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It’s clean up time in the garden: raking leaves, pulling weeds, cutting back dead growth, and a myriad of other chores occupy most of my day. More random than methodical, I move from one thing to the other, often getting distracted from the task at hand to pull an isolated weed or place a piece of garden art in a different location. It may seem inefficient, but usually it makes sense (to me)…and that’s just the way I do things.

But there is one thing that is NOT efficient and doesn’t make sense: losing, or misplacing some item I’m working with and/or need! It can be gloves, a tool, my compost bucket, the fertilizer, water bucket, phone, glasses—nothing is exempt. I spend way too much time wandering around the garden, sometimes the garage and in the house, looking for things, which is very annoying and a big time waster. Anyone feel me?

I’ve thought about why this happens and have decided there is one main reason: mindlessness. I’m not present in the moment, but often operate on auto-pilot, thinking of something else while I’m doing something. I lay things down without paying attention and have no memory whatsoever of doing it; whatever surface is near when I lay down the object becomes its resting place.

ENCOURAGEMENT - apr 2024 - firmly planted - mindful.JPG

If I’m trimming plants and get up to take the trimmings to the bucket, I might lay the clippers near the plant. Often, something near the bucket catches my eye, say a random weed. I pull it; then start arranging the surrounding area, then three cups of coffee demand to be released from my bladder, so I take off my gloves, go inside, check my phone. Going back out I look for my gloves and clippers, which are where I mindlessly laid them. So begins the time-wasting search. This is just one scenario, but you get the picture.

I’ve learned I need God’s help for pretty much everything. When I identify a problem, a bad habit, wrong thinking—especially anything that requires internal change—I confess it (saying a reverent “yeah, I do that”) and ask him to help me. Working together, change comes. Not perfectly, not completely, most always slowly, but with my human limitations and frailties, that’s understandable. I’ll take whatever improvements we can achieve together while in this earthly realm.

I intend to be more mindful. That’s my intention, that’s my heart’s desire—to pay attention and be more in the moment as I go about my day. Since making this intentional decision to be more mindful, I’m experiencing some improvement. I find myself mindlessly laying my clippers down on a rock, but then I stop and think I won’t remember where that rock is. I put them somewhere that makes sense. I’m trying to be present in the moment instead of letting my mind wander to and fro with no rhyme or reason. Isn’t there an ancient admonishment to “take every thought captive”? Hmm, I see why!

Now, you know I pray as I work. Having a conversation with God in the garden is not mindlessness. I can be mindful of what I’m doing as I’m talking and listening, but it does take some intentional effort, and slowing down. It’s easy to get distracted, in a hurry, or follow an interrupting thought; but, forming a new habit takes repetition and time. God is patient and always there—I just have to be mindful of his presence, which I intend to do.

Mindful and Intentional
by Dina Cavazos

Then it hit me. I had been under spiritual attack and God came to my rescue! The fear had lifted. I can do this! As I thought about the night before I realized how exaggerated my fears were. I really did feel like Frodo facing Mordor. How dark and gripping were my thoughts about this small thing of stepping up to lead prayer! That’s what the enemy of our souls does, but God is greater.

I’m happy to say I led prayer and none of the things I had imagined and feared happened. Am I a fearless leader? No, but I know the One who is.

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