You all know the saying "The Grass is greener on the other side." And you also have heard the rebuttal "The grass is greener where you water it."
I concur with the latter statement. But I am going to take it a bit further today, if you don't mind.
Over the last 15 years, the statement of watering where you stood had been ingrained in to my brain regarding my marriage. I took it seriously, too. My vows, my commitment to my spouse, my hope for a love that would last forever and would overcome any difficult storm we could possibly face together. I had dreams of being that old couple at our local Applebee's who would patron so often the servers would know our names (and our orders!) and we would dole out unsolicited marital advice to anyone would stop by our table.
I am a hopeless romantic. I like to come off pretty tough, but let's get real.....I love love.
So, what was I supposed to do when everything fell a part and I was still trying to water a garden that was dying? I was doing everything I could to save a marriage and fight for a man who couldn't even stand to be in the same room as me, while at the same time I was withering away emotionally and mentally and becoming a shell of a human being.
When I finally had to admit that there was no saving and to stop watering and give myself the permission to walk away, I was not in a very good spot. My heart was shattered. I was emotionally bankrupt. Friendships were even difficult. Going out and having fun with my kids proved to be excruciating, because all I could dwell on was what was no longer there: the man I loved and the father of our children.
Have you been there? Are you there right now? Let me tell you what I decided to do: I decided to still apply the principle of watering your garden, but this time, it wasn't the marital garden and it wasn't the nurturing of a spouse or anyone else. It was time to invest in my own garden. It was taking the time to pay attention to what I needed. It was taking inventory of my own heart and my own mental, physical and emotional health.
The watering that I did included:
*Speaking more kindly to myself.
*Turning off the negative voices in my head that constantly reminded me of how worthless I was.
*Spending a lot more time in God's word.
*Going back to the things I enjoyed (reading, writing, working out, running, playing).
*Reconnecting with my girlfriends.
*Choosing to laugh. Loudly, without fear that someone was going to tell me to be quiet because I was being too loud.
*Serving in the church again and discipling women.
I could go into more depth about my own personal journey. I want to take a moment to encourage you for a second.
Water your garden. Do the things you enjoy. Take up space. Take inventory of where you are right now. This won't be done perfectly. One of the best encouragements I received recently from a friend was that I was not and had not spent the time watering my garden in order to reinvent myself (although sometimes, that can be true....growth happens when you are being fed and nurtured). I was rediscovering myself.
That person you used to be? The one with the big dreams and emotions and passions? Those passions that you let slip by the wayside or you put aside because you either couldn't pursue them or you weren't encouraged to? Or maybe, you were told too often that you who you were was too much or not enough.
Rediscover that person. Fall in love with that person. Invest your time and energy into that person again. Water where you stand, absolutely. It is okay if where you stand right now means investing in mostly YOU at the moment. There will come many opportunities for you to nurture the other relationships in your life. Children, friendships, family, possibly even new love (should you choose).
But the encouragement I leave with you today is to invest in YOU and work on your own heart.
How will you water your garden starting today?
With Grit and Grace,