For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night. You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning: in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers. – Psalm 90:4-6
Sometimes we find ourselves living like we’re dead grass the next day. Even though yesterday has passed, along with what we did and what happened to us, we can end up living in a brown grass state if we don’t allow ourselves to be renewed the next morning.
Are there sins, shortcomings, stink attitudes, emotional issues, burdens or bad experiences that you’re dragging into today? We don’t have to form today on a foundation of yesterday’s problems. That’s not God’s plan. He doesn’t want us to punish ourselves, feel guilty, carry around the burdens of the world or exacerbate our issues. God isn’t in the business of cultivating dead grass. He wants us to start the morning by drawing near to him, inviting him into our paddock or our lawn and allowing him to feed us. As we do, God will renew us and help us to flourish in whatever way we need to for the day.
Some days that means a huge amount of lush growth and some days we might just manage a little bit of green growth. But guess what? If it’s founded on and fed by God, it’s all green. It doesn’t matter if one day grew better grass than another. It doesn’t matter if someone else’s paddock or lawn grew better than yours. The grass is not always greener on the other side. And if it is it’s because someone’s intentionally put effort into cultivating it. “The grass is greener where you water it.” – Neil Barringham.
Let’s have a look at some of the kinds of brown grass from yesterdays past that we might find ourselves clinging onto.
- Things we’ve said or done that were wrong.
- Things that we haven’t asked for forgiveness for.
- Unforgiveness we’re harbouring towards other people.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:8-9
Unhealthy Emotions or Attitudes
- Things we feel or that dominate our thoughts and lead us to words or actions or ongoing thought patterns that hurt ourselves or others.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” – Jeremiah 17:9-10
Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright. – Proverbs 20:11
- Weighty things we are carrying around with us that affect us in ways that we may not even realise.
- Hard things we’re facing.
- Problems we’re trying to solve.
- Overwhelmingly busy periods of life.
My heart is struck down like grass and has withered; I forget to eat my bread. – Psalm 102:4
Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. – Psalm 55:22
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30
- Negative things that have happened to us that we keep thinking about or that detrimentally influence the way we function.
I believe that we should face these things and work through them in appropriate ways. But there is a difference between being able to explore what happened and learn, heal and move on from it and repeatedly looking back and feeling fear, anger, guilt, or other unhealthy thoughts towards what happened.
for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; – 1 John 3:20-21
Sometimes we can be oblivious to our own brown patches of grass. And even if we are aware of them, sometimes we don’t realise how deep their roots go. That’s where the Holy Spirit comes in. He is our helper. When we ask God to help us, the Holy Spirit speaks wisdom and truth to us. He helps us to understand the situation and learn what God wants us to do.
In the third trimester of my recent pregnancy, with my second child, I found myself in a dead grass mentality in regard to my impending labour. I started with full faith that God had given me that baby and would enable me to give birth to her without my body being destroyed. But as the time drew nearer, I started to view the possibilities of how the labour and recovery could go through the brown grass of my first labour. It wasn’t so much the labour itself, but the end damage and the tough recovery from it that my mind had gone back to. I got a third degree tear, the recovery of which is comparable to a c-section in some ways, except it’s a different site of pain that’s involved.
I had bad memories of waiting around in the hospital before and after repair surgery, not knowing what exactly was happening and when we could all leave and go back to the birth centre. I couldn’t sit down for at least two weeks and even after that I had to use a donut cushion for a while. I didn’t leave the house for over a month. I couldn’t just sit on the couch and feed my baby, I had to recline in bed or lie down in various positions. Going to the toilet was terrifying. I spent a lot of time in bed because I was sore and healing. I needed help to get out of bed and to get dressed. It was easier to stay in my pyjamas.
People wanted to come and visit the cute baby. But I wasn’t just a first-time mum trying to figure out how to look after a newborn, I was also a patient, healing from my own pain. It was physically hard and emotionally hard. Very hard. I didn’t want visitors. Even after my tear healed I still had other ongoing issues down below. Sometimes it felt like my body was never going to stop having things go wrong with it.
