The closest I come to taking care of plants is changing the water in a vase of flowers I have on my nightstand. I have never been a gardener a day in my life. One of my best friends loves her plants and tends to each one with unwavering care. On social media, she posts updates of each of her plants’ growth and blooms, as well as setbacks.
Recently, I have come to the realization that growth is not something that simply falls into anyone’s lap. Growth is hard work and is something that is fought for. Looking back on my time in college, I fought relentlessly to grow and evolve into someone who I wanted to be, not someone who I was told to be. It was not until I noticed that some people around me did not have the same drive—or only had the motivation to grow up to a certain point—that I accepted growth being something that is fought for, both with others and within ourselves.
Growth is not something that simply falls into anyone’s lap.
Growth requires looking into myself and digging into all aspects of who I am and the why behind those things. Then, it requires me to take action on how I want to live going forward. Growth requires looking at what I am learning from the people directly around me and assessing what I want to hold onto and let go of. Growth requires looking outside of myself, to the world around me, and learning from the diverse cultures and people who make up society.
It was not until I actively chose to go to counseling and read books about emotional health that I learned how I am wired. I learned to use my story as a catalyst for stepping into the world. By talking to and learning from people who live out faith differently, reading books outside of my comfort level, listening to podcasts of people from vastly different places and diversifying my social media feeds, I grew widely and deeply. This led me to look at the world as a whole and the people in it in a completely new way.
Similar to how my friend takes responsibility for tending to her plants, we are in charge of caring for and tending to our own growth. We will see areas of our life where we are blooming with growth, sometimes so much we cannot take it all in. Other times, we may face setbacks and circumstances or people who attempt to hinder our growth. Yet, we must not let up, lest we live in the confinements that others have set for us.
We are in charge of caring for and tending to our own growth.
I am not a gardener, but I am someone who fiercely fights for her own personal growth and tends to that growth when it comes into bloom. Growth is hard, uncomfortable and, oftentimes, inconvenient. The ways you are changing may not always be accepted by everyone around you. Yet, how boring would it be if we all thought the same way and were only surrounded by people who thought exactly as we did?
Whether or not we grow is up to each of us. It takes strength to know yourself and walk in authenticity. It takes strength to stand on your own at times. It takes strength to stand with people who are different from us. It takes strength to choose to grow and to never let up in the fight for more growth.