What Picking Pumpkins From a Pumpkin Patch taught me About Love
( I may or not be trying to consume the baby gourd that looks like a pumpkin)
Updated post here: https://www.ibelieve.com/holidays/what-picking-pumpkins-taught-me-about-love.html 
Over the past few months, Ive been struggling quite a bit with understanding myself and learning to value that I see myself as more than the girl I used to be.  That just because my old friends knew me as the OCD/Plannerized-insane being, that doesnt mean that my new friends have to see me that way, nor do I have to choose to see myself in that old and stealthy dimmed light.
Transforming into the funny girl with lots of smiles and laughs though hasnt been all rainbows and sunshine.  And although yes, this is my authentic character that had gotten hidden underneath the layers of self-hate, comparison, stress, and a slew of negative experiences, that doesnt mean that the process has been 100% easy to live with.  Loving myself, and learning how to love others correctly, for instance, is something I still struggle with on a daily basis.
Because as much as I would like to tell you that I wake up every morning and take the advice that I so lovingly give to others about their worth and self-esteem, I honestly dont.  That as much as I write about Jesus, and how His love is so unlike anything we will ever experience in this temporary life, I still find myself longing to understand the magnitude of this conception.  And that although I profess to others that this life is beautiful, and love is not a feeling or emotion, but a state of living in Gods Will, I too still struggle to make it through periods of loneliness, drought, and feeling anything but loved.
However, while going to the Pumpkin Patch yesterday with my Mom, God began to reveal to me the aspects of this love in an entirely new light.  As I walked across the crisply fallen leaves of fall and weaved my way in and out of the vines that entangled my every step, the number of pumpkins that surrounded my feet surprised me.  Sure, there were probably 3,000 pumpkins in that field to be picked, but at least half of that number had already been selected and were sitting beside of the vine they once grew from.  Looking down at those pumpkins that had already been picked, I found myself resilient to pick any like that, and instead choose the ones that were still freshly attached to their source of life.  My Mother on the other hand, though looked at the pumpkins that were already picked, but still sitting on the ground and said, Nothing is wrong with them, so why dont we pick a few of those?
Allowing her words to sink in, I was appalled at the voices in my head that said, Why would I do that, when I had no justification.  Other than not being as fun as searching for the perfect pumpkin, and getting to rip it off the vine itself, this got me thinking a whole lot about love, and a whole lot less about the pumpkins I was picking.
I think sometimes in life we approach love in the same way that we approach these pumpkins.  We search high and low for the perfectone and avoid all of those that have already been picked and placed over.  Though a few are unsalvageable due to rotting, many are perfectly great pumpkins, we just simply arent attracted to them, find them as our ideal choice,or want to have the fun in the chase and search of our own selection instead.  And dont we tend to do the same thing with love?  We meet hundreds of people, probably even thousands every single year, but this one isnt the right height, this one is too weird, this one isnt the one,and so on and so forth.  But what if we stopped looking for what we thought we wanted, and just allowed God and His Will for love in our lives to rein instead?  What if we stopped comparing the brand new pumpkin, to the one that was already picked and neatly placed on the ground beside of us?
Perhaps Jesus is trying to teach me something about love, through something as strange as a girl aimlessly wandering through a pumpkin patch.  To reveal to me that in life, there may be three types of people and the love that they offer:
1)    The picked-over pumpkin– Though there is nothing inherently wrong with this pumpkin, you simply dont want to pick it off the ground, take it home to your loving front porch, and show it off to your friends.  Wow, I bet that was a big task to rip off the vine, the voices would never ask.  You simply arent attracted to this pumpkin for a variety of reasons.  Maybe you want to get enthralled in the chase and search of your own, maybe you just dont like its shape or height, or maybe, there is nothing wrong with it, but your heart just says no.
Some people that you meet in life will reflect this picked over pumpkin.  In fact, maybe you yourself are the picked-over the pumpkin.  Youve fallen off of your vine, but no one ever seems to be interested.  Though there is nothing wrong with you (and most likely there isnt), people just pass you by.  And if were being honest, being the picked over pumpkin doesnt feel too good, or do much for your self-esteem/worth.  Too many times have I been the victim of this problem.  Why do guys never like me? I question, when my friends and family assure me that they do, I am just oblivious or unaware.  Why do I always want to look taller, more athletic, more perfect? my mind ponders when I already know that who I am, and who God created me to be should be enough.  Why do I get picked over from the other girls whose lives are as real as the super star models we see in magazines?my heart sinks.  Why does it scare you so much to be the picked over pumpkin?the Holy Spirit prompts me as I hear God finish with, when thats all that Ive asked you to be?
