What's in your back yard?

Nice back yardYou ever think about what is in your back yard? Might seem like a bit of an odd question, but it’s one that’s been on my mind recently. It’s really pretty easy for me to answer. We’ve got a fort for the kids to play on, a slide and a little house for the younger ones, some lawn furniture, a grill, and a small patio. Seems pretty typical, doesn’t it?

Now, if I just stopped there, this would make for a pretty pointless and stupid post, so I’m not going to. What’s interesting to me are the things that I didn’t describe that are back there, things that I don’t expect or want you to see. We have a new dog that’s still a bit of a puppy and she likes to drag things out the dog door and into the backyard. She doesn’t typically chew them up (except for shoes) she just takes them outside and deposits them between the fort and the back door. One day my wife and I were talking while I was driving home from work and she said, “Don’t look in the back yard when you get home.” Naturally, I was curious why I was being restricted like this and she replied with, “Because it looks like a diaper bomb went off out there.” Apparently Maggie had found a trash can in the bedroom where we had been putting diapers and was taking them outside, one by one.

Now you might be wondering why I’m telling you about this and how it relates to my point. You really need to be less like my son watching a movie, constantly asking about what’s going to happen, and be more patient. I’m only 250 words into this.

Messy back yardWhen there is stuff strewn all over the back yard, I hate going out there. It’s surrounded by a fence so nobody sees it and this removes just about any motivation I might have to clean it up. I don’t even like mowing out there. Normally, nobody knows about this except for my family and it’s not a big deal. However, last week, anyone driving by my house knew about my lack of back yard cleanliness. After a couple days of strong winds and one good storm, my already pathetic fence gave up on one side of the house and came crashing down. I look outside during the storm and notice three fence panels on the ground and two more waving like fans at a football game who just realized the camera was turned their direction. I was understandably disappointed that I would have to repair the fence, but I was more disturbed that now people would be able to see into my back yard and the sorry state it was in.

Last weekend while I was rebuilding the fence, I had plenty of time to think. I started to realize that the way we maintain our house could really be a metaphor for our own lives. I try to make sure that the front yard is fairly well kept, always mowed and looking at least presentable. The front yard is like my public life. It’s lived out in front of anyone who can see it and what goes on there isn’t hidden in the least. Any words I speak in public are out there for all to hear.

My back yard is a bit more guarded. I try to keep what is going on back there private, but it doesn’t always work, as evidenced by my fence falling in. Just like that fence, sometimes my guard is down and people see a bit more of what I’m really like. I might try to quickly build the fence back up but once someone sees that back yard of my personality, they probably won’t forget it, especially if it contradicts what I normally do.

My point behind all this is that we need to be sure that what we display in the front yard of our lives, our public face, is consistent with how we live in the back yard of our life. We expect privacy there, but we should also understand that at any moment that privacy can be broken, and all the things that we try to hide from public view will be displayed for all to see. Luke 12:2-3 tells us:

2 For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known. 3 Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.

Let us live our lives so that what is proclaimed from the housetops is our love for our Savior, our dedication to living our lives for the calling He has given to us. We are the light of the world, shining like that city on a hill to make known His sacrifice for us, not for our own glory, but for His. Pray that we do not let the hidden part of our lives become a hindrance to the spreading of His word.

Originally posted at mezzamorphis.com.

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