Every spring, I know it will happen. I expect it to happen. And it DOES happen. A seed is planted, is watered, and nurtured. It swells and sends out roots, sprouts up shoots, and within a couple months, it blossoms and bears fruit. It’s this crazy miracle that fills me with wonder and amazement every time I witness it.
Cultivating a garden can be a lot of work, but for most of us, we do it because we enjoy it. Whether we garden for aesthetics or for pollinators or for nourishment, part of the satisfaction is the joy of watching things grow.
As we put time and effort into nurturing a garden, we are also nurturing ourselves. Personal growth, like this, happens in many ways. We grow when life gives us a bowl of lemons and we are forced to find a way to make lemonade - not exactly fun. But growth can be more intentional and enjoyable when we take an active role in it. There is no end to the possibilities of what we can learn and experience. Take a class, learn a new skill, do something creative, step out of our comfort zone and do that thing we've always wanted to do.
What if we cultivate growth in a different way? What if we become intentional in becoming more patient with others, show them kindness and grace? What if we cultivate gratitude and generosity? This kind of growth not only changes us, but it affects those around us in wondrous ways! But how do we encourage this kind of self-growth?
For me, the one thing that is at the core of this type of growth - true personal growth - is my faith. When I make the effort to spend time in God’s Word, I’m cultivating and nurturing my faith. The more I water it by learning about him and his love for me - for all of us, seeds of gratitude begin to swell and form roots. That gratitude then affects my whole life as it sprouts, grows, and blossoms into fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. And those fruits, dear friend, are worth cultivating. They begin to self-sow and spread - changing not only us, but others in ways we don’t always see.
How about you? This spring, as you think about what you will grow, I encourage you to also consider how you will grow or how you are growing. Spend some time being still so you can hear your thoughts. Take a walk and listen to what your heart is saying. Write in a journal to sort through your ideas. If you are a believer, pray to God who always listens and will guide you. Then begin. Begin to intentionally cultivate growth.