Out of My Shell

#inspiration, potential, growthOur neighbour called my husband and me over to look at something in his garden. He had planted some sunflower seeds and one had sprouted with the shell still on it.

It seemed to me that this plant was not ready to give up the protection the shell had given. Even though there was quite a bit of new growth, the plant was not ready to fully come out of its shell.

My way of looking at this was a reflection of past (and sometimes more recent) behaviours I have struggled with.

New experiences can be very scary. In an unknown environment, I long for safety and familiarity. My protective shell looks tempting and I seriously consider making a retreat back into it.

Before I do, I think of how dark and restrictive the shell had become. Outside I see light and potential. Am I willing to risk the unknown to reach toward my goals and dreams?

Sometimes I still look for a safe place to hide. Then I remember what lies outside of this comfort zone and know I will never grow into my full potential until I am willing to break out of my shell.

“Fear is only temporary. Regret lasts forever.” – Unknown

Planting the Garden

#inspiration, God, Heavenly Father, nurtureWe have an area set aside in our backyard for a vegetable garden. Every year we look forward to the harvest of fresh produce to come.

Before seeds can be sown, the soil must be prepared. If the dirt is hard and compact, it needs to be broken up and turned over. The soil also needs to be fertile enough to sustain the growth we hope to achieve. The task of a gardener is ongoing throughout the season and I’m grateful my husband has taken this on.

He knows that hard, unyielding soil will not allow roots to push through and grow. Stones and undesirable roots left in the soil can hamper the growth of seeds planted.

If we are not careful weeds will quickly grow and choke the life from the seedlings. One of the roles of a gardener is to tend the plants, removing anything that will impede their growth. Without proper care, they will be unable to reach their full potential.

I think of myself as one of these seeds. Sometimes I put myself in situations that hamper my growth. God wants me to have deep roots so I can reach my full potential. When I am hard and unyielding He may need to do some digging into my life and break up the clumps of stubbornness and rebellion. The weeds of my wrong attitudes need to be removed.

This process can be quite uncomfortable but the results are worth it. The thought of being a seed, planted by the loving hands of my Heavenly Father is reassuring. There is no better gardener to nourish and care for me. His love and protection will help me reach my full potential.

Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. (John 15:1 ERV)

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.

Dandelions

spring, flowers, JesusSpring takes a long time to arrive in Southern Alberta. When it finally arrives, it makes up for lost time. In the span of a week, the trees were full of leaves and brightly coloured blossoms. The lawn was lush and green and we could practically watch it grow. The other sure sign of spring is the profusion of dandelions.
The bright yellow flowers are a favourite for young children to pick. They look so pretty that it’s hard to remember that they are weeds. When the flower dies, the plant produces seeds. Dandelions can produce up to 20,000 seeds which are blown by the wind, landing somewhere they can germinate and grow. Left unchecked, a few dandelions can quickly spread. I may follow all measures to rid my lawn of dandelions, but if my neighbours do not do the same, I will be faced with many more of these weeds in the future.

The same is true in my life. I know the things I need to do to keep my life running smoothly. Slowly I have let little weeds enter, feeling that they are small enough to not cause problems. Once I allow them to take hold, they put down roots, spread their seeds and multiply. Soon my life is overrun and I’m left wondering what happened.

Jesus plants only good, fruitful seeds in my life. My responsibility is to nurture these seeds and not to allow the weeds to choke them out. By walking closely with Jesus, I can eliminate the weeds and live the fruitful life that he has planned for me.

“Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.” Matthew 13:23 NKJV