In the beginning there was the garden.

I imagine fig trees, berry bushes, and hummingbirds. Water flows between glistening rocks painted different shades of blue and grey. The water is clean and safe to drink straight from the river out of the palm of my hand. The smell of honeysuckles and crisp mountain air feels minty in my mouth. My bare feet press against soft grass, and a butterfly lands on my face, tickling my nose.

In the distance, I hear a faint whisper, “Anything. You can have anything at all. Enjoy it. Breathe it in deep. Build this land and take care of it. It’s for you. Dwell and rest and play. Just one thing, you see that tree over there, the one with the low hanging fruit? That fruit you cannot touch. Trust me. It’s for your own good. But all the rest is yours.”

Can I be honest here and lay all the striving down?

I would have eaten the fruit too.

Even more, I might have grabbed it all on my own without the help of a wicked snake. I know this because I am hardwired for restlessness and discontent. I often believe the grass might actually be greener. And I want more— more passion, success, and adventure. More friendship, travel, and good food around the table.

I always want to be writing a really good story.

These emotions were most heavy in my early twenties, I can still remember crying in the bathroom at my job in the city. I wanted to be in Africa, not an office. I’d shake my fists at God, feeling frustrated He hadn’t called me to “bigger and more important” things.

As I’ve gotten older and stood in one place longer than a year, my roots have grown deeper. I’ve learned the beauty in staying. These roots keep me tethered, tied to something much sturdier than my wandering heart. And I’m reminded that while God cares about all of it, my interests and dreams, the soup I serve and words I write, He doesn’t love me anymore because of it.

I’m enough, just as I am, with or without making a single piece of art again.

On my best days I believe all of this and yet every so often, a storm rolls in, and a sharp pain hits my soul and I start to hear the word— more. There has to be more. God’s holding out on me. I have to work harder to find it.

I don’t invite these thoughts, but they pull up a seat to the table anyway.

For me, grabbing the low hanging fruit looks like reaching for my phone when I should be reaching for my husband’s hand. It’s spending my margin scrolling, peering into the lives of people I don’t know, more than being an active participant of my own. And then it’s measuring my life, all of my choices and beliefs up against tiny curated squares. Thinking I’ve got it all wrong and missed the mark. That I’m not living my best, most exciting life.

There has to be more.

It’s assuming that the same Spirit used to cast out demons and heal the sick is only given to the lucky few, that it could never live in me. It’s believing we live in our little town and street by accident rather than trusting it’s on purpose.

It’s answering with all the jobs I used to have when asked “What do you do?” rather than boldly stating the truth— I stay home and write.

We all have fruit dangling within view. It’s rarely rotten or spoiled, often it looks shiny and glamorous.

We wouldn’t be tempted if it wasn’t beautiful.

What if instead of hiding behind leaves we called it out into the light?

The moment I pull comparison, restlessness, doubt, and jealousy out from under a rock I begin to see that the garden I described above is actually right where I am. My eyes are opened. God knocks the wind right out of me. He cups my face in His hands to say— Look. Look at all I’ve offered. Now join me in making it even more beautiful.

My neighborhood becomes my Eden.

There might not be fruit trees or berry bushes, but the large green space is a refuge and gathering place. Our modern day marketplace where strangers meet. The playground, with two rusty old swings, is an escape and moment of freedom for a little girl wearing pigtails. The old shrub outside our window, the one that’s overgrown and surrounded by weeds, is a hiding place for imagination and play. Our porch is more than wood and chipped paint, it’s a safe haven, a glass of wine and prayer with a friend who has an upcoming court date.

I don’t always see my life this way. It’s much easier to crave more; culture lends itself to this. My heart lends itself to this. It’s easier to wake up and feel confused, wondering how we got here in the first place, mourn what isn’t rather than celebrate what is. But I have to believe there’s another way. That when I’m done shaking my fists and demanding answers for why life hasn’t gone quite how I planned, God meets me there. He meets me on our porch and around the table, reminding me that this simple life is actually chock full of meaning, when I dare to see it.

We find we aren’t missing out, we didn’t miss the turn, from the very beginning He had us right where He wanted us, smack dab in the middle of it all— beauty and mess, pain and joy.

He placed us in our Eden, with the body and spirit to help restore it.

Maeve Gerboth
Maeve Gerboth / Posts / Blog
Maeve is a writer, kitchen dweller, and people gatherer. She believes in building a longer table and making room for one more. Sometimes that table involves homemade soup & crusty bread and other times store-bought pizza. Food adds to the story, it isn't all of the story. Most often you'll find her in the kitchen (because she loves to eat) or on her porch (because she loves people). She believes the art of neighboring, living and loving right where you are, could actually change the world. Her heart is prone to wander, hopping from job and place, though lately she's learned the joy in abiding, keeping close to the vine, and of staying. As a contributing writer for Verity Varee, she is passionate about the art of storytelling and celebrating true beauty. Maeve shares more about hospitality and recipes she loves over on her blog and instagram. She can't wait to meet you!
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    Sharon Lunden

    Life… not… as… I… planned. How did you read my mind today of all days? I am thankful that God allows me to raise my little fist. Though right now I feel rather like a small, petulant child. And am thankful that He loves this messy child, even though I cannot fully grasp that.

