The closest I come to taking care of plants is changing the water in a vase of flowers I have on my nightstand. I have never been a gardener a day in my life.
One of my best friends LOVES her plants though and tends to each one with unwavering care. On her social media she posts updates of each of her plants growth and blooms as well as set-backs.
Recently, I have come to the realization that growth is not something that simply falls into anyone’s lap. Growth, in every aspect of the word, is hard work and is something that is fought for.
Looking back on my time in college, I fought relentlessly to grow and change into someone who I wanted to be, not someone who I was told to be. It was not until I noticed that some people around me did not have the same drive, or only had the motivation to grow up to a certain point, that I accepted growth being something that is fought for, both with others and individually.
Growth takes looking into myself and digging into all aspects of who I am and why, then taking action in how I want to live my life moving forward. Growth takes looking at what I am learning from the people directly around me and what I want to hold onto and let go of. Growth takes looking outside of myself, to the world around me, and to the different cultures and people that make up society.
It was not until I actively chose to go to counseling and read books about emotional health that I learned how I am wired and how to use my story as a catalyst for stepping into the world. By talking to and learning from people who live out faith differently, reading books outside of my comfort level, listening to podcasts of various people who come from vastly different places, and diversifying my social media feeds, I grew widely and deeply. This led me to look at the world as a whole and the people in it in a completely new way.
Similar to how my friend takes responsibility for caring for and tending to her plants, we are in charge of caring for and tending to our own growth. We will see areas of our life where we are blooming with growth, sometimes so much we cannot take it all in. Other times, we may face set-backs and circumstances or people that attempt to stop our growth. But we must not let up lest we live a life in the structures that others set for us.
I am not a gardener, but I am someone who fiercely fights for growth and tends to that growth when it comes into bloom.
Growth is hard, uncomfortable, and often times inconvenient. It addition, the ways you are changing may not always be excepted by everyone around you. But how boring would it be if we all thought the same way and were only surrounded by people who thought exactly as we did?
I see the vastness and beauty of God in the ways people are unique and still choose to stand with and for each other. I see different aspects of who God is when I have a conversation with someone about their individual story and why they believe what they believe.
It is in our fight for growth that we come alongside others in their fight and they come alongside us in ours.
It is our individual choice to stay comfortable in what we know OR look inside ourselves, at the people around us, and at the world we live in to grow and change into individuals that stand in confidence of who we are. It takes growth and strength to know yourself and walk in authenticity. It takes growth and strength to stand on your own at times. It takes growth and strength to stand with people who are different from us. It takes growth and strength to choose to grow. It takes growth and strength to never let up in the fight to grow.
Published on Darling Magazine