What should you do when you’ve been deeply hurt by another person? What if the hurt was intentional? What if they don’t see the problem, or they don’t care about your pain?
Today I’m honored to welcome Sherry Gareis, author, life coach, and one-half of the awesome team at Action Plan Ministries. She’s going to share with us what she learned through one very difficult period of her life. Sherry …
These are some of the first words that come to mind when thinking about the ugly, unwanted weeds that can overtake our beautifully manicured lawns and garden beds. But did you know that weeds can create a stronghold on the joy of your heart as well?
They can. And they do.
When we allow annoying, undesirable, and destructive emotions to invade our hearts, we suffer the consequences of their destructive presence. I’ve experienced this firsthand.
Angry and bitter. Looking back, I would definitely describe myself as an angry and bitter person. Not necessarily by nature, but by allowing my circumstance to plant destructive weeds in my heart.
I was blessed with two sons from my first marriage. After only seven years, I felt I had no choice but to divorce my then husband. Most divorces are unpleasant at best, but this divorce was particularly nasty and difficult. We even had a judge ask us to leave his office because he found us to be volatile and combative. We were.
Accepting that divorce was inevitable was hard enough, but I had been wronged and I was hateful. While my anger might have been righteous and justified, the effect it had on me was devastating.
Only in my 20’s, and in relatively good shape and health, my blood pressure crept into the unacceptable range. I began having panic attacks. At times I allowed my negative emotions to sway my better judgement.
The weeds of self-pity, frustration, and heartache ran deep.
My doctor wisely told me, “I don’t know what you have going on in your life, but whatever it is, get rid of it.” That was a huge wake-up call.
I couldn’t completely remove my ex-husband from my life. We did have two young sons, after all. But I could, and did, remove the destructive emotional and negative weeds that had taken root in my heart.
I didn’t get worked up over situations I had no control of. I didn’t allow negative feelings to fester. And I didn’t look for opportunities to engage. In fact, unless absolutely necessary, I avoided them.
The difference in my life was glorious. The situation didn’t drastically change. There were still disagreements and court battles, but my heart was strong, healthy, and happy, which translated into more joy than I had known for quite some time.
The Nature of Weeds
It’s both fascinating and infuriating how plants handled with kid gloves can still struggle and die, yet weeds, left unattended and undesired, seem to always flourish. Likewise, negative thoughts and feelings will breed with very little help. It takes an intentional effort to keep unwelcome roots of negativity from planting themselves in your heart.
Weeds don’t stay contained in their own nice, neat little area. They take root, find any way out possible, and spread like wildfire. Negativity is similarly contagious. A poor attitude or toxic behavior will extend to those around you and invariably infect your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers.
Killing weeds is a painstaking, tedious process. It’s rarely ever ‘once and done’! Those darn weeds keep coming back. Keeping negativity at bay requires an ongoing effort as well. You may even have to roll up your sleeves and tackle a big clean-up or overhaul from time to time, but consistently chopping down harmful behaviors and patterns will pay off in the long run.
I’ve been called crazy, weird, and just plain ridiculous, but I love pulling weeds. Honestly! It’s very cathartic for me. I gather my gloves, knee pad to rest on, digging tool and bucket, and go to town. My mind wanders while my hands work. I can be both free and productive at the same time.
But sometimes the task is too big, even for this weed-pulling enthusiast. Occasionally I need to pull out the big guns. Yes, the dreaded weed spray. This comes in handy for itty-bitty ground cover which is just too small to pull, or for the very large areas that need tending to. I try to stay ahead of the growth so big jobs aren’t often necessary, but during a particularly rainy season (Yes, we do have them here in AZ), I gotta do what I gotta do.
Are you making the correlation yet?
Sometimes just a fine-tuning is all that’s needed to eliminate the aggravating, isolated weeds that have popped up in your heart. This can include:
- A personal attitude adjustment
- Inspirational reading
- An honest conversation with a trusted friend
- Enlisting the help of an Action Team Member for accountability (read more here)
- Creating an Action Plan to get unstuck (read more here)
But conversely, certain seasons of life can be particularly taxing and may require a more aggressive approach. Or perhaps you’re in need of a complete heart renovation project after years of neglect. You may need to consider:
- A complete shift in the people you associate with and / or the places you go
- Individual coaching and/or counseling
- Group Therapy
- Medication (under the supervision of a trained professional, of course)
Move quickly to conquer any unwanted intruders, large or small. The longer the weed roots grow, the more deeply embedded they become and the more difficult they are to remove. Likewise, heart weeds can produce deep rooted issues that are more challenging to remove the longer they are ignored.
Just as with their counterpart, weeds in your heart can crop up at any time. This may seem to occur without provocation, but somewhere beneath the surface there’s fertile ground inviting the root to take hold. It doesn’t take much to yield a plentiful crop. Plenty undesirable that is!
Examine the condition of your heart. Is it ripe for the growing? If so, cultivate a garden to be proud of; one worthy of God’s approval. With proper care and attention, your heart’s garden will thrive and produce a bumper crop of positive emotions, thoughts, and feelings, ultimately yielding joy unimaginable.
Thanks, Sherry! You’ve given us so much to think about. Readers, which part of this spoke most clearly to you?
About My Guest
Lindon & Sherry Gareis, founders of Action Plan Ministries, are Christian Life Coaches from sunny Arizona who have a passion for helping people declutter their lives. Utilizing their combined personal and professional experience, they equip, encourage and inspire others through purposeful advice and practical application. The Gareises, AKA Grammy & Grampy, enjoy writing, boating, hiking or smoking a mean rack of ribs with family and friends. They love spending time together and are committed to a lifelong honeymoon.
To read more about the Gareis’s, click here.
If you’d like to read my review of their book, Declutter Now!, please click here.
If you’d like to read my review of the study based on their book, please click here.