I learned—the hard way—not to visit the nursery without a plan. While browsing, the yellow hibiscus captivated me. I couldn’t wait to add their large, showy blooms to my own landscape. However, these beauties thrive with 4 to 6 hours of sunshine each day—and no more. Prolonged, direct exposure to the scorching Texas sun overwhelmed my flowers. The buds dried up. The foliage turned brown. Eventually, they died.
SURVEY THE SITE. In planning a garden, it’s best to begin by surveying the soil, water conditions, and available sunlight. A COMPASS is an essential first tool. It establishes which direction the garden faces. So, the compass orients the gardener to the aspect of the garden. This helps to identify the best location for placement of the plants and even the best angles for viewing the garden. As you begin a relationship with a spiritual companion, note the orientation of the site where you intend to plant the seeds of grace.
TAKE INVENTORY. Record the direction of prevailing winds. Are there areas of good or poor drainage? Note any spots where frost pockets may occur. Listen intently for any shadows cast as your friend attempts to order life’s confusion. Are there any other features that might affect comfort in the garden? This information will help you discern your friend’s current spiritual disposition. Establish and record these boundaries.
The soul is placed in the body like a rough diamond, and must be polished, or the lustre of it will never appear. Daniel DeFoe
COMPLETE THE ASSESSMENT. Selecting the plants is the most exciting part of planning a new garden space, but it is also the most exacting. It is crucial that you choose plants that will thrive in your habitat. Based on the information you gather, you will get to know the advantages and constraints of the land you are developing. This will help you determine the most beneficial approach to begin improving it.
Thinking all you really need is faith and the Spirit, you may be tempted to charge ahead into harvesting grace in your friend’s soul by getting right down to praying the sinner’s prayer together. DON’T! Many have been completely turned away from faith by a well-meaning helper using the wrong approach.
Do you begin to grow grace by assessing the spiritual landscape? Or, do you just start planting without a plan? A diligent gardener employs foresight.
Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty. Proverbs 21:5