Working toward a goal is a lot like gardening a plant from a seed to a tree. Here are some tips on how to nurture your dreams into the fruit you desire.
Folks, I have a confession. I’m frustrated! I’m out here busting my rump, paying the cost to be the boss, but I sure don’t always feel like one. I promised myself this year that I would invest more energy in my passions. I’m a visionary, and I see my life in long-term goals and bigger pictures, but man, getting there is a climb. Dave Thomas once said, “the harder you work, the more luck you have.” Some days I think by now I should be rolling straight 7’s!!! LOL!
However, for all the stress I am enduring at this present time, I keep going because I recognize that this is an INVESTMENT. Dreams are like the stocks and bonds of the soul. We catch on to an idea and recognize its value, so we invest our most precious resources, not knowing exactly how or when they will hit big. The return is not always immediate. As a matter of fact, sometimes the return is cyclical. Sometimes things will peak in the market for awhile, and then there will be a valley of loss. But tide most often turns for those who invest wisely and are willing and able to stick with it over the long haul.
Sowing the Seed
This past Sunday, my pastor preached a sermon on the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:1-23). This parable speaks of a sower who sowed seeds that fell in various place. Some fell by the wayside, on rocky ground, among the thorns, and on good soil. The first few of these were unsuitable for growth, but the last area was ripe for production. The parable refers to the word of the kingdom, but it also reminds me of the investment of purpose of people. Much like the sower planted seeds, the Lord plants wonderful treasures in the hearts of His people, but we must be careful to guard these things. Your dreams, your vision – your destiny- must carefully and wisely be sown into ground that is designed to yield a good harvest.
In my life I have seen the three unsuitable soils in this parable manifest themselves in very poignant ways:
- The Wayside – When I envision this, I see a person throwing seeds and letting them fall where they may. In life, this looks like lack of focus and misdirected energy. It is easy to dismantle a structure that has a shaky foundation. I can recall times when I didn’t truly understand what I was doing, and I was easily discouraged and tossed to and fro. I even gave up on some goals I probably should have pushed for. Also, I have found myself deflated at times when I could see the vision and other people could not. We must be strategic and focused in our sowing so that it doesn’t end up in places where it is vulnerable to be destroyed or rendered ineffective.
- Rocky Ground– What kind of cheerleader leaves the game if their team is losing at half-time?!! These are fairweather friends and unreliable resources. These people may get immediately excited about what you have going on, but as soon as the road gets rocky, they hit the bricks. When things get challenging and you face unfavorable situations, you need an environment where your seed can really take root. You need people you can trust to be your stability in unstable circumstances.
- Thorny Places – It’s unfortunate, but there are people and circumstances designed simply to choke your seed. They welcome you with open arms to sow into their ground, but at the end of the day, their sole purpose is to stop you from fulfilling yours.
And then there’s good soil. These are the people, environments, and experiences that support and sustain your growth. Just as you sow into them, they supply the nutrients you need to get to the next level and thrive once you have fully bloomed. And guess what? Remember, those valleys we talked about earlier? If the soil is good, the roots will remain! Even if you have a bad growing season in your life, your business, or your relationships, your vision can live to grow another day!
Tips for Gardening Your Goals
Here are some tips for getting through the process of bringing your vision to fruition:
- Take time to find good ground. I know you’re excited about your latest project or that business idea, but understand that not everyone is meant to grow with you and every place isn’t conducive to your purpose. Be diligent about finding good ground, but don’t be in a hurry to share and latch onto everything and everyone offering you a plot. Remember, even roses have thorns.
- Nurture and protect the soil. Once you have sown your seed, you must tend to it regularly. Not only do you need to do the work to ensure your dream matures into a reality, you must also be watchful for “weeds” that come to rob your seed of much-needed support. As my great-aunt would say, you’ve gotta nip them in the bud.
- Be willing to wait it out. When a seed is planted, does it immediately spring a full bounty of fruit? Well, of course not! That seed grows in stages, from sapling to a full grown tree. And that takes TIME. If you’ve sown in the right place, trust God that your labor will yield a good harvest in due time. Also, know that some crops don’t bear fruit every year. Don’t be discouraged by barren seasons. If you are well-rooted, don’t be quick to uproot – your harvest will come back around.
- Don’t hoard the harvest! – Enjoy the fruits of your labor. In the gardening world, if you don’t harvest often enough, the plan will stop producing. If and WHEN you are blessed with an abundance, take some for yourself and pass it on.
At the end of the day, we all have greatness inside us, but it is up to us to protect that which we have been entrusted with. We focus so much energy on stewarding our tangible gains, that we often forget to steward the seeds that produce that prosperity. Whether your goal is to start a new career, maintain relationships, or just to grow as a person, shoot your shot and sow your seed! Just be wise in where you plant, vigilant in guarding it, and have faith that what you put in will yield an abundant return.
What’s your goal-gardening story? Share with us below!