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After two years of partial neglect, my garden has been overtaken by weeds.  Last year, I was recovering from major surgery, and the pulling, bending and stretching required for gardening wasn’t on my doctor’s list of approved activities. The previous summer, I spent every spare hour at my sister’s bedside as she fought the last battle of her war with cancer. This summer, back to new-normal gardening, we have pulled countless armloads of weeds, but they still multiply overnight.

And it’s not just the weeds! While I love the soft froth of pale blue forget-me-nots and bright chartreuse lady’s mantle in my border and in bouquets, this year they seem to have forgotten their manners. Like undisciplined children taking advantage of a kindly neighbor, these plants have sneaked into many off-limits areas. They even joined forces, navigated forty-five feet of lawn, and invaded my rose bed with their crowd of unruly offspring. I bought one plant of each several years ago; now there are dozens threatening the space of more well-bred plants like roses, iris, and peonies.

This morning, as I yanked dozens of unwanted seedlings from my borders and gravel paths, I thought how easily our life can be overrun by “weeds.” Without constant attention, a negative thought multiplies, becoming a negative attitude. An unconsidered action is repeated, and becomes a habit. We resist God’s grace to deal with an offense, and it quickly takes root and spreads, popping up in other relationships.

For a pleasant garden or a productive life, pulling weeds is an unavoidable necessity.