maybe I've mistaken my deepest struggles for weeds when they might just be the most beautiful parts of my life.
My new book "Gathering Dandelions: Meditations and Musings on Faith, Fracture, and Beauty Mistaken for a Weed" is a series of short stories and observations about the everyday, ordinary stuff that at first glance appear to be dandelions; weeds that grow where we'd least want them to. And it's a book about the love and grace of a God who longs to gather up our deepest pain and rather than simply pluck it out, to create beautiful bouquets of contentment and joy.
I recommend a cup of tea and a scone while you read it. Each chapter is just a few pages. At the end of every one, there are a few questions and a prayer that offer a chance to reflect and respond. They are an opportunity to bring your whole, unfiltered self to God. And if your life is crazy and you haven't sat down quietly with a tea and scone for the last five years, then keep my book in your bathroom. I won't be offended at all. At least you'll have a quiet place to sit and read for a few minutes.
Gathering Dandelions: Meditations and Musings on Faith, Fracture, and Beauty Mistaken for a Weed is a result of coming to God with all of who I am and can be; Embarrassing. Joyful. Neurotic. Funny. Afraid. Passionate. Doubtful. Inquisitive. It is a demonstration that honesty with ourselves can be the first step toward honesty with God. And when we bring all of who we are before Him--no matter how much of a mess we might be--we will find a God of compassion, grace, power and love who will gather us up and create beauty out of the things we have most mistaken for weeds.