Watering My Own Yard

Originally published Thursday, 21 November 2013.

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

While scrolling through Twitter last week, I came across a quote posted by Rick Warren that shook me - “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 for over a week.

I often forget how much work is required for many 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 family, 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 my favorite artist, Sara Groves. From my perspective, she embodies peacefulness more than any other person I know. I made a quick mental list of the things I wanted to do, reflected on how unhappy I felt that I so rarely do them, and was then jealous of the graceful surrender 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 okay 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 do the things I want to do. I choose not to. I choose not to every time I choose to play on my husband's iPhone, stay up late 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 them, but it will require that I choose to give up other things.

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