GARDEN SEASON: BEING CONTENT AND FINDING JOY IN MY GARDEN
By: Preya Jones
I’m learning to find contentment and joy despite my circumstances. I’m still learning. It’s been a journey and has not happened overnight.
I remember driving to a coffee shop during one of the early Summer days of 2018 and just balling my eyes out. I was so unhappy with where the Lord had placed me and I wanted out.
I love Genesis 2.. If you haven’t read it, and even if you have; read it and read it again. It’s in this chapter that we read about the garden the Lord had specifically placed Adam in and what the Lord had commanded Adam to do. God had just created Adam from the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7) and after the Lord had created and formed Adam, He continues to go above and beyond for this man. God went out of his way to not just plant a garden, but a beautiful one (Genesis 2:8-9)! God didn’t have to do this, but He did because that is who He is. In addition to making a beautiful garden to specifically and purposely place Adam in, the Lord also gave Adam a few specific jobs…
Adam’s first assignment from the Lord was to tend to and keep the garden (Genesis 2:15); meaning that Adam had to take care of the garden that the Lord had placed him in. Pause on that for one moment. God had purposely placed Adam in a specific garden and then it was Adam’s job to tend to and keep this garden! God didn’t call Adam into laziness, but instead gave him a specific job. Family, we’re commanded to do the exact same. The Lord calls us to and places us in specific gardens… maybe your garden is motherhood, or college, your job, your community, or something else! And it doesn’t end there, we’re each called to tend to, to keep, and to water our gardens. We’re not called to our gardens to be lazy, no, instead there is work to be done.
Here was my garden in the Summer of 2018; I had just graduated from college and the Lord had so beautifully and so clearly called me back home for a number of reasons. After fervently praying, the Lord made it very clear that He wanted me to enter into my first year of my Master’s, to start becoming more actively involved in my new church, continue to lead a high school girl’s Bible study, and many other reasons that are still unknown. For me, my tending to, keeping of, and watering my garden looked like; helping my family around my house, praying for and encouraging a number of friends and family members, mending old childhood friendships and establishing new ones, working hard in my Master’s studies, and seeking out joy even when I did not feel like it. That was my garden..still is my garden.. a beautiful garden, yet I was so discontent.
Moving forward in chapter two of Genesis; the Lord gives Adam another assignment. In verse 19, we see that Adam is called to name all of the animals and the birds that God had created. I don’t believe this was a short task that only took a few short minutes.. No, I believe this took awhile! Yet, we hear no mention of Adam complaining, asking for a new garden, or even a new task.. Adam did not even ask for a helper or a lighter load! God thought to make Adam a helper; because He wanted to bless Adam. Adam didn’t ask for one, nor did he complain of being alone. Adam was in the presence of God, walking instep with the will of God, and as a result; Adam was fully content and fully satisfied. Adam had joy.
Adam had a season of singleness, with no distractions, just him walking in the will of his Heavenly Father.
Then, after all the animals were named, God didn’t settle.. nor does he ever! God saw that none of the animals were fit for Adam (Genesis 2:20), so He went and made Eve from Adams rib (Genesis 2:22). God could have easily chosen for an animal to be Adam’s helper.. but He chose not to settle. God was not going to give Adam anything less than His absolute best. Spoiler alert - God does the same for us! He doesn’t settle, He never has and He never will settle. The Lord gifts his beloveds with only his best and for our good. To continue, while God was preparing & making Eve; Adam was sleeping! Adam was not actively seeking out Eve.. he instead was content and he was sleeping. He was walking instep with the Spirit and he was fully content.
If I could go back to that early 2018 warm Summer day, I would share Genesis 2 with myself. I would tell myself and encourage myself saying that my situation was my garden and that it was (and is) beautiful and had so much purpose. I would remind myself that the Lord withholds NO good thing from those who love Him (Psalm 84:11). He chooses to give us only his best and nothing less.
Family, our gardens and our assignments may not always feel good, but they are always for our good. God promises this to us over and over again. (Romans 8:28, Jeremiah 29:11, Philippians 1:6, 1 Peter 1:6-7, 2 Corinthians 4:17-18). One of my favorite authors; Jackie Hill Perry has a quote that states, “Since God is holy and utterly good by nature, even his harshest commands are worth your obedience. Or to say it another way, if God is as good as He says He is, then every single command is good FOR you even if it doesn’t feel good to you.”
Since that warm Summer day of 2018, my garden has not changed, yet my contentment and joy levels have. My garden is the exact same, yet I have soooo much more joy and I find myself so much more content because I know that there is purpose in my current garden. I want to challenge you family to tend to and keep your gardens.. whatever they may be.. He’s placed you there for a reason and there is purpose in that.