Making room for growth

Lately, I’ve felt God speak to me through the idea of soil.

It’s sort of funny, because I don’t garden. In fact, I’ve never grown a plant, vegetable, fruit, or flower in my life. I grew up on asphalt, mowed grass, and pool water. Far from any farm or vegetable patch (Though I’ve always loved the phrase “vegetable patch,” because it sounds sort of inviting and yummy).

Nonetheless, I believe there is much to learn from nature, and the substances and cycles of nature – even if we’re not well acquainted with them in our daily lives. Jesus used a lot of farming analogies to explain faith and life, and I think we should try to make an effort to understand them. So, soil.

What I do know about soil is the following:

The purpose and nature of soil is to grow things.

Soil that is dry, cracked, full of weeds, or full of stones cannot easily grow new things.

On the other hand, soil that is turned over, loosened up, and cleared of debris can grow good things. With a little research, I also learned that soil also must be resilient, able to withstand harsh weather and external assailants.

At one point in the New Testament, Jesus is talking to a crowd of people on a beach, and he tells a story using soil as a symbol for the heart. He basically says that “good soil” can receive seeds – truth and wisdom. In turn, that soil will be fruitful, productive, creative. But bad soil, full of rocks or thorns, isn’t going to grow much.*

Lately, I’ve taken a look at my own state of being, and felt that my own soil has grown just a little stiff – and maybe a bit unreceptive and unproductive. It’s soil that may be accustomed to routine that keeps me in a state of “okay,” but not necessarily thriving (soil that’s poorly fed). It may be a little too comfortable with my own deficiencies and bad habits (soil that’s rocky). This soil may even be weathered down by pain or stress, causing me to feel discouraged (soil that’s sun-scorched).

In any case, I have felt that God wants to “churn up my soil” – turn it over to make room for new growth.

Making room for growth isn’t easy. It means clearing out things that may have felt comfortable for you for a long time. Maybe you have grown used to rocks and weeds and dry patches. Maybe you even like them ­– They’ve even become a part of you. But still, they’re hindering potential for the implantation of new growth – tiny, microscopic seeds and buds that may grow into bigger dreams and more fulfilling futures than we could have ever anticipated or planned.

For me, shifting around my soil means a few things. I’m setting new habits, new intentions (borrowed that one from my yoga instructor – thanks Anna), and new perspectives. On a practical level, this looks like living a more disciplined, focused life. I’m trying to do the following: Get up earlier (I’m embarrassed to admit how many hours I sleep a night, especially to my mom friends). Eat healthier (dessert every day just isn’t necessary). Set intentional, professional goals – and personal writing goals. And finally, let go of things I can’t change.

In the process, I’m believing new growth is just ahead – creative beginnings, fresh starts, and fruit that may even surprise me. 

*Matthew 13, Mark 4, or Luke 8

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