Burlap has its uses, but I’d have to question the toughness of your skin if it’s your go-to fabric choice. When our pastor shared a story from one of his prayer walks, I thought, “Now that’s a good use of burlap.” Some of the homes in this neck of the woods don’t sit on flat land. In fact, who needs ski slopes when the neighbors’ backyards put the ski resort at Seven Springs to shame.
I digressed a bit, so back to burlap. In a stroke of genius, he shared that a homeowner stretched the rough material across a couple of wooden stakes in an attempt to catch grass clippings. He took his contraption, pounded it between the outermost perimeter of his property and the weeded slalom and mowed what he could reach.
On the surface you would think so. I did. I envisioned those grass clippings as Neighbor Bill’s way around pesky things. In order to keep the lawn beautiful and weed free, you mark the territory. Manage what you can; leave what you can’t. The burlap captures what you can control without sacrificing it to the unmanageable. And as seasons change, what annoys you will either blend in, fade away, shrivel up or die off.
As much as my imagination carries me, I’ve learned to never, ever trust it against what God might have to say. He calls us to eliminate the borders, not avoid them, ignore them or wall them off. From the contentious in-laws to the cantankerous distant relatives, the entitled children to the abrasive spouses, the prickly-pear neighbors to the mad-as-hell universe, irritants entwine our piece of the world and gnaw at our roots. They will gnaw but we don’t have to give up our healthy yard to gratify their unhealthy appetite.
I can remember the increasing discomfort of sibling rivalry and how it chaffed my core. Like a nightmare, the recurrence of past taunts invaded my thoughts after every chance encounter. So I left nothing to chance. I erected my own scratchy contraption to keep me safe and a particular sister’s brand of weeds out of my heart’s yard. Sad to say, a strained level still remains much like a loose weed in the ground you pull up from time to time. My redeeming grace is that I’ve replaced scratchy burlap for a life filled with prayer and discernment as my protective fabric.
Whether we like it or not, we live amongst weeds. We have options though. We could wall ourselves off from what chaffs us, but what good would it do. Or we could allow God into the irritations. I can’t decide for you which option makes better sense. Maybe a change in your season will help or maybe, just maybe you’re ready to take back your heart’s yard. With that I say, “No more burlap!”