Over the past year I’ve become more in awe of nature. Living in Nashville makes that easy, but I’ve looked at all the tall, gorgeous trees and thought about how long it took them to grow to their maximum height.
Typically, it takes an oak tree 75 years to reach its full maturity. With each passing month and year, it continues to grow but only when it’s planted among good soil and the right conditions for such a tree.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the conditions of our hearts. What does it take for us to grow? What do we need to not just survive but to truly thrive?
COVID-19 has thrown most people into survival mode. Even now that it’s become the “new normal”, I know I still struggle daily with various things that were all different before COVID. But even in the midst of this uncertainty, I know God has something for us. I know this time can be a time of thriving.
I know we’re all learning something different, but I’ve seen a lot of refinement in my life and those around me as we strip down and see what is necessary and important to our health and our spiritual growth.
Each year we’re either growing more into who God created us to be or running further and further away from Him and His sovereign plan. I know we’re walking into a lot of unexpected situations, but God will provide us with not only instruction but also provision.
When you took a test in school, your teacher taught you the skills necessary to succeed on a test over that material. The teacher may not have given the answers word for word, but you were given the skills necessary to figure out the problems.
I feel like God is kind of like that. I don’t always know the answers, but I know He’ll give me what I need to make a decision. I know He’ll instruct me. It’s better that He doesn’t give me all the answers. We all had a teacher in high school that would give you word for word the answers on a test, and while that was great, how much did you end up learning?
It matters how and where we root ourselves. Planted among good soil, strong community, and a thriving relationship with not only God but also yourself and the people around you, matters. Don’t isolate yourself. Take this time to grow and flourish in who God has created you to be.
Where do your roots lie? Are they on rocky ground? Or are you rooted in your identity in Christ?
Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. – Matthew 7:17-20
What fruit are you producing lately? Is it fruit of bitterness? Fruit of kindness? Fruit of forgiveness? Where do we need to take the time today to reevaluate our spiritual health? Today can be a day of new mercies, new fruit, if we’re willing to do the hard work of surrendering and relinquishing the world we’ve created for ourselves.