“If you want to enjoy life
          and see many happy days,
      keep your tongue from speaking evil
          and your lips from telling lies.
Turn away from evil and do good.
      Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right,
           and his ears are open to their prayers.
      But the Lord turns his face
           against those who do evil.” – 1 Peter 3:10-12 (NLT)

I compost our food and yard waste.  There is a pile behind the garage where all of this is dumped.  In the winter, it just sits layer upon layer, covered with snow.  But it will not compost correctly this way.  It needs to be turned.  The bottom layers need air to properly break down and create fertile soil.  The potato peelings need to be mixed with the leaves; the weeds from last fall need to be interspersed with the biodegradable plates I brought home for a funeral I presided for.

Without turning, all I have is a garbage heap of lost potential.

There are two ways to turn – away from something or towards something.  Technically, both happen.  However, sometimes we are only conscious of one part of our turn.  We might say we are turning over a new leaf.  But it is not to just simply bury the old but to offer the new.  In the same way, we can heed Jesus’ call to turn the other cheek.  But this isn’t just a call to turn away but to also present our other cheek to our oppressor.  This is a turning of openness and vulnerability rather than defiance.

There is much to our life of Christian discipleship that requires turning.  Some turns bring the breath of life to what seems dead, simply a pile of garbage.  Others represent our intention to offer another paradigm of how the world can be.

There is much of our Christian discipleship that requires turning. Some turns bring the breath of life to what seems dead, simply a pile of garbage. Others represent our intention to offer another paradigm of how the world can be. Click To Tweet


It’s Five Minute Friday:  “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write. 



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8 Thoughts to “turn”

  1. Our pastor was just talking about how repentance isn’t just turning away form sin, but turning toward God and submitting to His ways. Your post made me think of that. Without His empowerment, we’ll inevitably end up back in the garbage. With His empowerment, the garbage can become something beautiful and useful.

    1. lifeinthelabyrinth

      In our baptism rites we both renounce evil and affirmatively turn towards Christ.

  2. I love that turning to bring life to an otherwise pile of garbage:) I will never look at composting the same again. (I am such a city girl!)

  3. We used to have a compost pile that we had to turn with a pitchfork. When we moved to our new house, we invested in those turning bins – so much easier!! 😉 I love how Natalie Goldberg describes the compost process in life/writing. That we need to let the garbage settle and turn into rich soil, and this takes time. I want change to be quick and easy but it takes work… Thanks for these reflections!

    1. lifeinthelabyrinth

      I still use the pitchfork method.

  4. What a perfect metaphor – thanks for sharing!

  5. This kind of reminds me of what a stagnant walk with the Lord can do. You are just sitting there; all that potential literally going to waste. You can be turned into something useful that fertilizes and brings life and feeds your garden but like you said, you have to turn the pile to make this happen. What a great illustration and picture! From a compost pile! I will never look at one the same again!

    1. lifeinthelabyrinth

      And the compost pile needs continual turning – just as we need God to constantly be breathing change into us. Peace to you.

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