Nancey West: Clean Up the Past (The 45th Parallel)

Written by on April 23, 2014

Clean up the Past
Today’s guest blog post was written by one of two first-place winners of The 45th Parallel Contest. Talented photographer and writer Nancey West shares with us a spiritual parallel about a hyacinth she spotted between daylily leaves in her yard.


Following a cold, a snowy winter I stood on my deck and soaked up the warmth of the morning sun. A purple spot among the brown, dead daylily leaves caught my attention. A hyacinth was pushing its way through the tangle of last years’ vegetation toward the needed sunlight. I had not spent the time last fall to cut back the annual growth on any of my plants. Now they were not only a reminder of my neglect, they were hindering the fresh growth. Instead of a strong, straight stem, the hyacinth was twisted and bowed around the debris that should have been removed.

I need to clean out all the dead stems and leaves from last year in order for the new growth to have an opportunity to fill its potential. If I wanted a colorful array of flowers lining my yard, then I had a lot of work to do.

This is true, also, in our spiritual lives. Ephesians 4:22-24 says, “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

The desires we held in our old self are like the rotting leaves from last season holding back the fresh growth of our new attitude. When we allow the old needs to stay, our relationship with God will twist and turn around them.  We cannot reach his full promise unless we discard those old wishes.

Weed out and let go of the past so that you will be fully capable of growing in the future.

Nancey West

Nancey West
Nancey West is a free-lance writer who lives on a farm in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. She has published a book, Miracles Among Us: A Look Inside the Lebanon Soup Kitchen, a finalist in the 2009 USA Book Awards. She has articles published in Ruralite, Live, and Now What?, a sermon in First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Great Day of Sharing and many newspaper articles. She speaks at churches and organizations to encourage people to see themselves through God’s eyes. 



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