I talk about crap a lot around here. You know why, because we’re all going through something. We’re all dealing with tough stuff, facing situations that straight up stink, wishing it were different and yet waking up to more of the same each morning. But, we’ve learned to shift our perspective on the crap in our lives and see it as fertilizer.
When I was a teenager, the farm across the road from ours raised rabbits. My mom and I would go over and exchange some of our farm’s harvest for their farm’s harvest. No, we weren’t going to get some of their cute bunnies, we were going to get some of their cute bunnies poop. We hauled buckets full of their stinky little droppings back to put on our plants. These little bunny balls of crap were like magic bullets for our plants’ growth.
Now we know that same principle applies in our lives. We recognize God uses the stuff we sometimes most want to avoid to help us grow. We can now call it fertilizer. I have a heavy layer of fertilizer in my family right now, how about you? I have a new dump truck load of fertilizer just delivered all over my finances this week even, how glorious is that?!!!
Well, I’ll be honest, it’s not glorious at all. We can try to reframe it and rename it, but it still stinks when you’re being dumped on. It still hurts when it all falls apart. It’s still troubling while it’s trouble. You can stop beating yourself up for feeling the way you do about this crap in your life.
Here’s the total ah-ha moment God gave me this morning about a topic I’ve been teaching on for 10 years. Now listen closely so you don’t miss this. Crap is fertilizer while it’s still crap. The little bunny balls of poop didn’t magically change color and scent as they were fertilizing our plants. They were still legit balls of bunny poop.
And this really stinky stuff you’re dealing with right now in your life, it’s not going to look or smell any better when it starts helping you grow. You don’t have to wait for that change to start changing. It’s still going to stink to high heavens while it makes you better. It’s still going to be highly undesirable while it does a good work in your life.
Why? Because crap is fertilizer while it’s still crap. There’s no magic transformation of the bad stuff, it’s what the bad stuff touches that is changed.
If you’ve been waiting on this bad stuff to suddenly start looking better, you’re waiting on the wrong thing. Crap stays crap. You don’t pick it up and start eating it. But what it’s growing underneath can become a delicious feast one day! Girl, you have no idea what God is growing underneath this layer of hardship you’re going through. You have no idea what harvest he is bringing in your life, and that harvest is coming because of the pure stench that is being applied right now.
This is what Proverbs 3:5 means “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”
Your own understanding is this crap you’re dealing with right now is tough, it is messy, it is stinky, it is unfair, it is undesirable, it is disappointing, it is disheartening, and you really want it to go away. And if all you do is lean into your understanding of what you’re currently going through, then all you will see are piles of useless waste all around you. Leaning into that does nothing but discourage and overwhelm you.
But sitting in that same exact pile of stinky waste, if you trust in the Lord with all your heart, you will see things differently. You will see you haven’t been buried here to die, you’ve been planted here to grow. And God, in all of his wisdom, has allowed buckets of his growth agent to be poured on you because he wants your ultimate growth potential. He wants your life as BIG as it can possibly be.
But, it’s still crap.
You see, for a long time I thought my shift in perspective on the hard stuff in life would make it instantly look, smell and feel better. And no matter how hard I tried, I was still dealing with buckets of undesirable hardship and waste. And when I couldn’t shape shift it into something desirable, I felt defeated. Where was God turning my bad things into good things? I was trusting him, but he wasn’t doing the turning for me.
And then I reread the scripture I had been confusing. Romans 8:28 “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose.”
God doesn’t make all things good. He doesn’t take crap and turn that crap into Cherrios. Girl, you’re going to be waiting an entire lifetime for your handful of waste to become wonderful.
Drop it. Seriously drop it. Let it hit the ground and do it’s work. When it’s out of your hands then God uses it FOR GOOD. Fertilizer never becomes something desirable, it’s just used to produce desirable things.
But while it’s still in it’s worst form… While it still really stinks and is ridiculously hard to handle, God will use it together with the other things in your life for something so good.
Ohhhhhhh, okay, so I don’t have to sit here and try to force my head and heart to believe there’s something good about these really hard things in my life right now? NO, you don’t. Nor do you have to feel like a failure for really hating what’s happening. I was convinced I was a bad Christian because I couldn’t make myself love all the things happening. I couldn’t see the good in it. And somehow I thought if I couldn’t see the good in it, then God didn’t see me as good.
I was wrong. If you’re questioning the same thing, please let me talk to you this morning. You don’t have to like these things. You don’t have to see the good in them. You don’t have to agree with them or even make peace with them. But you do have to trust God to use them. God wants to use this crap.
Goodness will come out of this, but this thing isn’t going to magically transform to something good itself. Crap stays crap, even while it’s being used for growth.
Many years ago I had a transformational moment in my relationship with God. I was sitting on my couch, trying to hold back tears of disappointment as everything was seemingly falling apart in my life. We had given up our successful business to move to the desert to help start a church, believing that God would supernaturally provide in response to our obedience. Instead we were met with months upon months of no paychecks, a car that was being reposessed, and a whole lot of nothing different on the horizon. I had been trying to hold on to this crap and find something good about it, but dang it just sucked!
And then my husband, bless his heart, said something that truly changed my life’s trajectory. He said, “Pamela, why don’t you just admit you’re angry with God?”
What? I can’t do that! I can’t tell the Almighty I’m not happy with how this is all working out. I can’t tell him how disappointed I am with his inadequate provisions in response to our move of faith. I can’t …
And my husband said, “And you think he doesn’t already know? Just let it out.”
And so I did. I mean I let it out. I cried and I screamed and I told God exactly how I really felt about the dumptruck of crap that had been dumped on us.
And then, something within me started to change. I felt better. God didn’t abandon me because of my feelings. He didn’t strike me dead because I was honest. But what happened is I stopped holding on to all of it in my hands, convinced I could shape shift it into something good, I dropped it and when that crap hit our soil, it started doing a work in our lives I could have never expected.
Maybe you’ve been holding on to crap, waiting for it to become something good in your hands. It won’t, Sis, it won’t. Drop it. Let it do it’s work in your life. God’s probably not going to magically change this hardship into something ridiculously good, but he sure will use it to grow something ridiculously good. This thing is probably going to remain as crap and you don’t want to be carrying it around.
Childhood abuse or neglect doesn’t become something good. It never will. But when hands are opened and we let it fall, God uses it on the soil of your life to produce something good. What happened will remain bad, but what it helps grow can be so good.
A failed marriage, a lost loved one, a life-altering diagnosis, an estranged relationship, a shameful past choice, a financial disaster … none of these are good. None of these ever become good held in your hand trying to shape shift them into something different. But God promises when you give it to him, he can USE IT for good. Oh, it will still be crap, but God uses crap as his growth agent in our lives.
You’re here to grow. You’re here to become more and more like who God designed you to be. You’re here to lessen the gap between how you’re living and how God created you to live. And while the crap in your life will never BE good, God wants to use it FOR good.
Go ahead and give yourself permission to royally dislike this crap. Be honest. Let it out. And when you let it out, let it go. Just let it hit the ground. Out of your hands is where it needs to be so God can use it to grow something you can’t even imagine right now.