The Imperfect Backyard

Lindsey Zarob, Content Manager, Next Steps | May 16, 2023

Better a little with the fear of the Lord

    than great wealth with turmoil.

Better a small serving of vegetables with love

    than a fattened calf with hatred.

Proverbs 15:16-17

I have a confession to make—my backyard is a hot mess. When we bought our house, there were patches of overgrown prairie grass in random places, a deteriorating shed that looks more like a mini-barn (and it’s still there), and buckthorn–lots and lots of invasive buckthorn. Slowly over the years, we’ve made minor improvements—but goodness, there is still so much more to go.

In 2020 when we were in lockdown for what seemed like forever, and the racial tensions escalated to a degree that I don’t think my generation has ever seen, I longed to gather people to repent, lament, and pray. If ever there was a time (and still is) that we needed Jesus to intervene on every level of our lives, it was then. 

I stared at my enormous, haphazard, and hot mess of a backyard and knew—we could gather in this place. It’s so large we wouldn’t need to limit the number of people, and we could still socially distance ourselves if that made people feel comfortable. But as I mentioned, there was a problem—it was a hot mess. I had to ask myself: what is more important, participating in thy Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven in my imperfect and unattractive backyard, or walk away from this spirit-led burning in my heart because the setting is nowhere near my standards?

Today’s Scripture addresses this concept: beauty, wealth, and the abundance of things will never accomplish what the “ugly,” financially strapped, or lack can and will when the fear and love of God are the driving force. If we believe that the perfect God invites us in all our imperfections to be with Him, then we must apply this to all things. Come into my hot mess of a backyard, and we’ll meet Jesus together. If we wait until we have the perfectly landscaped backyard (or anything for that matter), we’ll likely miss the opportunity to participate in the Kingdom work right before us. 

I went forward with hosting a prayer meeting in my backyard—and more than one that summer. It wasn’t perfect, and my backyard still needs a lot of work—but beauty sure wasn’t required for that ground to become holy. 

Next Steps 

Do you tend to shy away from showing up as yourself or using the resources (like your home) you have because you don’t feel like they measure up to the “right” standards? Can I encourage you to try it anyway? Our imperfect sets a beautiful stage for inviting people into the Perfect Presence of Jesus.