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Are You Thriving or Just Surviving?

Written by Lizby Warren

I love propagating new plants. This year I became frustrated with my large Dracena. It was growing in a crazy fashion and possessed a bizarre shape. So I took 5 baby cuttings to propagate and pruned the mum back to a smallish stump. And then I sat back expectantly to watch their next step.

1 month... nothing. Then after about 6 weeks tiny shoots pushed out and, over the last 4 months, I have witnessed an abundance of fresh baby growth! Shiny, perfect leaves with not a blemish in sight. Being a self confessed plant nerd, I am super excited about the journey together of shaping and growing. I confess to reading up on a plant species so I feel empowered to handle them effectively. I want them to thrive and not just survive!

So I settle into the routine of regular watering, extra feeding, pruning the fast growth, cutting out dead stuff, repositioning so they get the best light and helping them fight disease. You cannot afford to take your eyes off plants (except those cacti who just survive no matter what!). They need regular inspecting, or else two weeks goes by and WHAM- your plant has been fighting something in its environment or crying out for the watering can.

You can own a plant that is just barely alive or a plant that is thriving and a centrepiece 

I love a home filled with plants not just because of their fabulous green display and ability to create both ambiance and cleaner air,  but because they are my constant reminder that life needs nurturing. How you position yourself in life is vital. Plants shout out to me that everything starts with a seed that will thrive if it is given the correct attention and if the roots soak up the right nutrients. 

Our lives in Christ look remarkably similar. God takes hold of your life that has been messed up, struggling to grow effectively, poorly shaped by the world's expectations and values and He cuts out all the disease, waters you with His Holy Spirit, and gives you His Word to feed on. He reveals to you where your personal roots have been tapping into unhealthy soil. He commits Himself to fight on your behalf against your enemies and He positions you In Christ: the most beautiful and secure position you and I will ever know. 

Our discipleship lies in not just allowing, but pursuing God to reshape us. With plants- you need to direct their energy or else they will grow too high, too wide, too weird. To give them the best shape, you need to prune them in line with where you want their energy to be focused. Just like us. The principles of nature reflect in humanity.  Psalm 1 describes a person who does not position themselves in unhealthy places but digs into God's Word with a passion. 

 They are like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers. Psalm 1:3 

We need to allow Him to prune the dead stuff SO we have greater power and freedom to flourish and take the shape of Christ. We can grow too high for our shape with pride, too weird because of wrong patterns of thinking, too wide because we are trying to achieve too much and run too hard. 

Our energy needs to be directed into our discipleship, so we grow strong and healthy in prayer, in God's word and in community. That is how we blossom into the trees we were planted to be. Not trees that are just barely spiritually alive- but that are thriving. Where others stop and see the beauty and fragrance of you which directly points to the loving hand of the Gardener to whom you belong.  

 But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8