In all of their less than appealing initial encounter, these pumpkins offer the purest form of love.  They know whats like to go without it; therefore, they strive all the more prominently to give it.  They realize that they are imperfect, yet they long to live, and love, and grow anyways.
2)    The rotting pumpkin– Unlike the picked-over pumpkin the rotting pumpkin cant be salvaged or saved for anything.  You cant take him home to cook with, it is too late to carve its disintegrating flesh, and the smell alone is enough to make you never want another pumpkin [milkshake, pie, cookie, roll, latte] ever again in your life.
In life, these pumpkins are the people you should stay away from, and the type of love that they try to entice you with.  These are the guys and girls that pursue without really caring about you as an individual.  They are the ones who believe that most slept with people, one-night stands, porn, and any other means of fake satisfaction are what fully define love.  The guys who act like they really like a girl just to get her to have sex with them, for instance, or the girls who dress like prostitutes to appear attractive because they love for this deceptive affection so badly are both examples.
Yet what the world doesnt show you about these types of pumpkins, and the love that they embody is how evil, ugly, and decaying they are on the inside.  Like the picked over pumpkin, they might even try to trick you into choosing them.  Into lowering your standards, and giving them a chance, because hey, if you can get over the smell, it isnt that bad of a bargain.  But is that really the type of love you want to engage in?  The kind that appears perfect on the outside, but when you get to know it deeper, the putrid flesh of its core is enough to make you get sick?
Sure this love might be satisfying for a temporary pleasure, but will it fulfill the need you feel in your heart?  Will it replace the void that exists? (And if you are wondering, the answer is no.  If you dont have a personal relationship with Jesus, then you will always be looking to mere men to fill this need, and sadly, with this type of pumpkin, you will never be satisfied.  If you do have a relationship with Jesus though, this type of pumpkin still wont ever satisfy.  In fact, it will most likely leave you feeling less loved that you did, to begin with).
3)    The new and perfect pumpkin– If Im completely vulnerable with you, I would love to say that the perfectpumpkin was achievable in all facets of life.  But if I were to tell you that, I would not only be lying to myself, but to all of you.  As much as we would like to think that there is the perfect pumpkin and perfectlove existing somewhere in this world, it simply isnt true.
For example, even in the brand new pumpkins that I freshly plucked from the vine, they still had strange shapes, random chunks out of the side, color discoloration, and so on and so forth.  But you know what?  They still work!  They are still cute.  They are still usable for me to paint, carve, decorate, and show off to my friends.  They have just transformed into the picked-over pumpkin that I once wouldnt give a second glance to.
The same thing then goes for their love.  Because there is no perfect pumpkin, let alone perfectanything in this world that we live, there certainly isnt perfect love that we, as humans are able to possess.  Yes, Jesus Christ is perfect, and the love He embodies is perfect, but the love that we experience from others, and long to crave after will never be perfect. 
We are messy and fallen beings in the result of a messy and fallen world.  But like the picked-over pumpkins, we still work.  We still shine.  We still love- it just looks different than what the world might expect it to.
In resolution, I like to think that Jesus, in all of His perfection, love, and glory often chose the picked-over pumpkin and even reflected that of one Himself.  Though he never fell off the path that God had set for Him, He did represent love in a way that would seem unrecognizable, strange, and uncalled for to that of the world.
Like my mom, I am learning to choose to pick the picked over pumpkin, because when the right person comes along, they will cherish and love me (and you!) with all they have.  Just like Jesus, they will know where youve been, and how youve fallen off along the way, but what matters most is the potential and life you bring to the future.  And they will want that.  Hewill want that.   Because even in your picked over patch, He will pick you up, take you home, wash you off, and make you more glorious than you ever thought you could be.
Love the picked-over pumpkins friends.  Be the picked-over pumpkin.  Give that type of love to yourself, but then also dont forget to lavish that now adored love upon other people. 
Picking pumpkins from a pumpkin patch taught me about love: How to give it, how to receive it, how to know it, how to embody it, and how to pick it.

(Be the picked-over pumpkin 🙂 )

Updated post: https://www.ibelieve.com/holidays/what-picking-pumpkins-taught-me-about-love.html