What was that? Sorry. Tuned out for a minute. Must have been distracted.

Sound like the soundtrack to your life? You don’t have to settle. Our Creator tells us to “lay aside every weight” that could distract us from our eternal goal. You can weed out distractions and live an intentional life by embracing a few key lessons from – of all things – the garden.

I confess to being an avid gardener. I don’t think of myself as a master gardener by any means although I have over 130 cultivated species of perennials in the soil. (Don’t get me started on them or we’ll be here a while.) Over the years, I’ve learned few things about ensuring the gardens grow what I intend to grow. And only what I intend to grow.

There’s no way around it. If my gardens are successful, a lot of weeds will want to grow in them. Weeds. That’s right. Green sprouts that grow quickly, giving me a false sense of accomplishment while sapping vital nutrients from the plants I want to intentionally cultivate.

Life’s a lot like those gardens. If my life garden is successful, a lot of distractions – some of them good things – will want to grow there. But I can’t let them. Even if they’re good, they’ll sap the strength from the best. I’ll never get the lasting legacy I’m trying to create.

Here are four lessons I’ve learned from 25 years of gardening to help me weed out distractions and live an intentional life:

  • Expect Weeds to Grow. It’s a mindset really. I don’t get frustrated when I find weeds in my gardens.  Weeds tell me my gardens are healthy places to grow. When weeds stop growing entirely, the garden is dying. So it is with life. If I am living a healthy life full of faith and truth, I should expect to have to weed out distractions. A lot of things will want to get in. It’s normal.
  • Put Up Barriers. I don’t have to make it easy for weeds to grow in my gardens. Often I’ll use a weed block underlayment. I always use mulch. The point is I don’t make it easy for weeds to grow. We shouldn’t make it easy for distractions to enter our life. We can use tools to protect our time, control our media inputs, or engage in intentional relationships that hold us accountable.
  • Weed as You Walk. I’ve developed the habit of pulling weeds as I stroll through the gardens each day. Usually I stoop quickly to pull out up to a dozen weeds throughout the course of my daily stroll. Each small act adds up over a summer to more than 2,000 weeds pulled! We can pluck out a lot of distractions in life by simply choosing to get rid of the easy ones. Often a simple “No” or a tap of the “Off” button will do the trick. Before we know it, we will have accomplished a great deal of intentional living.
  • Dig a Little Deeper. Not all weeds come out with a casual pinch. Some have deep taproots that only come out one way – the shovel. For those challenging weeds, I need to do the extra work of getting the right tool and digging deeper. I could pluck off the top but the weed root will quickly sprout again. Likewise, some distractions really require tougher interactions done in the right way. Most people avoid those tense encounters, choosing half-hearted attempts instead. The result is the same weed. Only bigger. As is the frustration.

Don’t settle for a life full of distractions. Choose to live an intentional life full of abundant growth. And stoop to pull a weed as you stop to smell the roses.

What ways have you found to keep distractions out of your life? Leave a comment with a click here to help us all live with abundant faith.

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