5 To-Do’s from God in the Yard

My final and twelfth week of the spiritual practice with God in the Yard ended on the week of the tornadoes—what a strong way to punctuate how powerful he is in the yard!

While I’m still soaking in what he taught me,
here are five to-do lessons
that I pray will stick with me even though the twelve weeks are over:

1. Don’t hoard; there’s enough to go around.
I don’t always like sharing my space.  bird friendsAnd I need a certain amount of alone-time. ants on flowersSo initially I doubted I had margin in my schedule to pull this off.

On February 9 of Week One I wrote:

I shouldn’t bother with 12 weeks of this because I don’t have time for it. I’m too practical. I’m too structured.

I’ll get so off my schedule that supper won’t get cooked, the house won’t get cleaned, the papers won’t get graded, the e-mails won’t get answered…..

...I already have too much to do that isn’t getting done.

So God smiled and said,Watch me!”
And for Week One, he sat me on the beach during Jeff’s business trip.
What’s a girl to do? I had to give him a chance:

Today I will sit at the water’s edge on a blanket with my cap and my notebook and my pen and I will write.
I will think.
I will pray.

I will forget about time.

Twelve weeks later, I realized I still had time to do what needed to be done, and I could delight in sharing my outside space.

There’s enough room and resources for everybody. God doesn’t hoard any of his bounty; neither should I. If I’ve freely received (and I have), I should freely give.

2. Pay attention to things outside; they’re huge. big trees There were much bigger things to see outside than inside.

In huge expanses I have room to stretch and grow and see a long way off. God has bigger things for me to see (Himself!) outside of my own little world of me and mine.

If I’ll keep looking around and out and up, I’ll see more of Him than if I only look in.

3. Invite the outside in.
(But try to avoid inhaling gnats through a breath…)daisies outsideWhat I saw outside could often be brought in. daisies inside

All I know is I’ve enjoyed a break from the ordinary and stepping, even temporarily, into the extraordinary world of focusing on God and growing.

Perhaps that is why he gives it to me—
so I can take it back into the ordinary and do better there.

Nurturing growing things out there can supply beauty for me in here. Ripe, juicy fruit is not only, or even primarily, for eye appeal, but also for nourishment and pure pleasure—delicious tastes to be enjoyed inside the body.honeysuckle

4. Don’t trash the broken things; they can still be useful. broken swingI wasn’t sure my old swing would hold up if I sat in it more in twelve weeks than I had in twelve years. But it didn’t drop me a time.

My spirit felt broken during several of those sittings too, but God never let me fall either.

Doesn’t he delight precisely in using broken things so his strength can shine through?

5. Look longer at pretty things.
baby mallardsThe more time I spent gazing on his beauty, the more I saw him. Watching for and then enjoying the first blooms of spring provided even more reasons to praise him. petuniaBut because I felt totally inefficient sitting and staring at a flower, this was hard for me.

And revealing:

I worship at the throne of efficiency because I get more done that way and I like getting things done.
It’s satisfying. It seems so productive.

But is that enough?
Is that what You want from me?
Is that Romans 12:1-2?

...Perhaps some things don’t call for efficiency, but call for attentiveness.

What is the opposite of hurry and rush? Being in the moment and staying aware? Perhaps?

Yes. At the end of twelve weeks, was I glad I was inefficient several days each week with God?

What’s outside is seeping in.
I’ve been inefficient. It’s been killing me.
     And it’s been healing me.

flowers by the lakeYes. Spending time with God in the Yard was a spiritual discipline unlike any I’ve ever done. It brought contemplation, gratitude, silence, submission, celebration.

And a deeper view of grace. And love. And the glory of the Father.
I’m in awe of Him.

I’d say that makes it time well spent.
Wouldn’t you?

To hold back change is harder than to flow with it.

Maybe this is exactly what I needed, and maybe God brought this book into my life in this year because of my theme of Depend and Delight.

And if not now, when?

What better time to renew than always now???

* * *

Has lesson has God blessed you with this week?


Graceful said...

Lisa, I am so proud of you and impressed that you stuck with all 12 weeks of the God in the Yard exercises. You know I read the book...but I didn't dare try the sitting?! I think I worried about the inefficiency of it. The book still sits front and center on my desk, though, which means I am still thinking about it. You inspire me -- I may have to give it a try!

Lisa notes... said...

Well, I KNOW you have the discipline for it. So proud of you for not caving in to the flip-flops. :-)

Yes, the inefficiency required for God in the Yard was one of the hardest things for me to come to grips with. But in the end, I’m having to redefine what efficiency is anyway. Always something to be working on… God is faithful to never let us be satisfied where we are in our relationship with him, but to keep seeking him more and more in many ways. Thanks for all the ways you encourage me.

Katie said...

Sounds like God has taught you a lot. I am excited for you. I don't have a yard, since I am in an apartment... but I have been trying once a week on a lunch break to go to the park and sit for half an hour of my hour break.

God reminded me again this week: I can't fix someone else. I (AND God) can only work on me and be honest with the other person involved with what I am feeling.

Susanne said...

"Try to avoid inhaling gnats" cracked me right up. What a great series this has been, Lisa. Thanks for sharing it with us through the fives.

Lisa notes... said...

Sitting in the park once a week is a great thing to do. I think I may borrow your idea and use once a week as a reasonable goal for me now to go outside and continue with this. After my 12 weeks were up, my time outside drastically ended too, but I don’t want to let it all slip away.

I think we all need reminding often that we can’t fix anybody else. It’s a hard lesson to have to keep learning. God is far more patient with us than we usually are with others…

Willow said...

I'm so glad blogger cooperated so you could share this with us. What you've experienced during the past 12 weeks is amazing!

Our Village is a Little Different said...

Thank you. What a beautiful post! I'm glad you took the time to do it, and that you shared it. What wonderful lessons for all of us!

Gattina said...

Nice that you have done what you wanted to do !
My Friday's 5 post got lost, now I got it back as a draft, but it is too late now, it's already Saturday and other memes are on.
Was the first time that this happened since 2006 when I started blogging !

Love Bears All Things said...

What a beautiful post...
Often, I hear people, women mostly, say: I don't have time for this or that...and I have to say: we all have the same amount of time...we choose what we want to do with it..
Mama Bear

susan said...

thanks for sharing some of your journey in this post and others about God in the yard. i've never heard of the book before, but now will check it out.

i am not big on rearranging my schedule, being outdoors, or being so disciplined. but i am big on learning to be nearer to god.

it will be interesting to see what "sticks" from this 12 week "practicum."

Brenda said...

Great comments, we do need to take time to look at pretty things, they can bring us so much joy.


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