The last two posts have dealt with besetting sins and our need to disclose them to our spouse for help and hope in overcoming them.
- How You Deal With This Will Either Make Or Break Your Marriage
- 8 Principals To Follow In Dealing With Habitual Sins
I shared a while ago about God revealing to both Tom and me the importance of confessing our sins to each other. It was heart wrenching to share these besetting sins with my husband because I thought he would think less of me. I couldn’t have been more wrong! Being completely transparent with him actually brought about a deeper intimacy, one based on who we are in Christ, not on who we artificially manufacture for appearances sake.
Pride had a grip on my heart, and for years I never even noticed.
The Lord often uses pictures to communicate with me, much like the parables Jesus used to make a point. This time the picture He shared was so detailed I’ve never forgotten it. I call it my Secret Garden of Pride.
I saw a garden surrounded by a stone wall. It was overgrown and obviously neglected. As I walked through the tangled landscape I noticed a wild vine that had covered everything, from the planters to the flower beds. Nothing was free from it’s grip. I started to clear away the vine so I could see what was underneath. The more I pulled, the more there seemed to be. It didn’t take long for me to become discouraged at such a task. It was too much for me.
It was in that moment that I noticed it–a tiny green plant buried beneath the vines I had just removed. I gained a new resolve to clear away the tangles so that this little plant would have a chance to grow. No matter how motivated I was, the vines were too much for me to remove.
I stood up to relieve my back from the strain, when I noticed the wall surrounding the garden wasn’t very tall at all. What had seemed large and looming was in reality only a small barrier. I saw close friends I knew and loved milling about outside the gate. I invited them in to help me clear away the debris. In no time, the garden was transformed. What had seemed an impossible task to me, took no effort at all with the help of others.
The Lord impressed on my heart that this secret garden represented the thoughts in my heart, prideful thoughts I never shared with anyone. Although I never spoke them out loud, most who knew me recognized the thriving vine of pride all over me. It touched everything I said, thought and did.
“…for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” – Luke 6:45b
The Lord had me write down all the evidences of pride He was revealing to me–specific thoughts and actions where pride was my motivator. It was like ripping the roots out of the hardened ground in my secret garden. My hands hurt, but my heart ached even more for how my sin had affected those I love, and what it cost my Savior to set me free from its grip. With each pull of the vine, I was noticing a fresh sense of mercy and grace. It was refreshing and unexplainably invigorating. I loved my new found freedom and my garden had never looked healthier.
I could have never accomplished the clearing of this garden without the help of those who love me most and know me best. It took me humbling myself and sharing with my husband who I really was to release my heart from the grip this sin had on me. And once I did, the vine lost its strength.
While I will never be completely rid of this vine of pride, I now know how to keep it from taking over every part of my garden. I must be diligent, on guard and ready to confess when it starts to take root.
Are there any areas in your heart that your spouse is unaware of? Things you think often, but would never share? May I encourage you to take it to the Lord. Ask Him if this is an area in need of transparency? Let Him cultivate the garden of your heart, by inviting others in to help starting with your spouse. Your garden was never meant to be walled in, it was meant to be a place where others are always welcome in, to share with you what they are seeing and how God is transforming your secret garden into a place where His handiwork is on display.