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Who and What Are You Tending?




Hello everyone! I am excited about this topic today! I spent many years tending the wrong things and the wrong people. I don't want anyone else to waste valuable time, energy, money, heart, or health in the same way I did for so long! I want you to be free! You don't have to tend the dead things in life – this is not your assignment or your purpose! Slaves have to tend what they are given. You are not a slave! You were made to tend the people and things that grow, thrive, and give life! I also want to thank my very good friend Jerretta for the wonderful conversation that highlighted this issue to me and gave me excellent insight! Her words inspired me to pen what you are reading now. Let's dive in, shall we?


What do you mean by the word “tend”?

Definitions make ideas so much easier to convey and understand so let me start with a brief but helpful definition of the word “tend.” When we “tend” something or someone we “care for or look after them, and/or give our attention to them.” Now this is all well and good if we are talking about a child, a sick family member or friend, or someone we love who in turn loves us. When it is not well and good is when we are tending a dysfunctional relationship and the dysfunctional person in that relationship and/or a dysfunctional situation. This type of tending is actually enabling in disguise and enabling is not good for the dysfunctional individual or you. Enabling violates established boundaries, destroys trust, and weakens the foundation of a relationship. The good news is we get to choose what and who we tend to in this life!


Why do we tend dead situations and relationships?

My explanation may sound simple but it is actually quite complex because human beings are not simple creatures, and we are creatures of habit. Many times we don't know any better, we are doing what we have learned in our family environment. We watched our mother or father care for or give attention to a spouse who did not care for them in some way or outright abused them. We watched a grandparent or other family member bend over backwards for a sibling, cousin, friend, or someone else (perhaps an addict or alcoholic) who was incapable of returning their care much less caring for themselves. We watched a parent or other family member “run to everyone's rescue” without any regard for what was involved in that situation, their personal health, and whether it was good for them (or their family) or not. When you grow up seeing this behavior pattern (co-dependency), you assume it's normal and there is no other way to live.


Let's talk about co-dependency in relation to what we tend in life. Co-Dependency is a major factor in tending to dead situations and relationships. Co-Dependent behavior patterns are also learned. When a person is co-dependent, they are constantly trying to please, soothe, chase, fix, and resuscitate what they should let go of and let die. I lived with a mother who did many of these things, just not in that order. I learned it from her. She learned it from her mother. I lived in this co-dependency as an adult until the very recent past. I was a consummate people-pleaser, a fixer, a soother, a chaser of all things and people I had no business chasing, and a resuscitator of dead, hurtful, relationships. And all in the name of being “sweet, kind, and Christian.” None of this is Christian and at the end of this road is death – the death of your self-worth, your identity, and your soul. You can't tend the bad choices, addictions, or evil out of someone. It never has and never will work!


How do we tend dead situations and relationships?

The answer to this question is simple and not so simple. We tend dead situations and relationships when we keep returning to them to feel needed, wanted, or valued. The problem is nothing dead can do that for you because it is well, dead. There is no life there and no future. I have tended such things, even in more recent years. I tended patterns and idols in my life for many years that kept me bound to unhealthy and unhelpful choices, people, and ways of relating to others. *I tended ambivalence and disappointment in relationships like it was my prize rose, always making sure to nourish it in both romantic other relationships every chance I got. I am just now processing such tending in my own life. The problem is none of this tending has healed me or helped me become a better person nor did it serve my God-given purpose. These dead things have never given me self-confidence or improved my health or other relationships. Tending dead things usually serves the purposes of other people or of evil - purposes that will drain the life right out of you. When we tend dead things, we forget who we are and what our purpose is in this life. We also make excuses for the dead things we tend in our lives. We tell ourselves lies about how things will get better, or how this person will choose me, or how this situation will change. Sound familiar? All the while the dead things just keep sucking the life out of us. Guess what? Nothing changes because you can't raise the dead! It is the epitome of foolishness and insanity to think otherwise.


Proverbs 26:11; “A fool returns to folly as a dog returns to its vomit.” I have been the real fool and that symbolic dog, and nothing good ever came from it!


So if we can't raise the dead and we don't want to be fools (or dogs eating their figurative vomit), what is there to do? The answer lies in our next question.



What did Jesus tend?

I can tell you Jesus didn't tend dead things or people. He raised dead people because he is also God and he can do so unlike us. He is not the author of death and bondage. He is the author of life and freedom.


He raised himself from the dead (and many others) thereby freeing all who choose to believe in him from spiritual death. (Matthew 28:1-10 and Matthew 27:50-53)


He raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:41-44)


He raised a young, sick girl from the dead (Mark 5:35-42)


Jesus also didn't entertain dead things nor did he entertain fools or foolishness. He spoke to the issue or person head on. What did he do next? He kept moving in his purpose. People could do with that what they wanted. Oh to have been a fly on the wall in his multiple conversations with the Pharisees – the religious fools of his time.


The fig tree (Matthew 21:18-19) Jesus caused the fig tree to wither because it had “died” by not serving the purpose for which it was created for in the first place - to bear fruit. This happens to us. When we don't choose to go after the God-given purpose we were created for, we wither and die (figuratively and literally).


Jesus drives out the money changers in the temple (John 2:13-16). He did this because they were cheating and taking advantage of the poor by making them buy animals at a huge cost to sacrifice for the atoning of sins. The Pharisees were allowing this and most likely profiting from it as well. In other words, they were preying on their own people (fleecing the sheep) under the guise of spiritual leadership. Sound familiar today?


The Pharisees tried to trick Jesus with Caesar's coin so he would say “don't pay your taxes” (this was a political ploy in Mark 12:13-17 to get him put under the scrutiny of the Roman occupiers). The object lesson here is you will never be smarter than the King. I tried to be smarter, believe me. Stop trying to be smarter than the King Who made you, or you will just prove yourself a fool like the Pharisees did in Mark 12 and on multiple other occasions. See the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John for all the religious and political foolishness of the Pharisees.


 I encourage everyone not to take my word for these things but to read for yourself and see!



Who and what are we made to tend?

We are made to tend the good things in this life. We are made to love people well. We are made to tend, nurture, and grow not only in our own hearts but to help others who want to grow as well. In order to do these things, we can't tend fools. We can't tend to wicked or evil people. We can't tend drama and situations we should have long let die. We can't tend other people's purposes. We have a choice to make – to tend what is good for us and to tend our purpose; or to tend what is evil for us and to tend other people's purposes. I choose to tend my God-given purpose. I choose to tend what is good. I choose to grow and help others who want to grow. I choose to love people well – even if that means I have to be truthful and say hard things or disengage from someone. Sometimes the best way to love well is to choose to not let someone harm you – and sometimes it is to walk away. We can't help those who don't want help or who don't want to grow. Tending is choosing friends, confidants and mates wisely. Tending is knowing when something has also run its course. Tending is knowing what season you are in, whether it be in life or with certain relationships. Tending to goodness and purpose in our lives is one of the best things we can do for ourselves! Tending goodness and our purpose brings great peace!


I want to leave you with three questions today.


Are you tending your purpose or someone else's purpose?


What and who do you need to tend in your life?


What relationships and situations should be allowed to die in your life?




Tend well,




Elizabeth



*More to come on this particular subject in a future blog.

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