Watering My Own Yard

(This post is now three years old, but it was one of the most personally meaningful for me. The thoughts that began here changed my heart. Maybe our stories are similar, which is why I share it today.)

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Originally posted June 2010

While scrolling through Twitter last week, I came across a quote that rocked my world.  In talking about marriages, pastor Rick Warren said...

“The grass isn’t greener on the other side of the fence. The grass is greener where you water it.”

19 words.  That's it.  But I haven't been able to get those 19 words out of my head in over a week.

I know that marriages take work, but I often forget how much work is required for other areas of my life (such as rest, my relationship with God, my relationships with other people, the way I spend my time and money, etc). Instead, I am so quick to assume that the grass is greener in someone else’s life.

If you ask my parents, they will likely tell you that I have always been this way. Growing up, I was only content as long as I didn’t see something that looked better. As soon as I found something that appeared "greener", I worked to achieve or become whatever it was. The same is true today.

Driving to work this morning, I thought about how little time I spend doing the things I say I want to do (such as writing. sitting and listening to music, reading, and other things that equal life-giving rest). In this particular moment, I was also listening to Sara Groves (shocking, I know). From my perspective, she embodies peacefulness more than any other person I know. I made a mental list of the things I want to do, reflected on how unhappy I am that I so rarely do them, and was then jealous of the peaceful surrender that she seems to live in.

As soon as the thought entered my head I could almost audibly hear God say, “Well, do something about it. Water your own yard.” He didn’t say, “It’s ok Cara. You’re very busy and responsible. Let me rub your back and you just tell me about all the big important things you do and how you have no time for anything else.” Instead, He told me to do something about it. He told me to stop whining and start watering my own grass.

It’s not that I can’t read a book, sit and listen to music, or write a blog on a regular basis. I choose not to. I choose not to every time I choose to play on BJ’s iPhone, stay up watching TV, or find some other method of empty distraction. And I’ll be honest, I would love to believe that I just can’t do any of those things. The truth is that I can do all of those things, but it will require that I choose to give up other things.

It’s so much easier to believe that the grass is greener somewhere else. Then we never have to deal with our own yards.