Ecclesiastes 3:1-9there is a time for everything,and a season for every activity under the heavens:a time to be born and a time to die,a time to plant and a time to uproot,a time to kill and a time to heal,a time to tear down and a time to build,a time to weep and a time to laugh,a time to mourn and a time to dance,a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,a time to search and a time to give up,a time to keep and a time to throw away,a time to tear and a time to mend,a time to be silent and a time to speak,a time to love and a time to hate,a time for war and a time for peace.
Now is the time to cultivate.
The past weekend, I decided to mop in a washroom and cry in self-pity. I put my feelings above God’s truth. I had been too stubborn to go to church on Sunday the night before and so the week started off rough. I felt so distant from God, so forlorn and heavy.
I remember waking up in the middle of the night on Monday, thinking about the ingredients I had to buy for making gnocchi for Nights on the Roof, the emails I would have to send later on in the day, what I was going to bring for lunch… it was all these small, insignificant worries that started to build up in my head. I started having these irrational fears about making mistakes and this made me think that my anxiety was coming back.
I read John 15, about the Vine and the Branches, a metaphor for our relationship with Christ and how helpless we are when we are not connected to the source. It was so easy to forget that no fruit can be born on my independent branch. There was no source of water or nutrients to grow. My orphan spirit thought that I had to do everything on my own. I couldn’t trust my friends to be there for me when I needed them, let alone God.
I remember being so tired by Thursday that I canceled two of my plans. It was just too much to handle. I sat down at the chair in the club office and read Ephesians 6:10-20. The passage speaks about putting on the armor of God. I realized then that the reason why I was feeling so tired, so discouraged and heavy was because I hadn’t been wearing God’s armor, I had turned my back against the only thing that could save me and the enemy was rejoicing at my weakness. I turned against God because I was in pain, but what I didn’t realize at the moment was that it made me vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks.
A friend recently shared a book/devotional/study with me called Cultivate, by Lara Casey. This came at the perfect time and I had decided in my heart that I needed to restructure my life. Before this week, there were signs that things were starting to go haywire. I had filled my week up back to back with commitments that I couldn’t follow through on. I was becoming someone who I didn’t like; being flakey with relationships, putting in mediocre effort in my work, focusing on the gaining pace rather than being present… there were just so many things running through my mind that it was difficult to slow down.
So this weekend I sat down and dreamed. I dreamed with God. I wrote down what I wanted to cultivate in myself, which spiritual fruits I wanted to grow in my garden and how I could go about nurturing them.
That was the easy part, but what is to follow will require patience, work, and endurance. I have already seen testing, and there is only more to come, but cultivation requires breaking things down, loosening them up, digging deep and sowing seeds. It’s hard work, but God will make the Sun shine and bring the rains. I have to obey and the harvest will eventually come.