I’ve had a sense for this new year regarding 'the weight of what we carry'. The Holy Spirit has spoken to me through an image of a Sunflower and an Oak tree. This season, I sense God wanting to more firmly root us, because of the weight of what we carry. I sense Him saying there is an imminent need of the strengthening of your core, to better hold and support the gifts God has given you and the ways in which he wants to use them.
Like a sunflower, with its thick tall stem carrying the weight of their head, I sense God asking us to first acknowledge the gifts he's given us, and then practically use this year to nurture, carry, and grow them to the best of our ability with Him. We're being given an opportunity to remind ourselves, what we carry, and learn how to best steward those gifts and dreams, to bring the most glory to God.
An oak tree needs to be firmly rooted, with a thick, dense, immovable trunk, in order to spread out its branches further, higher and wider. I’m reminded of Isaiah 54, ‘Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left...’ I think the image of the oak tree is the second stage. Firmly rooted, heads held high, stems and trunks gathering strength, God is asking us to grow, to stretch, to reach wider, and to cover a larger surface area, with the gifts and dreams He has given us.
- Set aside some time to write down the gifts, passions and dreams God has given you (if you find it hard, ask someone, or pretend you're talking about someone else!)
- Find someone you trust to share them with. Accountability can often feel like a discipline, but getting friends, mentors etc. to not just know who you are, but gently check up on you, and cheer you on, isn't just encouraging, but means there is less room and reason for fear, self-doubt, procrastination, and even laziness (no judgement!).
- Listen to own capacity, and stretch it just a little day by day. Find practical ways to include the nurturing, growing, and strengthening of your gifts and dreams, in your everyday life. I've found that trying to do at least one creative thing every day, is gently shaping me, growing my confidence in creativity, and my desire to see it be a life changing tool in the healing and restoration of people.
Father, help us to make decisions with your wisdom that best, hold, support, nurture, protect and grow what we carry. Give us the courage to enlarge our borders, the ability to stretch out our tent pegs, to stand tall and strong in full knowledge of the gifts you have given us, and the wisdom to steward them well. Form in us, obedient, humble, honest hearts, hungry to see your kingdom come and your will be done in our own personal lives, and the lives of others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.