Are Things Really As They Appear?

I said, ‘Plant the good seeds of righte-2

There’s an area in our back yard that concerns me. Perhaps there’s an area that will concern you, too.

My family’s house is built on the “high” end of the neighborhood. Rain should soak in or drain right off, shouldn’t it?

That’s not always the case.

Things aren’t always as they appear.

Rain falls. Water builds. Streams run. Other droplets take a family vacation in our backyard, their group congregating in the sun for several days afterward.

Slowly, the water disappears. But rarely does it soak right in.

It runs and runs and runs, seldom soaking, until it finds the low spots. Often it joins a team – I mean a stream. Then, the water droplets and all its buddies are ferried to some wide river, which hurls them toward an ocean vacation.

Or our backyard.

Sandstone sits just under the skin of the grassy surface. (So they tell me.) It’s hard underneath. But it doesn’t appear that way at first glance. It looks like a normal, soft, grassy yard. It appears as though I could stake garden corners with ease, tilling to my heart’s delight.

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But all isn’t as it appears.

Not in my backyard nor in the lush lawn of fleshly grass covering my heart, all isn’t as it appears.

As I grapple with, pray over, and ponder the “all” scripture posted in Luke 10:27, I am reminded that it’s far too easy to polish perfect on the outside, but find a hardened heart pulsing underneath.

Things aren’t always as they appear.

Polished perfect often hides a hardened heart pulsing underneath.  Share on X

Sometimes deceit hides. Like a weed spreading its roots in the darkness of earth, it inches its way into the heartbeat of our life. We remain clueless. It chokes the nutrients from forgiveness, reliance, or trust. In turn, we cling to idols or other worthless man-made worship.

And like sandstone, we become hardened.

Living Water runs right off.

Nary a drop soaks in.

We’re left parched and hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

But unlike my hard-under-the-surface backyard, God is a Master of softened hearts.

Simply plow the ground.

Sow to yourselves in righteousness,
    reap according to kindness.
Break up your fallow ground;
    for it is time to seek Yahweh,
    until he comes and rains righteousness on you.

Hosea 10:12 WEB
There's hope with the Almighty - plow softened hearts using the blade of God. Share on X

But what about that person who wronged us, we ask?

Or the one who never paid the I-Owe-You, fired us, talked about us, caused dissension, or brought harm our way on purpose?

Yes ~ what about them?

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This is about us ~ our heart and the hardness hiding within.

I’ve wagged my finger at others, far too often for comfort. As I wrestle with the situation and the emotions that bind, after searching God, I inevitably come to the realization that it’s about me ~ my heart, my walk, and my relationship with God.

Plowing is due.

Plowing does a heart good. Hosea 10:12 Share on X

Is all really as it appears?

Is “their” fault meter full while mine dials zero?

Am I perfect, completely faultless? Deceit continues to pour its weight.

Or, like the hidden sandstone in my yard, is there a hardened heart pulsing underneath?

Hello, truth.

Often, this has been the case.

Vigilance warns. Out-of-control emotions indicate sin crouches near, weaving its weeds of deceit in my heart’s soil.

If peace eludes, prayer ensues. Share on X

There’s a prayer I’ve prayed that always gets answered. I continue to pray it to this day. I’d love to have you join me. I’d love to see all of us plowing ground in good ways this year ~ all to God’s glory.


You are so loving and good. You only want what is loving and good for me. Thank you. I want to offer you my “all”, so Lord, show me any areas of my heart that are hardened. Show me what’s hidden. Unearth the lies that make all appear good. Gracious Father, show me how to plow that ground. I’ll be faithful to do it Lord. My heart is not a place for weeds of deceit to grow. It’s Yours, all of it. 

In Jesus’ name, amen.

Grab the blade called God because His answer often calls for a plow.

My prayers are with you (and me) as we plow the hardened ground this year, giving Him our “all”. Praise His holy name.

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  1. Beautifully written Kristi! Sin is so deceitful and the only way to cut through is asking God to reveal our true hearts! Visiting today from intentional Tuesday! Glad I stopped by. It has been awhile:) God Bless!

    1. Hi Lisa. Don’t you love that we have a God who sees…even into our hearts? He truly is the solution. Your visit is a blessing ~ thanks!

