With all of the rain, hedges in front of my house had tons of green leaves. Growing, thriving—almost ready to burst out with fragrant white flowers. One problem. They attacked me every time I walked past them.
Overgrown and misdirected, branches shot in every direction grabbing hold of ankles and bodies. Walking from my front door to the car resembled a trek through a forest. Tall grass (well, maybe more weeds than grass) on one side and these menacing hedges on the other.
So, I trimmed the hedges. In the process, I discovered multiple volunteer trees. I don’t know how these trees sprout up where I least want them, but they do. And while I love trees, my yard cannot become a forest—especially snug up against the house and their green leaves brushing my face while I walk by.
I say I trimmed them. I might have gotten a little too aggressive. I might have given them a burr style cut for the spring and fast approaching summer. Hopefully, I didn’t throw them in a state of shock and the leaves will quickly return and cover the now bald spots on top.
In the process, I couldn’t miss the dead limbs beneath the beautiful green leaves. On the surface, my hedges looked beautiful—except for the wild multi-level branches sticking up and out of course. But when I cut away the leaves, all I saw was shades of brown and grey. Underneath, a lot of dead weight. Can’t be healthy, no matter how green the leaves appear. I pruned away many of those branches, hoping to renew life for the others where sap still flows freely. Time will tell whether I succeeded or will have to dig up hedges and replace them with something else.
It reminded me of how Jesus told the Pharisees they were like whitewashed tombs—lovely on the outside with rotting flesh hidden inside. We so easily dress ourselves up—put on our green leaves. But underneath, our hearts cry out for life. Our soul begs someone to cut away the façade and prune away the rotting pieces of pain, sorrow and sin. Yet, we keep our leaves tightly closed, terrified at the sound of a trimmer coming our direction.
Can I challenge you today? Move past that fear. Turn to Jesus first. He’s the only one who can truly bring our hearts back to life. But then find a trusted friend and share some of your inner self with him or her. Let that person be the one to help you pull back the leaves and restore life inside. To do anything less eventually allows the dead parts to take over, and soon even the surface doesn’t look so beautiful, no matter how green the leaves remain.
Now if I can just work through all the weeds and tall grass.