Tonight I am joining a few women from my church to participate in a dialogue about the book “Cultivate: A Grace-Filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life“. I’m looking forward to the event not just because I have an excuse to make myself a picnic dinner and talk about a book while sitting outside, but also because I truly enjoyed this read.
I thought I would go through and share a few points that spoke to me from the book and if any of them resonate with you, I encourage you to add this to your “to read” list (and if you don’t have a list like that…you should make one).
First off, I love that this book came into my life at the point I’m at now. I had a challenging school year that made me question all areas of the education system (including myself). On top of that, all within a 4 week period of time, I am leaving one job, interviewing for another one (multiple ones), moving, and getting married.
It is a whirlwind to say the least.
One might say there is a lot of chaos in my life right now.
But this is where I truly try to focus on my mindset and ask myself: what is God preparing me for? Because rather than saying how stressed life is making me right now, I can say “How can I cultivate where I am at?”
Cultivate (v): To foster growth.
For those of you who follow my blog or know me personally, you know I am all about growth. I fully believe you NEVER stop growing. We can constantly try to be better. We can educate ourselves, foster our skills, discover new skills, change our paths, etc.
Growth is a beautiful, beautiful thing.
When we cultivate, we cultivate what matters to us in our life. What is something that you wish you spent more time “working” on? Here are some options that Lara Casey offers:
- A healthier lifestyle
- A stronger marriage
- A deeper faith
- Intentional connections with family
- Joy in your children
- contentment in what you have
- More time in prayer
- learning and education
- A new business venture
- Being more present
- Deeper friendships
- Work that allows you to use your gifts
- Balance and Rest
And many more!
For myself, I want to cultivate my creativity and my time in prayer. I started this blog a long time ago and I continuously struggle with feeling like I can do this, but here I am, trying to cultivate this passion.
I’m also working on my relationship with God and I know that prayer is an area that I do not focus enough on. I’ve started to dedicate some time to pray, not just rely on my “help me Jesus” moments.
Lara touches on the fact that we all go through seasons in our life, similar to the way gardeners use the seasons for various plants. We may be going through a time of great struggle, but we know that this season won’t last forever, but rather, this season is used in preparation for the next season to come. Winter is used as a time of hibernation and preparation in order for the soil to be ready for spring flowers.
When you uncover what you want to cultivate in your own life, consider what season you are in.
For me, this past season of my life was definitely winter. “A season of preparation, getting you ready for something good ahead.” I’m still waiting for that something good, but I’ve decided to jump in a different direction for work and I’m excited for the new things that will be coming.
Sometimes God is showing us His love more through what feels hard than through what feels easy. (Should have carried this on a post-it note with me this year)
Lara also focused on the fact that God is not done with you yet. It is so easy to get bogged down in our struggles. It’s easy to listen to the enemies lies. For some, cultivating is going to be a process. It will happen in baby steps, not leaps and bounds.
But we have to start somewhere. You can choose to cultivate whenever you want, but we have to remember that it is a choice. We actively make a decision to cultivate where we are at.
So I challenge you to ask yourself: Am I a cultivator?
If you say no, why not? Why not grow, reflect, and love on the season you are in now?
If any of what I have said has resonated with you, I encourage you to get a copy of this book and reflect on how it relates to your own personal life. Let me know your thoughts, I’d love to have a chat with you about it.
His plan was to take us through long seasons of “not yet” and “wait.” His plan was to prune and ripen us for something better than we could have imagined. He was cultivating our souls and lives for His great plan. And He has a plan for you too.