To make a long story short, I was not faithful at all. Some days I would forget. Other days I simply chose not to water my tomato plant. I would choose other things: resting when my energy was particularly low; working around the house when I had energy to spare; playing with the kids the rest of the time. These were not bad choices. In fact, they were good, but they had consequences: a tired, wilting, dieing plant, for one.
Or, so I thought:. Today, my husband said, "congratulations honey, you grew a tomato!"
(What a precious, loving man to say it that way, since he was the one who faithfully watered the plant when I did not.)
Needless to say, there was much rejoicing over our late bloomer! My three-year-old little boy and one-year-old little girl jumped up and down as I let out a loud "whoop!"
Watching my tomato plant this summer has been an eye-opening experience for me. This may sound silly, but I have been astonished at how much water this plant requires! I often think to myself: "I need to water it again? Water daily? Why can't it just take care of itself or live off what I gave it yesterday? Why does it have to be so high-maintenance?" (Obviously, I'm working through some legacy, negative self-talk....my thoughts toward the plant mirror how I treat myself - not validating my own needs much less moving toward meeting them.)
The answer to my silent questions?
Because that's how God made it to be. Because that's how God made me to be. Because the need for daily watering keeps us coming back to our Maker, daily. Whether I like it or not, I need daily replenishment, or I will wilt and wither just like my plant.
"On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified." (John 7:37-39, NIV)
I need much more than I realize. My self-sufficiency causes me to wilt and wither, but His grace produces growth. Even when I am unfaithful, He is ever present, at work for my good, providing so that I may grow.
One of the ways He provided? By bringing me to the end of myself and showing me how utterly, truly, and completely dependent I am. I can no longer ignore myself - I must acknowledge my own dependency so that I can go to the Source and let His Spirit carry me. If I'm honest, many days I can't even go to the Source; I simply have to sit and wait for Him to come to me.
So, I've started feeding myself. Good food, lots and lots of water, and intangible things like rest, play, grace. There are many less 'shoulds' in my life and far more 'wants'. It's really fun. Life is so much more peaceful and not dramatic this way. There is much less stress. And, I'm much more available for my husband and my kids (all by taking care of myself more!). Our home is more balanced because I am more balanced.
I wish everyone could experience this deep, convicting shift - this place from which, God willing, I will never come back. I am dug in, root deep, reaching out for the groundwater I know He is.