[H]ow do you cultivate your life? I believe that cultivating your life is an art form because it involves vision, purpose, intentionality and commitment to your craft. Just this past weekend, a handful of artists, Grove board members and I explored this theme. We had several conversations about The Art of Cultivating Your Life at the Young Artist/Creative Leader Getaway sponsored by The Grove Center for the Arts & Media. We had a wonderful weekend, which is why I’m so eager to share our conversations with you. Read on…
First, a little back story. Our Grove Getaways are simple 3 day gatherings designed to give artists plenty of rest, great food, and stimulating conversations. Our getaways are low-key hangs…definitely not a conference or seminar. Not much program per se…the people are the program and what God is up to in their lives. We find a free vacation home, ask for an extremely low registration fee (ok, embarrassingly low), and The Grove picks up the rest. Along with generous free time, our times together are best characterized by rich and meaningful conversations.
Since our work is all about cultivating the spiritual growth and creative work of artists, we talk a lot about the integration of spiritual cultivation, creativity, God, prayer and the arts. Here’s a bit of what we talked about this past weekend…I hope you enjoy listening in…
Friday Night Conversation: The Art of Cultivating Vision
If you are going to cultivate your life, you first must begin with a vision for your life. “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18)
When we began on Friday night, I opened with a story of my past year cultivating the organic lemon and avocado grove owned by The Grove Center for the Arts & Media. On our property, there are healthy trees and unhealthy trees. Fruit-filled trees and trees that bear little fruit. Regardless of their condition, every tree needs to be cultivated to maximize their fruitfulness. When we water the trees, the sprinklers are often kept on for twenty to twenty-four hours at a time.
Just like trees that need a “deep soak” to get the highest fruit output, your life need to be deep-soaked in rest, reflection, and time alone with God. A deep soak allows you to consider what it means to have a vision for caring for “the grove” God has given you to cultivate. That means reflecting on your life, your family, your work, your friendships, community and world.
Saturday Morning Conversation: Cultivating Your Heart
Bob Murphy, one of our Grove board members, asked a number of key questions about what it means to cultivate your heart. At the core, when Bob talked about the heart, he was speaking of your identity. It is far to easy to wrap your identity in your work, your relationships, your accomplishments, possessions, struggles or addictions.
At the core of your heart is the undeniable truth that you are deeply loved by God. This is the greatest truth of who you are.
How are you intentional in cultivating your heart? How do you get knocked off center from your true identity in Christ?
Saturday Evening Conversation: Cultivating Your Calling
Are you aware of how your “True Self” operates against “Your False Self”? It’s the difference, as Paul writes, between walking in the Spirit versus walking in the flesh. Living according to your true self in Christ has everything to do with cooperating with God in how you cultivate your life. Your true self will seek all the life found in Christ. Your false self will assassinate your highest dreams and most cherished relationships through illusion, deception, and denial. Don’t underestimate the power of the false self.
If you are going to pursue a creative calling or mission in life, you must pay attention to the war between your true self and false self. The true self operates out of the deep truth of being loved by God. The false self lives according to the law, trying to outmaneuver the grace of God with all manner of rebellion and religious nit-picking.
The true self rests in the love, goodness, grace and sovereignty of God.
The false self is never at rest, always anxious, either running from God or trying to sprint ahead of Him.
This past summer, I read David Benner’s The Gift of Being Yourself. He writes about the true and false self in detail. An excellent book!
Sunday Morning Conversation: Cultivating the Your Purpose
We finished Sunday morning by circling back to our Friday night conversation. If you are going to cultivate purpose in your life, that is, having a meaningful understanding of who you are before God, the relationships you have, and the creative work He has called you to, you must have vision. Vision is intricately tied to your identity, your calling, and your purpose.
It is only when we cultivate our purpose do we begin to head in a meaningful direction for our lives.
Cultivating your vision, identity, calling, and purpose begins and ends in walking with God. And with His people who help us along the way.
The art of cultivating your life is the grace of God working in your life.
“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Phil. 1:6
Questions: How do you cultivate your life? What practices do you follow to care for “the grove” God has given you to tend?
I’d love your comments and feedback.