Growing Together

#inspiration, growth, independenceMost of the carrots in our garden grew side by side. Not these two. They grew together, one wrapping itself around the other.

Two distinct tops were visible above the ground. The roots at the bottom were also separately defined.

At some point during their growth, the shapes were altered as they became entwined and no longer individual. The result is you can’t take them apart without breaking at least one.

There have been times I’ve aligned myself closely to another whom I admired. Subtly my individuality disappeared as I attempted to mold myself into the other person’s shape.

Other times I have been flattered by the attention of someone else and allowed them to grow into my space, altering both of us.

Neither case was healthy. It is not possible to carry on this way without feeling stifled. Unfortunately, the move to separate causes injury or brokenness for one if not both.

Supporting one another does not mean losing the traits that make me who I am. Growing alongside and learning from another while still maintaining independence is what makes me stronger and healthier.

I read a quote that said, “Be yourself before you forget who you really are.” That is advice I plan on taking!

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” Steve Jobs

“Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.” Judy Garland

What Crop Are You Harvesting?

#inspiration, nourish, growthThere is nothing like the taste of fresh from the garden produce. I am a carrot lover, so that is one crop I look forward to with great anticipation.

A few days ago we harvested the remaining carrots. It was interesting to see the variety of sizes. The seeds were all sown on the same day, into the same mix of garden soil. They were cared for in exactly the same way. So why were some large and others small?

At first, I wondered if the ones gathered closely together didn’t have enough space to grow as large as the ones with more room. That may be part of it, but then how do I explain a large carrot growing beside a small one? What makes one thrive while another grows slowly?

I wondered if this is true for seeds, is it also true for people? Deep within each of us lies many seeds. We have seeds of potential, of love and kindness; seeds of confidence and self-worth. We also have seeds of disappointment, of anger, of discouragement and low self-esteem.

Some of these seeds grow larger and stronger than others, depending which ones we focus on. Every seed needs proper nourishment to grow and flourish. I can feed the negative ones by focusing on them, or I can make the choice to nourish the positive ones to encourage their growth.

I look at the carrots just in from the garden and wonder, which of the seeds in my life I’m putting my focus on.

When the Bloom Fades – Revised

#God, #inspiration, ambitions, life, fruit

I apologize for sending this twice today.  The gremlins got to the first copy so please delete and enjoy this one instead!

A splash of yellow amid the sea of green leaves caught my attention. “That wasn’t there yesterday,” I thought as I hurried out to the vegetable garden to investigate.

One of our zucchini plants had two large flowers as well as a few buds forming. On closer examination I saw a small zucchini with the dried remains of a flower on the end.

I thought about the showy flowers that would soon wither and fade away. As lovely as the blooms are, they have to die before the plant will produce its crop.zucchini and faded blossom

The same holds true for the fruit trees and their blossoms that we look forward to in spring. The petals have to fall in order for summer’s fruit to form.

The analogy to life was not lost on me. There is nothing wrong with promoting or drawing attention to the work I’m doing. After all, I’m pointing others to God and his creation.

There comes a time, however, when I have to die to my ambitions and let Jesus take control of my talents, hopes and dreams. They are all gifts from him anyway.

By thanking Jesus and following his calling on my life, while leaving the outcome entirely up to him, I am putting myself in the background. The fruit produced for his kingdom will be more abundant when he is in charge.

Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. (John 12:24 NIV)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galations 5:22-23 NIV)