This time I was offered the option of an elective c-section. This started the thought wheels spinning. I wanted to give birth naturally and have a more positive birth experience than last time, but I didn’t know if my body was capable of that. I was afraid that if I tried to give birth naturally it would rip my body apart, even worse than last time. Or that it would cause worse side effects or dysfunction and I would have to have operations to fix a munted body. The emotional, tired, pregnant mind is a slippery slope.
God showed me one morning that I had gone back to the trauma of the brown grass of last time. He showed me that I hadn’t actually dealt with all the emotional trauma of it. It was one thing for my body to heal and get through things but I hadn’t properly talked about how hard it was for me emotionally, nor let it go.
I didn’t know anyone else who had had a third degree tear and no-one else seemed to understand how hard it was, especially as a first-time mum. I knew I wasn’t clinically depressed but I had depressive thoughts, which I didn’t care to admit to anyone other than my husband. I felt bad because I couldn’t match people’s expectations but at the same time I knew I had to say “no” when I couldn’t handle it. Everyone wanted to see the baby. But I was tiptoeing on emotional egg shells.
Looking back, I don’t know how I managed when my husband went back to work. I cried because it was hard. I knew I needed to hunker down, rest and heal so I could keep up with looking after my baby and not get overwhelmed but other people didn’t understand that. I’ve noticed that people often have an unhelpful tendency to view a mum with a newborn in comparison to their own or other people’s experiences. Giving birth to a baby is a huge life event that can vary widely in experience from person to person and time to time. Other people’s experiences were not my reality. I still marvel at mums who can just sit down and feed their babies in the first few weeks.
I talked through all these thoughts and feelings of my experience with God and then chose to leave them behind me as the brown grass of yesterday. I also had to say sorry for not trusting him fully. In the coming weeks a thought kept popping into my head: what would you do if you weren’t afraid? I would go for a natural birth at the birth centre. But I also wanted to approach the situation with wisdom and get a professional opinion about the state of my body, so I had a consultation with a good, knowledgeable specialist. He recommended that I could do a natural birth. So that’s what I did.
I ended up with a shallow second degree tear, but I was so thankful for it! And for a better overall birth experience. I didn’t have to go to the hospital. The midwife stitched it up and after doing all the checks and things I got to walk down the hall to our comfy room and then have a big, tasty lunch. Imagine that! There has still been soreness to recover from but it has been markedly better, physically and emotionally, than last time. I am glad I left the brown grass behind me and chose to do a natural birth.
God wants us to let go of any brown patch of grass we’re holding onto. Why struggle to make something good out of that dead grass? To make sense of your today in light of yesterday’s problems? Leave it with God. He’ll get rid of it. And he’ll help us to sow a new patch of grass every morning that flourishes into something beautiful in his care.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me… Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. – Psalm 51:10, 12
It is good for us to remember that our minds are grounds that need tending to every day; grounds that need to be restored and renewed. New day, new grass. Eat God’s Word, focus on his Word and it will help you to flourish today.
for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you. – 1 Peter 1:24-25 (see also Isaiah 40:6-8)
Put off your yesterday, which belongs in the past. Renew your mind, and put on today, which God has created for you. God can make you righteous, holy and capable TODAY.
to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. – Ephesians 4:22-24
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. – Isaiah 43:18
So, what do we do about the brown grass of yesterday? Acknowledge it, talk to God about it, ask him to help us understand if there are underlying issues that need to be dealt with, ask for forgiveness where needed (of God and people) and learn from it. Don’t ignore it. But don’t dwell on it, stir it up or beat yourself up about it. Don’t dwell on the bad things of yesterday. Remember the grass that flourished. Thank God for the things that flourished. Determine to tend to your grass so that it does flourish today.
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. – Psalm 90:12
- What brown patches of grass from yesterday do you need to deal with and let go of?
- How can you make a practice of allowing God to renew you as fresh grass each morning?
All Bible verses are from the ESV (English Standard Version), 2016.