When the Soil is Hard and Your Shovel is Dull

In these lazy, hazy days do you ever find yourself just coasting through life?

You know the symptoms – lacking energy or enthusiasm for pursuing new things; feeling jaded or lethargic when you hear others speaking of a new vision or passion. Sometimes you just want to say, “Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt.”

If so, then God has a word for you, through the prophet Hosea.

It’s time. Break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you. Hosea 10:12

And He will do whatever is necessary to stir things up in order to make that happen. So I strongly suggest you become proactive and break up your own “unplowed ground.” Because a field unplowed is an opportunity squandered.

And opportunities are what God is all about.

The phrase “unplowed ground” is the Hebrew noun nîr, meaning “the tillable or fallow ground.” It is land that could be productive, but for whatever reason has not been broken up, tilled, plowed, and prepared for planting.

Are there whole parts of your life that are unused?

Do you sometimes feel as though God has only part of you, but you’re saving the rest for…. well, what?

The reason fallow ground is unusable is that it has not been prepared for planting. There are still obstacles. Sometimes we hold back from life because of similar obstacles. The stones in your field might be all those cutting remarks said about you as a child – too dumb, too slow, too awkward. Or they might be burdens dropped on you every time you assumed guilt for others’ choices.

But those stones must go.

And the soil must be loosened and plowed. It may be hard-packed. You may have worked all your life building up those protective defenses against being hurt again. And so, you’ve learned to stuff your feelings and remain stoic. But God wants to plant seeds of healing and hope in the hard soil and so you must allow the breaking of the ground.

Is there hardness of heart that needs loosening?

Finally, you need to do something that my Daddy did every spring at our south Georgia farm – controlled burning. Thorns and weeds choke any possibility of new growth and prevent the promise of passion to fully bloom in your life. So, throw them in the fire – let go of all that entangles your heart and threatens your freedom. It might be a relationship, a habit, or an idol. But it’s time to let the flames devour those fast-growing weeds.

Will you allow Him to redeem your past experiences and recycle them for future opportunities?

God is the Farmer. You are His field.

Benediction: My child, be planted in the rich soil of My love and grace. It is time. Time to move forward and seek My face. Time to discipline yourself for new growth and new adventures. But, do not be afraid, for remember, I am with you always. And I will never call you to anything that I do not also equip and empower you to do. Seek Me, for I am seeking you.

Lucinda Secrest McDowell in “Dwelling Places”

May the grace of Christ, the love of God, and the friendship of the Holy Spirit  bring you comfort and strength, Lucinda

“Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity and Strength”

©2021 Lucinda Secrest McDowell      www.LucindaSecrestMcDowell.com

Lucinda Secrest McDowell is a storyteller and seasoned mentor who engages both heart and mind while “Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength.” She has authored 15 books including “Soul Strong – 7 Keys to a Vibrant Life” and “Life-Giving Choices – 60 Days to What Matters Most.” She writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and shares encouraging words at LucindaSecrestMcDowell.com

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  1. Sharon Banta on July 21, 2021 at 3:55 pm

    Thank you so much! Pruning does hurt. I have just had to surrender my love for shopping. Sometimes I spent more money than we had. Very hard on my husband. I have been giving that to Jesus for HIM to prune. Ouch, I could use prayers on that. Thank you for challenging us. In Christs love and Grace, sharon

  2. Nancy+Smith on July 26, 2021 at 5:40 pm

    oooooo, I needed this encouragement! The past two years have been hard – Navigating change is like planting a new garden – it takes planning and thought but then you have to get out there and get dirty! do the work! love your words, nancy

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