  2. “Living water runs right off” Ouch! What a great analogy, though. Living water can’t soak in hardened “soil.” Great post, Kristi

  3. Kristi, this is beautiful! I can so identify with this. Even this past week of being busy and running around, I found myself feeling dry. People were irritating me, circumstances annoyed me… I felt disconnected from God. I was spending obligatory time with Him, rather than devotional time necessary for Him plow the unsettled places in my heart. Thank you for this. It was exactly what I needed today!

  4. God really used that verse to speak to me last spring through a P31 OBS. We need to plow up our hard ground and seek the Lord.

    When we encounter a challenge with someone, it’s so easy to wag our finger at THEM, as you say. But our hearts are hard. (Mine is.) Pinning this right now!

    1. It’s a powerful verse, isn’t it, Betsy? (And there was a P31 OBS study on it? Too cool!) Pin away, my friend. You’re a blessing as always.

  5. Amen and such a good reminder to ask God to till up the soil of our hearts and make it fertile ground for the planting of His Word. Glad to be neighbors on the #RaRaLinkup, Kristi! 🙂

  6. Great post! It is easy to focus on how things are on the surface but God is interested in our hearts. That’s something he’s been speaking to me about a lot lately so I’m glad I read your post. The image of plowing up the ground is really helpful.

  7. Remembering that pointing fingers always leaves fingers pointing at me always gives me pause. Kristi, I pray our hearts are tender to receive His correction, tender to allow Him to work in us. Thank you for giving me pause today, friend. : )

  8. Wow Kristi! Such a beautiful post and imagery in reminding us to keep our hearts open for God’s plowing. It may be painful at times but it will bring forth the harvest of fruit that He desires for our lives. Thank you for sharing my friend. you are one of my favorite writers! I am truly blessed, encouraged, and inspired every time I visit here. Have a wonderful week and blessing to you and yours!

  9. God’s instruction to plow up the hard ground of our hearts creates such a picture. How sobering and humbling to realize that our hearts need the painful work of tilling. Thank you for this good word today, Kristi.

  10. Love this, Kristi – plowing ground. It reminds me of keeping short accounts with God – giving Him access to those places where we’re afraid to go. I know I have a few areas that I’ve been hesitant to let Him entirely sift through – but oh for that soft and pliable heart turned toward Him. Thanks for the nudge to let Him have His way. Hugs, friend.

  11. Last night as I drifted off to sleep my prayer was for a deeper heart of compassion for a particular situation. I whispered to my husband, “I wish I was more like Jesus…” Our initial responses might not always be what God desires but I am glad that He is faithful to “plow the ground” – that is process of transformation and it’s His work in our hearts. Thanks for encouragement to keep an open heart. #tellhisstory

  12. What a great post Kristi! I love the prayer. I can really relate to needing God to plow up the hard places of my heart. Nothing grows there without Him. So glad we’re neighbors at #TellHisStory this week.

  13. I once did a bible study by Nancy Leigh DeMoss that had a lot to do with seeding, planting and plowing. Your post brought that all to mind. Thank you, Kristi, for sharing your thoughts and your prayer. It’s one I will make my own. Have a blessed week!

  14. This is soo good and such a great reminder to plow the fields of our heart, daily! And I also loved your prayer at the end. So anointed. I saw your post over at Suzies- and it’s so great to meet you! xoShannon

  15. Oh Kristi, this is such a good topic. My heart was hard for years. I was so bitter I didn’t even remember what I was bitter about. I’m so grateful God used a low point in my life to make me realize how much my hard heart had distanced me from him. He is so faithful. Thank you for this beautiful post, friend.

    1. Isn’t it funny how bitterness births this morbid world of its own, Abby? So grateful to hear about His faithfulness and revelation of bitterness in your life. xo

  16. Kristi,
    Thank you for these words! They mean so much to me as I’ve walked that difficult road of bitterness and feeling like others are to blame. God is good! You’ve touched a place in my heart with this, and I’m bookmarking it to reread again later. 🙂
    Thank you for giving to the Lord!
    Blessings to you!

  17. Polished perfect often hides a hardened heart pulsing underneath. Is this ever true. I have walked in hardness of heart more then once. At this time dealing with an issue with family that could easily harden my heart. There is a difference then a flesh wall around our heart and God’s guard that protects us. His guard is the Word, a fence of scriptures that any bitterness that wants to form will be kept out if we live in His truths. There are times we allow our guard to fall, become frail, disregard it. I John 1:9 is the only way I know to put the guard back up. Each time we pray one more piece of the guard forms and soon we find ourselves strong again in His might. Powerful post.