In my last post, I talked about integrity – how it “grows out of who you are at the core of your being…” But how do we know who we are at our core? And how did that ‘core’ get there in first place? I believe, as the Bible says, that God planted a spiritual seed in each of us before we were born (Jeremiah 1:5). This is why I’m naming God “The Master Gardener.”
How does the idea of “growing” your life resonate with you? Our culture puts a high emphasis on ACTION: plans, activities, and work, work, work as the pathway to a successful life. And I am all for action – coaching always leads to goals and a plan and active accountability. Where I’m focusing now, though, is the motivation that spurs the action – the ROOTS of who you are and why you do things.
When my son, Alex, was about 6 years old, he was watching television one day and suddenly called, “Mom, come here! I need to tell you something!” So I put down my dish rag and headed for the family room. “I know what I want to be when I grow up,” he said. “I want to be a really tall man!” I laughed. “A really tall man? Why is that?” “Because I want to be a famous basketball player and they are all really tall!”
Wisdom often comes from the mouths of babes. Think about it. He didn’t say, “I want to learn to play basketball.” He first realized he needed to be tall. Alex did grow to be a tall man but obviously not by his own effort. God planted tallness in him before he was born. The same goes for our callings in life. A calling lies so deep within us that we cannot deny it, and we are not satisfied in our life unless we pursue it. But how do we know our calling? How do we know when we’re at all on track?
In “Building a Discipling Culture,” Mike Breen and the 3DM Team have laid out a method of growing discipleship using geometric shapes to illustrate spiritual-, personal-, and community-growth processes. I’m adapting their triangle to fit our topic here. The triangle on the right shows us how we must place God first (“Step One”) when we’re ready to grow our beautiful lives. (1) Start at the top (God): take quiet time with God. Pray for direction and then be quiet and listen. Read your Bible. (2) Go inward (You): God will grow your calling in you. Share your sense of this with a trusted spiritual partner. Write it out. Get coaching. Begin to make a plan. (3) Go outward (the world): take action on your calling. Set goals. Take some steps forward and see what happens. Then go back to (1) and keep the process going.
God, the Master Gardener, is step one to Growing Your Beautiful Life. If you don’t know where to start, take some quiet time on a regular basis. Spend some time in a garden or park or forest. Observe how God grows nature and know that He is growing you too. Trust that your Master Gardener has a plan for you – and listen for the still small voice to point the way.