This week, we harvest bowl after bowl of the sweetest and biggest berries. I just don’t understand it; last summer, many of the berries were small, sour, and often rotting with some kind of fungus.
My husband thinned out the patch and solved the biggest problem in the garden: overcrowding.
I learn that strawberry plants will not limit themselves to any boundaries. They won’t stop sending out new runners. They will overproduce, overflow, and overrun. One might think, in this case, that more means better, but with strawberries, you must either thin out or relocate. You need fresh air between plants and plenty of space for runners to send down strong roots. Gardeners call this process renovating the strawberry bed.
Without renovation to create space, plants succumb to disease and they sour. While you may have many berries, they’ll sadly be small and bitter.
When my husband renovated the bed, he removed so many plants that would, in fact, bear fruit. But too much is too much. A more fruitful bed, like a more fruitful life, understands that overcrowding of tasks, relationships, and activities sours everything. And like strawberries, we don’t naturally move towards thinning and spacing out. We need an expert to come in and do the hard work of thinning out our lives.
Left to myself, I’ll overcrowd every last space. No wonder my heart feels sour and small sometimes.
I ask God to bring in the new space, the fresh air, the thinner tasks, and the simpler boundaries. This will bring the sweetest and biggest into my life. I’ll be a sweeter me with a bigger heart.