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Stop Watering the Weeds! Instead, Cultivate a Kingdom Garden In Your Heart

June 17, 20238 min read

Stop Watering the Weeds! Instead, Cultivate a Kingdom Garden In Your Heart


Are you a success on the outside, but burned out and desperate on the inside? According to Harvard Business Review, you are not alone. 64% of Americans in this study reported experiencing burnout. Check out the study here:

This study recommends prioritizing self-care, setting boundaries, and looking for support. These are all important facets of feeling better. But I believe your problem goes deeper than this.

It’s A Deeper Problem

Let me ask you: Are you feeling lost and disconnected from God? Does life seem to be going nowhere? Do you feel like you're stuck in a rut, with no clear path forward?

These feelings of futility and meaninglessness are an indicator that something deeper is at the root of your problem. When you have achieved success and still feel unfulfilled this is a clue that you need less of the world and more of God.

I Understand Your Feelings Very Well.

I have felt them myself. There was a time in my life when burnout was a big problem. I earned my master’s degree in social work in 1998. I went to work as a project manager for Dallas County Commissioners Court. Five years later I moved to Parkland Hospital to manage their jail health program. It was a huge promotion, and I began to make more money than I could have imagined.

I truly loved my job, and I was good at it. But along with success and accomplishments came pressure and responsibility. The jail health program had serious problems that attracted the attention of the authorities. An inmate tragically died. Lawsuits were filed. I found myself right in the middle of a political nightmare. As the years went by and I gave more and more of myself to the program and trying to solve very difficult problems, I found myself with trouble sleeping, a sense of futility, and questions that had no answers. What did this all mean?

I’ve Been Burned Out

Ultimately, I experienced burnout. So, if that is the place you find yourself in today, believe me, I’ve been there. I offer to you the path that God gave me that helped me find my way out of despair and into hope. I left behind anxiety for peace. I left behind futility for optimism, and you can, too.

God showed me a vision of a garden that was overrun with weeds. There were healthy plants in the garden, but the weeds were crowding them out and making it difficult for them to grow.

I realized that as I had become enmeshed in my work problems, I took on negative thoughts and an overall pessimistic outlook. Because I had tried to resolve problems with my own strength and had been unable to, I became depressed and discouraged. Maybe you know what I mean. As I struggled against political and financial forces that were bigger than me, feelings of hopelessness were overwhelming. These were the weeds that were growing in my garden.

The Weeds Come From Guilt and Shame

At their roots, these weeds were entrenched in guilt and shame. I felt like I wasn’t enough. I tried to work harder and do more. But I had no control over the situation. The problems were so much bigger than me. In desperation, I cried out to God. He heard and He answered. He led me to Galatians 5:19-21. To summarize, God told me that I was living for myself and not for Him. He told me I needed to learn the Kingdom way of doing things.

This was such a huge relief to me! Having exhausted my own strength, I was ready to try a new way of living my life, a way called “the kingdom way.” God showed me how to renew my Kingdom Garden.

He invited me to plant 2 kinds of seeds. The first seeds are the seeds of identity in Christ. What does it mean to be a child of God? Who does God say that I am? How can I gradually let go of the identity that was forced on me by the world, an identity that led to despair and hopelessness?

I Am A Child of God

How can I embrace my identity as a child of God? What does that mean? 1 John 3:2 suggests that as a child of God we can rely on Him fully and trust His plans for our lives.

The second kind of seed is the seed of purpose. In Jeremiah 29:11 we are told that God has plans for us, plans that will prosper us and not harm us, plans that will give us hope and a future.

 Looking back, years later, I can see that God used me for a mighty purpose during my time as the Jail Health Director. The burnout came from relying too much on my own understanding and not spending time with God seeking His direction and guidance.

If you find yourself burned out I suggest you take a look at your garden. What do you see? Take a close look at the weeds. Spend time seeing them for what they are. Name these weeds so that they begin to lose their power over your perspective.

Weeds Can Be Removed

The great thing about weeds is that they can be removed. But they are best removed at the root. If you cut the weed down it will grow back. This can happen over and over. But once the root is gone, that weed is gone forever.

Another very important way to enhance your garden is to cultivate the soil. There are ways to make the soil more fertile so that healthy seeds can grow quickly and bear fruit efficiently. When I tried to do my job in my own strength my soil became desperately depleted. Maybe this has happened to you too. Without proper nutrients, the soil loses the ingredients that the plants need to grow. All these ingredients are found in time spent with God. That’s why I like to say that we need “more God, less world.”

Cultivate the Soil of Your Garden To Grow Good Fruit

In order to grow a successful garden, you need to prepare the soil for planting. Similarly, in order to connect with God and find your purpose, you need to prepare your heart and mind for growth. This can take many forms, such as prayer, meditation, and reading scripture.

For me, cultivating the soil of my heart garden meant spending time in nature, writing in my journal, and being still before God. I found inspiration in Isaiah 61:3, which promises to "bestow on [us] a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair." By cultivating the soil of my heart garden, I was able to create a fertile ground for new seeds of purpose to take root.

Plant seeds of purpose

Just as a garden needs seeds to grow, you need to find and plant seeds of purpose in your life. This can take many forms, such as serving others, pursuing a passion, or starting a new project. For me, planting seeds of purpose meant starting this podcast and sharing my message of heart healing with others. I found inspiration in Jeremiah 29:11, which promises that God "has plans to prosper [us] and not to harm [us], plans to give [us] hope and a future." By seeking God and discovering what he has in store for you, you can plant seeds that will grow into something beautiful.

Nurture the good plants

Once you've planted the seeds of purpose, it's important to nurture them and help them grow. This can involve many things, such as staying focused, being patient, and asking for help when you need it. For me, nurturing the good plants in my heart garden means staying connected with God, above all else. He and I talk daily!

I also take time to share my message with others. This is a way I honor God through my obedience and dedication to the purpose He laid upon my heart. Seeing His Kingdom grow and prosper through my efforts is very rewarding. It is a way for me to give back to Him out of gratitude and appreciation for all He has done for me.

I also spend time practicing self-care. I find inspiration in Galatians 5:22-23, which lists the "fruit of the Spirit." The fruits of the spirit are Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Gentleness, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, and Self-Control. By focusing on positive thoughts and behaviors, I am able to tend to my heart garden and watch it flourish.


You can find meaning and fulfillment in your life by following these steps and cultivating a heart garden of purpose and connection with God. Remember, just like a garden takes time and effort to grow, so too does your connection with God. Allowing Him to replace your current identification with the world with an identity in Christ is the foundation for a joy-filled life.  Making room in your life to know and life your purpose is the second necessary piece. With patience and dedication, you can create a beautiful heart garden that will bring you joy and peace in all areas of your life. Start planting those seeds of purpose today! Let me know how I can s

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Kristin van Tilburg

Kristin van Tilburg is a Christian Financial Freedom Coach.

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Copyright 2023 Kristin van Tilburg. All rights reserved

Copyright 2023 Kristin van Tilburg. All rights reserved