    Thank you. I needed this right this minute!

    September 13th, 2017 12:57
    • Maeve Gerboth
      Maeve Gerboth

      I’m so glad it spoke to you Sharon. I hear you! And yes, He loves all the mess & beauty. It’s so hard for me to truly understand that too.

      September 14th, 2017 16:29
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    Hmm…I’m honestly not sure I ever really dared to dream about what my life would be as I got older. I struggled terribly with self-esteem and self-worth issues. It took God’s love, time, understanding and faith to get to the present. And it’s good. It feels so nice to say that! God continues to bless me in ways I didn’t expect. But I know full well it has been Him and my obedience to follow Him. I now stand excited for whatever He has in store for me and finds me worthy to tackle!

    September 13th, 2017 21:02
    • Maeve Gerboth
      Maeve Gerboth

      That is beautiful to hear Melissa! I can relate to the struggle with self-esteem & self-worth. It is such a familiar feeling. I’m inspired by your excitement for wherever He leads 🙂 Thank you for reading!

      September 14th, 2017 16:30
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    So beautiful, as always! What a gift to have friends who encourage me to dig deep right where I am and to see the Spirit at work in my everyday. So proud of you friend!

    September 15th, 2017 13:42
    • Maeve Gerboth
      Maeve Gerboth

      Ali, you are a gift! Thank you for reading. I am abundantly grateful for friends (like you) who are teaching me how to do this well. Proud of you!!

      September 18th, 2017 9:10
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    “For me, grabbing the low hanging fruit looks like reaching for my phone when I should be reaching for my husband’s hand. It’s spending my margin scrolling, peering into the lives of people I don’t know, more than being an active participant of my own. And then it’s measuring my life, all of my choices and beliefs up against tiny curated squares. Thinking I’ve got it all wrong and missed the mark. That I’m not living my best, most exciting life.

    There has to be more.” Such good words, Maeve! Thank you for your encouragement to appreciate our Edens and enjoy the very life we live. I don’t want to crave more but be satisfied instead with where I am.

    September 23rd, 2017 19:56
    • Maeve Gerboth
      Maeve Gerboth

      Thank you for reading Natalie! I am so glad it speaks to you — I want that too. It’s a constant choosing for me, an every second of the day kind of thing. A reliance on the Spirit in a deep way. So love seeing your writing too!

      September 24th, 2017 11:46
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    Beautifully written! I, too, have a history of restlessness and seeking more/better/the next thing. I’m getting better at accepting and appreciating what is, and all the little joys around me. This post is so relevant and comforting, to know I’m not alone with this struggle. Thank you for sharing.

    October 2nd, 2017 6:21
    • Maeve Gerboth
      Maeve Gerboth

      Thank you for reading Maria! You are not alone at all — I am right there too. I love that you are learning how to see & celebrate “all the little joys” around you. It changes everything when we do! Grateful for you 🙂

      October 3rd, 2017 11:02
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    Edna Davidsen

    Dear Maeve Gerboth

    I’ve just read “On Restlessness, Discontent, and Finding Eden” and I’d like to leave a comment because this was a delightful read.

    Would I have eaten the fruit too? I believe I would because I’m just as human as the first people in the garden were.

    One sentence got me thinking about my life; that’s where you wrote, you were:

    “feeling frustrated He hadn’t called me to “bigger and more important” things.”
    I had the same feeling apart from I didn’t know what he had called me to do.
    I know today, but I didn’t for many years.

    It’s a beautiful way of saying it, when you write, “I’ve learned the beauty of staying.”

    That’s some of the values I try to pass on the people I meet on my way who feel the frustration you describe at the beginning of your blog post.

    Doing less is OK.

    It’s OK to be where we are and feel satisfied and happy about it.

    To use your words: “I’m enough, just as I am, with or without making a single piece of art again.”

    This particular blog post is a good read for people who feel they’re down or they don’t live the life God wants them to live.

    It’s often easier to take the path of worries and negativity – but as Christians, I believe we’re meant to spread hope and positive vibes around us just as Jesus did.

    I’ll share this relevant post on my social networks Tuesday, November 7.

    Edna Davidsen

    November 2nd, 2017 7:19
    • Maeve Gerboth
      Maeve Gerboth

      Hi Edna! Thank you for your thoughtful response. And thank you so much for reading these words! I so appreciate your kindness in sharing it with others. You are so right — negativity & worry is much easier to choose. It’s a discipline to walk forward in hope & love & joy. I have to remind myself of that simple fact daily! It’s a blessing to connect here!

      November 3rd, 2017 13:00

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