Ye ol’ tomato plant

Yesterday as I went to sleep, I regretted the words I didn’t say and the chances I let go past, and in my wallowing, I pitied myself for the people I wanted to be more like but knew I would never be. The verse popped into mind, to “be changed by the renewing of your mind.” Not only was it late and I needed to power down my brain so I could get a good night’s rest, but it was unproductive of me to think such thoughts — I knew this.

Ultimately, I thought of my cherry tomato plant. I had adopted it on July Fourth from the farmers market, one small tomato already a ripe red, three clothed in orange, and several more in green. The guy who sold it to us recommended watering it every 5 days. By the time I noticed that it looked wilted, it was Sunday late afternoon. It had only been 3 days since I last watered it! I hurried to get some water and hoped the cooler evening temperatures would help it perk up.

An hour and half later, I peeked out the window, the plant now looking better but still with some bottom leaves curled and limp. Theoretically, if plants could be philosophical and if it were the philosophical type of plant, it could have decided that its few withered stems and leaves made it imperfect and sigh in despair. It could then give up on itself as a lost cause. As its owner, I knew that some of the plant could die due to my accidental neglect, but I also knew that I had tried to remedy the under-watering right away. Because I cared about it, I hoped the plant would accept the water, and thus live.

Similarly, as I lay in bed, I knew I could choose to dwell on my faults or continue to entertain misgivings about how I had acted during the day. I also knew I could instead choose to accept God’s grace — really, to breathe in grace and breathe out worship (Emily Freeman). My thoughts had taken a dangerous turn with the prolonged focus on “I,” and “me,” and I needed to veer quickly in the direction of God, His holiness, and His glorified name.

When morning came, the plant looked much happier. I, too, had gotten a night of much needed rest. Even though I continue to make mistakes, I’ve been declared perfect in His eyes and believing this means I can continue to be shaped and molded for His purposes.

“He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6)

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

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