From Shit to Compost

I learned a lesson recently that will likely find its way into the new updated version of 8 Lessons Lupus Taught Me: From Surviving to Thriving With Autoimmune Diseases. Because I know you are likely experiencing many of the same challenges, I’m going to share here and now rather than wait for the next book.

If you are wondering how this inside work is relevant to a lifestyle program, nutritional healing, and thriving with autoimmune diseases, you can remember that our physical health is an outward manifestation of what’s happening on the inside. You must begin to understand and hear what your body is telling you about what is going on inside your heart and mind if you are to heal physically.

As I wrestle with doubt and fear (once again), I had 2 experiences culminating in a lesson that blew my mind and gave me hope during dark times. Maybe you will gain insight and hope as well. Maybe you’ll even be inspired to take action and do some internal gardening.

One morning I had a glimpse of my heart. Much to my dismay, I recognized that a wall was again being built around my heart. I am familiar with this wall (maybe you have one too). It’s a coping mechanism where I take the things that are said or done that have the potential to threaten or hurt me and make them into boulders that stack up with each new insult or hurt until they create a wall that protects my heart from the perceived hurt. I learned to recognize this behavior years ago and had done the work to tear down a lifetime wall around my heart.

I should have recognized the tell-tale signs of the wall going up… fear, disappointment, frustration, defensiveness, hypersensitivity, apathy, anger, resentment, and disconnection. Honestly, I did feel the change in my heart but life was hurling so many hits so quickly that I fell into autopilot. This autopilot behavior is to begin to fortify the walls to protect the heart because it just can’t take another hit. So the boulders start accumulating and before I realize it there is a half wall completely surrounding my heart. Comments that would normally run off my back cut deeply. Circumstances that normally would fuel me instead became crippling. I just become more sensitive and more defensive and more critical and more resentful. And with each of those, another boulder is put around my heart, and I look at it, and all of a sudden, I see…

Oh, my goodness, I’ve got a half wall built up around my heart again!

I can see it in my life. I can feel it in my body. I’ve got to get rid of those rocks. So, I ask the Lord to take the rocks away from my heart that are building the wall.

That’s when the second experience happened…

Do you remember the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13 of the New Testament? Jesus was teaching the people and said,

“A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

Matthew 13:3-8 ESV

It’s probably no accident that this was the message at church as I was searching my heart and trying to do some wall excavation. The Lord had helped me see the wall and was taking it down for me.

That’s when I found that under those rocks the soil is so depleted!

That very night I was watching a gardening show. They were talking about the soil and how important the soil is for growing. The gardener ran a soil analysis on the new property that she had recently purchased in the Skagit Valley. The soil was so depleted because it had been overworked. Such harsh chemicals had been used on it for so long that the nutrient profile was non-existent.

Because of the depletion the diseases, the powdery mildew, the spider mites, and the aphids were wreaking havoc because the plants didn’t have what they needed to grow. So the diseases came in and were running rampant. They had to treat it more aggressively. And of course, they didn’t want to do it with chemicals they needed to do it with nutrients to support the soil.

I realized that’s what happened with my heart too!

First, I want to take down the walls around it, and then I need to turn these piles of stinking shit into compost because the soil has been so depleted that it can’t grow anything. It’s in those times of trial that the shit can be broken down. It’s the scraps and the ratio of green and brown and the earthworms and the beneficial insects that create the fertilizer.

This analogy recognizes the faith through our trials and the things that we don’t want to experience and the leftover carcasses of our wins and our losses as they come together to create this compost. When we put that compost on our depleted soil it creates an environment that creates soil that is so much better for things to grow. It nourishes and creates that opportunity where it couldn’t have grown without it.

So first, take out the retaining wall. It’s not protecting anything; it’s just making it so that it’s harder for the good stuff to get in because you’ve got this barrier. Finish taking it down or don’t let it build anymore. And then, instead of leaving the shit piled up all around the edges of the wall, nurture it and turn it and recognize it as beneficial compost and spread it. Spread that compost all over and work it in to loosen that hard clay soil.

 Whether it’s just to loosen up that hard clay and allow those nutrients and those beneficials to get in there and to work. It will also create an environment that is beautiful and healing. That is the environment where your new world, your new life, and your new opportunities can take root and grow and blossom and flourish into a garden that is beautiful and productive and creates flowers, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds that can provide beauty and nourishment and can also continue to propagate.

So work your soul, work in the compost, and allow those piles of stink to become beneficial to create a healing environment. Plant new, beautiful seeds for all the crops that you want. And then water your heart with the living Christ and make sure it’s in full sun. Don’t allow the darkness to shadow it. Feel it nourish and feel it flourish. You have successfully amended the soil of your heart with the beautiful compost of your life. Now share the fruits of your labor and save the seeds so that you can then pay it forward and help others do the same.