Episode 021 of the Cultivate Your Life Podcast was released on June 26th, 2019. Listen here!

Lara: Do you feel like you need some fresh air? Let’s go into the garden together. You know all those things you’ve always wanted to do? You should go do them, the things that last longer than you, the things that run deeper and are more thrilling than skydiving, the things that make you come alive. Welcome to the Cultivate Your Life podcast where each week we talk about how to uncover what matters to you in the big picture and start acting like it today. Whether you’re feeling stuck, overwhelmed, or in need of some refreshing truth today, I’m Lara and you are in the right place. Let’s cultivate what matters together.

Lara: There’s something happening in the garden. There’s something happening. These seeds are actually sprouting, and so we’re dancing. Oh, yeah, we’re dancing because are sprouting. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. We are. We’re literally dancing in the garden right now. Because for us, seeing little tiny green shoots pop up, it is cause for celebration. It is a special day when a new seed decides to press through that dirt toward the light and push on up. It’s really exciting because this to me looks like possibility. I just think, “Oh, they did it. They did the thing they were supposed to do.” And you know, I am looking out here, and there are some seeds that still have not come up yet, some that are still hiding in the ground waiting for their moment, waiting for their five minutes of fame, if you will, here out in the garden, but they will. In their time, they will make their appearance.

Lara: So, I’m seeing right now there’s some zinnias coming up. Oh, and over here there’s tomato seedlings. Oh, and these tiny, tiny, tiny ones, these are carrots. Carrots are just the cutest little seedlings. Oh, and then lots of flowers. I’ve got some strawflower over here, which I’ve never grown before. Really excited about that. Some amaranth, all kinds of things to make bouquets with for friends, or neighbors, or to put in our kitchen to bring a little bit of the outside in.

Lara: Then, there’s one thing that has really gotten off to a strong start, and that is our giant pumpkin. Our giant pumpkin, it is growing. It’s really exciting to see this tiny little carpet of green flicks popping up in what looked like a whole lot of nothing. Our last visit to the garden, I was looking out here after doing all that hard work, and it just looked like nothing was going to pop up, but it did.

Lara: Now, here’s the tricky part. The seeds, most of the seeds have sprouted. I’ve even got a little bit of corn that we’ve planted recently, and those tiny little shoots are coming up. But, then we get into this awkward stage where it feels like, okay, seeds have sprouted. That was exciting. Now what? Now can we just get to the full plant growth stage? This is where I really battled with impatience. And isn’t that so much like our lives? We finally start that thing. You take that first step on a goal or you take that first leap forward, and then you think, “Okay, I did it. I did the thing. And when is the progress going to happen now? Now what?”

Lara: I don’t like waiting. Do you like waiting? I don’t like waiting. But over the years, being out here in my garden, it has taught me that this is actually a gift. This restlessness that we are feeling in the wait after we start something new or as we’re waiting on something to happen, this waiting is actually a time of ripening. Because it’s easy for me to see a seed pop up out of the dark earth. It’s easy to see that. I can tell when it happens, right? You just see green. Okay, green is here. But when the seed comes up, it’s a little harder to notice the progress.

Lara: Have you felt that in your life, too? You feel like, “I know I’m making steps forward, but I’m not seeing the progress,” or, “It’s not happening the way I want it to. It’s not happening fast enough. Why does this have to feel like so much work and so much waiting?” I felt this way constantly with my faith. I felt at first when I really started to dig into the Bible and try to just figure out this complicated complex thing of faith, or what I felt was complicated and complex at the time, it just felt like, “Am I ever going to get there?” I feel like I don’t know enough. I don’t have a perfect track record with faith. I feel so far behind, and I’m taking these tiny steps forward of just opening my bible and even reading one verse or getting myself to church once or praying a prayer doing these single steps forward. This is how I felt back then. I just felt like I feel like I’m making steps forward, but it still doesn’t feel like I get it. Have you felt that way?

Lara: It actually reminds me a lot of the time I first looked at a packet of seeds and I thought … This is way before I planted anything ever by myself out here. And I thought, “I cannot plant seeds because what if they die? What if I water them too much? What if I don’t water them enough? What if I stick them in the ground and nothing happens?” I mean, it seems perhaps silly on the surface, but I really felt this battle in my heart, battle in my soul of I am not good enough, therefore I will not be able to do this. So you know what I did? I didn’t do it. I didn’t. I didn’t plant any seeds. I closed that seed packet right up, and I went to the garden store. I got some full-grown plants, and there ain’t no shame in that game. But, faith doesn’t have to be that complicated.

Lara: Maybe the Bible does it. Does it feel like it intimidates you? I felt that way. Ugh, I know that feeling. Maybe you have tried before and you felt totally overwhelmed. You are just not really sure where to start even. Where do you start? It’s a huge book. You’re worried that you’re not going to understand it because it’s so big, and maybe you’re afraid you’ll just quit after a few days. Been there. Been there. I know how you feel. You are not alone.

