Do you know it’s possible to cultivate a more fruitful, satisfying life than you ever imagined? Everyone is searching for a life they hope will be filled with satisfaction, meaning and purpose. Cultivating that life we long for is possible, but I’m not going to offer easy platitudes…it is challenging. This past weekend, I spent two days at The Grove, the 12 acre organic lemon and avocado farm owned by The Grove Center for the Arts & Media. I’m learning a lot about cultivating. I’d like to share 3 ideas to help you cultivate a more fruitful, more satisfying life than you ever imagined. Read on…
1. Remind Yourself…Cultivating is Hard Work
Every time I go to The Grove, I’m reminded that being a farmer is hard work. Cultivating is hard work! At The Grove, we have about 1200 trees that are in constant need of water, sun, fertilizer, pruning, and weeding. The kicker? None of this land is on flat ground. Most of the cultivating is done on a hillside or at least, gentle sloping ground.
Our lives are no different. We may have seasons when we feel like we’re cruising on flat ground, but most of the hard work in our lives is set against a hillside of challenges where we feel the weight of gravity against us.
Cultivating a more fruitful, satisfying life requires hard work. Somewhere, somehow, we’ve bought into the myth that a satisfying life would be easy. That it would just show up at our door like a box of Krispy Kreme glazed donuts. Nothing could be further than the truth.
Spiritual growth is learning to discern what is our part and what is God’s part. I can’t control the sun, the rain, the heat or the hail, but I can weed, water, and work the land of my life God has given me. When I cooperate with God in the work He wants to do in my life, cultivating is no longer dependent on me. As I work hard at cultivating, I work from a position of rest in Jesus.
I am often overwhelmed at how much work needs to be done at The Grove and in my life. But when I remember that I don’t have to tackle all the work, the whole Grove in one day (or my life), I get perspective on focusing on the work that needs to be done for today. In that way, by taking on the easy yoke of Jesus, the burden suddenly becomes lighter. I work hard, but rest in Jesus.
2. Ask Yourself, “When was the last time I had a deep soak?”
When we water our lemons and avocados, it’s not like turning on your sprinklers for fifteen minutes to water your lawn. We water the lemon and avocados trees for 20 to 24 hours at a time. It’s called a “deep soak,” allowing the water to sink deep into the root systems of the trees.
When was the last time you had a deep soak? I mean, really? When was the last time you gave yourself permission to take 24 or 48 hours to renew your life? To restore your heart, mind and body? A deep soak will replenish the roots of your life, allowing them to grow deeper and send that life-giving water necessary for the fruit to grow.
In John 4:14, Jesus promises, “But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”
There is no way to cultivate a fruitful, satisfying life without taking a deep soak in the water of life Jesus promises us.
Look at your life. How is the fruit? Is it small, thin, almost anemic-looking? Water infuses fruit with flavor, sweetness and life.
A deep soak just may be the very thing you need to cultivate the very life Jesus offers you.
3. Help Yourself…Use a Weed-Whacker!
Oh, I know the very thought of weeds is a tiresome topic to even think about it. Your garden or grove isn’t much different than mine. When I was young, I spent years weeding our family’s garden. I spent many long summer days weeding slopes and hillside. God does have a twisted sense of humor…all of that was preparation for the weeding I do at The Grove today.
While I have no control over insects and the weather, I can knock down weeds. And when I do, it requires heavy equipment. I cover myself with a large white onesie painter’s suit (haven’t worn one of those since I was a toddler!). I also wear goggles, a facemask, gloves, and heavy boots.
Then I pick up an industrial strength weed-whacker and go to battle. Whacking waist-high weeds is dangerous, messy work. That weed-whacker hurls rocks, lemons, and weed shrapnel like kids throwing oranges at a car. (One of my sins of youth.) When it comes to weeds at The Grove, I have a “scorched earth” policy. I want them all gone, but you know what? Those dang weeds keep growing back.
Jesus talked about the good seed getting choked out by the weeds “the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of riches and the desire for others things.” In our search for a fruitful, satisfying life, we must pay attention to the weeds that choke out the life of God. Weeding is just part of the constant process of cultivating our lives in Christ.
Pay attention to the weeds that prevent you from cultivating a more fruitful, satisfying life.
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There are choices that only you and you alone can make about the weeds in your life. God promises His grace and assistance, but cultivation begins with cooperating with His Holy Spirit in your life. You are not made to go it alone. You need God’s help and the help of others to pull out the most resistant weeds in your life.
Oh, there’s so much more to say about developing a more fruitful, satisfying life, but let’s keep it simple for now.
Work hard, but rest in Jesus. Take a deep soak. Pay attention to the weeds.
Questions: Which one of these ideas do you find most helpful for cultivating a more fruitful, satisfying life?
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