Our family recently moved into a new home and due to various complications, I couldn’t unpack my kitchen. This being the main hub of the home, it was stressful, so I put my energy into the yard and soil–gardens are such a happy place for me. In attempt to beautify our space, I planted a veggie garden and many flowers around the yard. I had a joyful vision of blooms, produce and a harvest of veggies for later in the summer, so I worked for 12 hours weeding, then many more hours of planting, hours of caring and repeat weeding the same spaces. Now, months later, we have a lovely full garden and happy blooming flowers in abundance. It has been amazing to see and experience the growth, the work and rewards of gardening. Consequently I have had many thoughts about this application to my own internal heart-work. The move and previous six months had layers of challenges and been so strenuous; I was self-aware that my soul was fatigued and sadly sour weeds had grown in my heart garden. We all struggle with our weaknesses, mortality, baggage and vulnerabilities. Yet I think our trials offer us the chance to stare at them in the face and work on them, pick at and overcome each from different progressive angles… IF we are but willing to be humble and do the work. So here I am in a new scenario, uncomfortable from change and struggling in my situation. Weeds of weaknesses started growing, and I felt the shift inside that shook my center a bit. So I took the analogy of the garden and realized there is a choice to either let the weeds grow or replace them with a happy vision of blooms and productive produce.
In Alma 15:17, it talks about “a great check” when Alma and Amulek were teaching at Sidom. They specifically call it A Great Check and I love this instruction and have taken it to heart. It is described further in “that the people were checked as to the pride of their hearts” and offers a few keys to checking ourselves so that we “might be delivered from Satan, and from death and from destruction.” Yes, please, I want to know! So I experienced A Great Check and already feel a peace and am weeding out the ugly from my heart garden. The three keys to getting rid of the weeds (from this scripture) include:
- Humble themselves before God
- Assemble together at their sanctuaries to worship God before the alter
- Watching and praying continually
I love this scripture and the encouragement it offers. It might mean various things to different people, but I felt a swift shift as I acknowledged my humanity and saw my weeds, then again realized my reliance on the Savior Jesus Christ in the power to help me change my heart garden. Humbling oneself involves a relationship with God and application of the Atonement. The second step for me meant Temple worship and serving in ways of eternal benefits. Attending the Temple reminds us of eternal ideals, helps the heart soften and readjust toward heavenly goals. Then the final corrective step is to keep weeding, watching and praying. Like my garden, our heart growth requires hours of preparation, concentrated planting of the good and weeding out the bad. So, when life is stressful or we can’t make sense of something, turn to working on the soul (soil) and see what needs to be weeded, and what positive productive plants can be internalized. It takes work. It takes hours. It takes A Great Check of internal adjustments like humility, Temple time and watchful prayer. These keys check our pride so we can be delivered from destruction and brings the boost our heart garden needs for super growth!