Lara: Thousands of women all over the world right now, just right now, right as you and I are sitting out here together in the garden, there are thousands of women who are feeling the exact same thing. But, do you know how I finally broke through that and how so many of you have done the same? I did one simple, powerful thing. I took out a piece of paper one day, and I opened up my Bible. I just chose a verse, and I wrote it out, like actually wrote out on my piece of paper the words of the Bible. I decided to start somewhere instead of believing the lie that I had to know it all or have perfect knowledge of God in order to have full possession of faith. I just started with one Bible verse, and that is a whole lot like the time I finally did open a seed packet and I decided to plant one seed.

Lara: I have chills right now. I mean, it’s real hot out here right now, but I have chills because I would not be standing here with you today out in this big old garden had I not just planted the one seed. And it’s the same thing with your faith. Your faith can grow a whole lot faster than you think, and it starts with small things.

Lara: I think of my dad who at the age of 77 did that one small thing. He called Ari on the phone, and he asked him a question about faith. I know my dad, he’s so sweet, but talking about vulnerable things is definitely not his strong suit. I’m sure he felt really awkward. But he trusts Ari, and so he called him up and he said, “Hey, I have a question about the Bible.” And several months later, my dad decided to give his whole life to God. And you know who baptized him? Ari. At 77 years old, 77 years old, he took probably the biggest leap of faith in his whole life and it all … It didn’t start with a big leap. It started with one tiny seed, and you can do the same. You can plant that next best seed right where you are. Because you can keep feeling like faith is too complicated and never crack that Bible open or you can open the pages of that Bible and find a flourishing life.

Lara: Can I pass the seed to you to try planting? Maybe you don’t know where to start, and I’m happy to oblige and do a little seed exchange with you right now. So here’s a starting step for you to try. Grab a scrap piece of paper, just any old paper. I know you’re like me probably and you’re going to want to try to find a perfect piece of paper and a perfect pen. Don’t. Just grab the back of an envelope. Go grab a random piece of paper anywhere. The most important thing is that you do this.

Lara: Grab a piece of paper. Open up your Bible. And if you don’t have a physical Bible, you can go and grab the freebible.com app on your phone or just look it up on the internet and find this verse. Just google this, Philippians 4:6-7, Philippians 4:6-7. All you’re going to do, this is so simple and so impactful, is write these words down. That’s it. You’re literally going to be writing the words of God. You’re ready for this? Here are the words. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Just saying it. That’s why writing the Word works, because you get the words of God. No fluff, just the straight up words of God into your head and your heart. So, write that out.

Lara: There’s power in handwriting. You and I have talked so much about this, and I just love knowing this life hack, if you will, that writing things down in your own messy handwriting forces your brain to start to internalize them. You know what that means? It means you start to do something about them. If you’ve been feeling anxious lately, feeling worried, those words, those are for you. Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything,” but write out the rest of that verse.

Lara: I think we need those words for our lives, don’t we? Maybe you need it right this second. Do not be anxious about the progress you have or haven’t made on your goals. Don’t be anxious about how fast your seeds are growing or how slow they appear to be growing. Do not be anxious about the laundry, or the dishes, or the things that have been left undone, or the things you can’t control. He’s got it. Write the Word to get into the Word with no fluff.

Lara: I have some really fun things that are coming for you, my friend, some really cool things on July 17th. Write this down on your calendar. On July 17th, get ready because we have been working for the last almost two years now on brand new additions of our best-selling and beloved Write the Word Bible journals. These really take all the work out of it for you. We’ve preselected scriptures for you to write out. They’re beautiful journals.

Lara: And if you want to see sneak peeks of the new ones … And let me just say you want to see sneak peeks of the new ones. There’s one volume in particular that you are going to be not at all surprised by the fact that I will be doing cartwheels when it comes out because it is going to be my very favorite volume, and I think it’s going to be yours, too. But if you want some sneak peeks, I want to give them to you. I want to send you some text messages with some photos, even, of the new journals that are coming. So, text cultivatefaith, just that whole phrase as one word, like cultivate faith smashed together. Text it to 55222. It’s kind of cool. So if you text cultivatefaith, all as one word, cultivate faith, to 55222, I get to send you text messages, and that’s fun. I want to send you all kinds of sneak peeks on those, and they will officially release on July 17th. But until then, you’ve got a really powerful verse to write down on your own scrap piece of paper. Just try it, and see how that sinks into your heart and the soil of your soul and grows good things.

Lara: I so love my time out here with you. This is really delightful. It’s always fun to have a friend out in the garden to enjoy it alongside me. I’m going to leave you with this. There is another version of the Bible, and it’s called the NGV. Have you heard of the NGV version of the Bible? I typically like to read the ESV, which is the English standard version. I think that’s what it stands for. I like to read the NIV version. But, there’s this other one that has been recently discovered called the NGV. It’s the new gardener’s version. There is an alternate version of that verse. So you and I read in Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Well, in the new gardener’s version, it says, “And the peas of God.” I’m making myself giggle. I hope that made you giggle, too. You need a good giggle now and then, right? Oh, friends. Until next time, step outside, smell the roses, and get your hands dirty.