Cultivating and Tending

One of the things I learned while Bradley and I were in Financial Peace University, is that our need for instant gratification can be harmful financially.  For example, my generation is obsessed with having a Pinterest perfect home right out the gate.  We spend too much on our first home, because we want a mini-mansion.  Then, we spend even more to perfectly furnish every single room.  We want the satisfaction of an insta-home to the detriment of our bank accounts and our sanity.  We fixate on how other homes look and scramble to achieve that same image without understanding that such status can take years of work and patience to appropriately achieve.  But we scramble onward, nonetheless.

Lara makes the argument that we do the same thing in other areas of our life.  We are frustrated or disheartened over small progress even though those steps add up over time.  Worse yet, we abandon progress all together because it doesn’t happen as quickly as we want it to.

She writes about her experience with adoption.  She had one daughter biologically but, after difficulty conceiving a second child, they decided to adopt.  Right around the time a birth mother chose them to raise her daughter – wouldn’t you know – Lara found out she was pregnant!  She ended up having two infants at the same time, in addition to her first born.  And they struggled.  She wasn’t sure how to balance everything at once – going from a family of 3 to 5 in such a short period of time, balancing the needs of two infants while also running a business, feeling the weight of comparison between what she could do and what she felt she should do, and attempting to love her adopted child in the same way she loved her biological children.  I cried a little while reading this part of the book, because I could imagine how heavy my heart would be if I felt tugged in a million directions without any sense of accomplishment.  (To be fair, I cry all the time.  Cute puppies in a commercial?  Crying.  Dogs cuddle together?  Sobbing.  Disney movie?  Basket case.  I have no qualms about crying.)

Sometimes, we must tend to what we have as best we can.  We are not in a season of growth or harvest.  We are simply keeping the things we have already planted alive.  I think we have all been there.  We reach a point in our lives where it feels like things are falling apart.  Those moments require us to carefully tend to our gardens, not to abandon them, and to find comfort in the smallest victories.

There was a time in my life when small victories wouldn’t do.  Honestly, I don’t feel that way anymore.  Maybe that is the blessing of starting something that you are excited about.  The first time I was able to salvage a “bad” picture with a little editing, I was thrilled.  The first time I set my camera’s manual settings and took a picture that wasn’t over exposed or a black box, I was giddy.  And the first time someone asked me for a copy of a picture I had taken, I was pumped.  I am soaking up every simple step forward.  But I realize that the progress won’t always feel so quick paced or rewarding.  There will come a time when my resolve will be tested.  I hope I remember to tend when the time comes.

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