Cultivate It

Happy Monday!  I hope you had a wonderful weekend!  This weekend in Charlottesville was the Foxfield races, which is basically my most favorite day of the year. I mean, what could be better than dressing up in a sundress, heading to a horse race, and drinking mimosas all day?  It was delightful!

You may recall last week, I wrote a post about making comparisons and I used an herb garden and young, fast, skinny runners to make my point.  As the days have gone on, I’ve been thinking a lot about being envious and consumed by comparisons.  Jealousy is something I really struggle with–not only do I envy herbs and athletic ability, but I also envy clothes, beautifully decorated homes, life seasons, and even other people’s faith…yes, their faith. 

I know that we are all beyond loved by God, but sometimes I talk to my friends and they just seem so plugged in and connected to God and I just think, “I want that…” 

As I’ve continued to think, dream, and envy my friend’s herb garden, something that has struck me is that she has actually taken the time to cultivate and nurture her garden.  Me?  My herbs are lucky if they get watered once every two weeks. 

Abby planted, fertilized, and watered.  She even owns her own watering can!  And when she went out of town, she didn’t just leave them alone, but she made arrangements to have someone come take care of them to ensure they would continue to thrive in her absence.  Abby’s herbs are beautiful because she made an effort to make them beautiful.

My herbs don’t make it, because I just plant them and hope for the best…not taking the time to take care of them.

The same can be said for running…running is a process that you have to maintain.  There have been a few times in my life where running came easily, but it was when I was running 3-4 times a week.  The minute I stop, it gets tough again.  So how can I envy people who have been running their entire lives and actually put the time into it?

I think this can also apply to our faiths.  Make no mistake, no matter what we do, there is nothing we can do to earn our salvation or God’s love, but like any relationship, I think on a day-to-day basis, you get out what you put into it.  I have a friend that I so admire because all she wants is more of Godshe reads, she journals, she prays, and she is fully aware of where and how God is moving throughout her day in both her professional life and her personal life.

As her friend, I’ve seen God do some pretty unbelievable things, and I’ve been in awe at how near and personal our God truly is.  And as much as I’ve LOVED watching my friend embark on this journey, sometimes I think, “God, I want that too…” Like a middle sister jealous of the beautiful, successful older one.

It’s a dangerous trap to begin to compare our faiths to other people, and one that, though I easily fall into, needs to be avoided.  God is real and personal to each of us in different ways, it’s certainly not something we should allow to consume us. 

BUT, rather than be envious, I think it’s okay to admire someone’s faith.  Just like in any relationship, she’s putting the time into her relationship with God to strengthen, deepen it, and grow it.  She’s investing, sharing, listening, and serving and God is responding.

Here’s a thought, rather than sit at home moping about what I think I’m lacking, why don’t I harness my envying energy and actually do something?  Like cultivate my own relationship or water my plants?!  What a novel idea!

“Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.”
Psalm 9:10