Why growing is not the same as getting bigger….

The garden is a place for me to relax and the place where I enjoy the visible phases of growth. ‘Everything that is healthy grows’, this is a well-known management saying. Just like: ‘everything you pay attention to grows’. Growth is often uncomfortable, out of your comfort zone. You let go of the familiar, longing for more. Each season brings its own growth process. I recognize a part of my own growth process in every season. The garden is currently full of young plants and the trees are green again. What a wonderful season! A welcome reminder in my own growth process, in which I do not see the growth I would like to see. Impatient with my own growth process, do you recognize that? This week I was watering the garden and I thought about this text. Isaiah 58:11

“The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever flowing spring.”

Speaking metaphor
You will be like a well wateredgarden . What touches me personally in this passage is God’s promise that He will guide us. Not 1 or 2 moments in our lives, He guides me constantly. Even on the days when I don’t see my own growth happening as quickly as I would like. On every day of my life He is involved and wants to guide me and you. He gives water when we are dry and restores our strength. We will resemble a garden with plenty of water. I think that is such a beautiful, striking metaphor.

Not too little water
I can totally see it. A garden with too little water becomes dry and arid. Not only the plants break and die, but also the roots. If it remains dry, no new life will emerge, growth will stop. That hit very close to home for me when we struggled with illness and suffering in our family. My relationship with God dried up. I became discouraged and exhausted from crying out to God. My plea seemed unanswered. I wanted so badly for the suffering to stop. I kept struggling, searching, shouting. As a result, I lost sight of God’s love. In my wrestling I was so busy that I no longer took time to receive. To let His love fill and comfort my heart. I was allowed to discover that again.

Not too much water
God is love. His love is the rain over our lives, over our personal growth. Without Love nothing grows. A garden with too much water, where there is constant water in the ground, is a garden in which no growth takes place. The plants are green, it seems healthy. Only the roots do not go into the ground, the plant maintains itself but does not grow bigger than it is. The chance that the roots will rot is even very high. The plants sustain damage and are not intended to withstand the storms that come. God never gives too much rain, He knows what is good and healthy for us. His love is endless and in His love He cares for us. He wants us to be firmly rooted in His love. So that we remain strong in the storm.

Plenty of water
A garden with sufficient water . A garden where rain falls, a garden where roots grow stronger and plants grow. A place in which you take time to receive God’s love, in which you remain firm and grow. Whatever the season in your life. A place where you are challenged to strengthen your roots. Do you recognize yourself in that? In a garden with sufficient water? I want to continue to challenge myself, but also you, to keep looking at our own lives, at our hearts as a garden. What steps do I take, are you taking to grow further?

Investing in personal growth
I also see the same process at Royal Mission. We are on the move, a club that is growing! In 10 years, from 3 people in an office at Martin and Karin’s home, to hundreds of volunteers and staff throughout the Netherlands and 2 beautiful offices. In the preparations for the anniversary, we look back on the past years. What growth has taken place! Not simply growth as an organization, but especially personal growth. Growth in people. God is so good.

What’s in it for you?
Maybe you are looking for a place to get started with your personal growth? A training, course or inspiration day can help you to continue to take steps and grow. Perhaps there is something for you in our wide range. For your leadership in your company or organization, or in your personal growth as a disciple, or in your ministry as a child and youth worker. Take stock for yourself. What do you want to grow in?

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