Some friends just have the funnest knack of gift giving! I love this mug--Keep Calm and Own Your Life that an angel friend sent as a surprise! But the message is so true. You have a lifetime to grow, mature, get better, stronger, and to leave a legacy, a story worth the telling.
Keep Calm. Own Your Life.
Love this mug.
I have received so many letters from women all over the world that have said they are encouraged by my book, Own Your Life. Yet, still, they want some more encouragement. And often I see women stuck in their tracks. I hope that on Thursdays or Fridays of the months ahead, I will be able to discuss some of these issues with you.
I will attempt to have a podcast with each lesson and give some of my own ideas, scripture, and applications. So you can listen to the podcast or read the blog or both! Whatever is good for you. But I will also be taking excerpts out of my book and out of my study guide. If you would like to make it practical to your own life, the Own Your Life Bible Study Guide has scripture, application questions and places to write down your ideas. But, hopefully those of you who want to read my blog will have an article or story and those of you who also listen to my podcasts will be able to listen to some of my perspectives about the chapter we discuss.
I am off to Dallas tomorrow morning early for the intensive training of 20 women from 11 countries, 8 languages. Because traveling and speaking, ministry trips, books and deadlines as well as blogs and podcasts are just a part of my life amidst my family, it automatically means everything and any new project takes me a long time to get going. But, the plans are to perfect this podcast arena, add bumper music, a photo of Kristen and I, and to maybe even have some new looks for my blog--but little by little, step by step. But, though I will not always have lots of time to comment or speak exactly to the issues, (I am traveling the next 3 weeks), I will try to have something up that will inspire or encourage you where you are. That is how we all make progress--baby steps one after the other! So thanks for your patience.
Many years ago, we lived in a home in Tennessee that was sitting on a hill with three gorgeous acres of land, planted with a variety of trees, fruit bushes, roses, and all sorts of other plants. However, the highlight of our year there was that the previous owners, who had built the home and cultivated the land for 15 years, had planted a couple of thousand daffodils all over the land. Our joy each spring was seeing an ocean of yellow everywhere we looked of the plants that would hail the beginning of spring--a new season, a season of growth, warmth after a long winter--and hope for the joy that would fill a new season. I think this memory is why Joy always loved to plant these lovely flowers.
Here is the story!
"We should plant daffodils!” Joy’s brown eyes were aglow and there was a dreamy excitement in her voice. With mugs of tea in hand, my youngest daughter and I were gazing out from the comfort of our living room on yet another thick March snowfall. Colorado winters can make one wonder if spring will ever come. That particular year we were beginning to wonder if we lived in C.S. Lewis’s literary land of Narnia, where it was “always winter but never Christmas.”
Daydreaming and planning our summer garden brought warmth to our gray day. Gardening in Colorado is an act of vision and intention. The good gardener must be able to envision the garden they desire, a difficult thing to imagine in the dead of winter! But if the gardener wants their little patch to bear fruit and be beautiful, she must have a plan.
The high altitude, clay soil, and unpredictable temperatures require a gardener to anticipate the needs of her garden with insight and care if she wants it to be fruitful. One must choose the right plants, fertilize the ground, and water each plant according to its need.
I believe our lives are much like gardening in Colorado—they require vision, planning, and faith.
It is no coincidence that the Bible speaks so often about life using the image or analogy of a garden or a field. Jesus taught the parable of the sower (Luke 8:4-15),
and Paul’s teaching reflected the same principle, “... for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7).
Just as with a garden, the legacy of our lives will be evidenced by what we sow, cultivate, and grow. And even by what we uproot and remove. In the realm of spiritual gardening, if you want your life to bear the marks of the kingdom of God, then you will need to tend it faithfully, and with faith.
We can choose not to tend to the garden of our life, but when a garden is not nurtured and cultivated, it can become fruitless and vulnerable. The legacy of your life will be evident through what you plan, plant, nurture, and tend. Gardens grown when they are cultivated. This Own Your Life Bible study guide and planner is intended to help you, as a faithful gardener, own your life—by reading and applying the Word of God in your heart, and by making a practical plan to live your life for God’s purposes.
Becoming a good gardener will involve three key components: vision, intentionality, and faith. If I want to see daffodils peak their cheerful heads out in April, I must preemptively plant bulbs in September. In the same way, if I want to live a life that leaves a legacy of God’s kingdom, I must be a visionary gardener, planting seeds that will become fruitful after years of faithfulness.
Just as there is a vast diversity of flowers, so each person’s vision for owning their life will be a little bit different, each involving different stories, strengths, challenges, relationships, and callings. Developing a vision for how you can own your own life involves praying and, evaluating your personality, your life puzzle (single or married, children, job, ministry, life circumstances), eternal goals and priorities, and then beginning to make a plan that is practical for your life.
Imagining with God what sort of legacy you could leave because of your commitments and decisions. Once you begin to have a vision for your life, you must develop a plan to sow, cultivate, and maintain seeds of righteousness.
As famous horticulturist L.H. Bailey wrote, “A garden requires patient labor and attention. Plants do not grow merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfill good intentions. They thrive because someone expended effort on them.”
Thanks to my wonderful Joy, I was able to have this planner. She worked diligently with me all summer and came up with much of the content with me for this book. This first story is out of the introduction to the study guide. So today, think about what the "garden" of your life looks like. Are you subduing your land? Clearing the weeds and rocks of sin, selfishness, drainers, --those things that keep you from growing? Are you planning what you want to cultivate in your life--character qualities, habits, skills long term so that slowly your will begin reflecting the intentional plans you want your life, (garden), to reflect? Growing a beautiful garden or growing an excellent life takes time, but without a long term plan, nothing will be beautified. Make plans this week for what you want your life to become long term. Be practical with long range and short range goals. (What is one character quality in which you want to grow the next 6 months? or one in which your children need to grow? How will you follow a plan to build this? Little by little, make steps forward--not all at once.)
Remember, God's desire is that you flourish in your life, and see fruit growing in all the areas of your life where you are planting, nurturing and growing.
For the podcast version and some personal comments from me, place your curser on the triangle below and press it to play.