Last week we talked about God's pruning and how it can be painful but it is also necessary for us to produce fruit. This week we are going to expand a little on that and discuss how God uses the people around us as fertilizer to help us spring up and grow. Yes, this has an opposite too and the enemy can try to deceive us by placing people in our lives that can poison our fruit and we have to be continually in God's word to know and recognize the difference.
This Week's Scripture Focus: Isaiah 43:18-19.
"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland."
Many times we get stuck in a rut. We think that just because things have always been this way that they will always continue this way. Because of this we sometimes don't recognize that God is trying to make a way for us in another direction or trying to guide us to change. We are not our past, and just because things have been the same for a long time doesn't mean they cannot change. Our past doesn't define who we are now or who we will be in the future. It's important for us to recognize that who we believe we are can sometime be clouded by the experiences we've had but it doesn't necessarily mean our beliefs are true.
When I first started my business, I never really believed I would ever have the size and scale of business I have now. I had no business background, I was 17 years old and knew no one would take me seriously. I was broke and had no money to even think about building the kind of facility I would need to train high level gymnasts and the only coaching background I had was helping my friends in high school cheer learn how to tumble. Granted, all these beliefs were true at the time, but 10 years later, when I was going to banks to get financing to expand and grow my business that had up to this point done well and grown more and more each year, I still believed all these things about myself. The difference was that now they were no longer true. I had 10 years of experience, I was no longer a child and I had the ability to get my hands on the cash to scale my business. However, I still believed all the former things to be true about who I was. Why? Because the enemy decided that even though I had outgrown those truths, he was going to work hard to push me in the direction that would hold me back from my true potential. This meant constantly whispering those lies in my ear so that I would believe them. That could've been the end of my story, but God had a different plan to bring about "streams in the wastelands."
God, in his infinite wisdom and love sent me people who he used as fertilizer to help me grow and spring up new beliefs in myself and who I was. He strategically placed people in my life who encouraged me to push towards my dreams and some who even helped me financially move forward so that I could grow my belief in myself and my abilities. He used the circle of people around me to help me grow, and he removed those that were acting as poison in my growth. I've seen God do this not only in my life, but in the lives of my friends and family too. He recently removed a significant person out of my husband's life that had been poisoning his growth for nearly 20 years. It was horribly painful, but God knew how important it was to put new people in to his life so that he could produce the kind of fruit God wanted. He also kept the people that are growing with him, and they are fertilizing each other as they travel the path in this "wilderness."
The people we surround ourselves with is so much more impactful on our growth than many of us realize, and God tells us this in this passage, but he also reminds us that who we were in the past does not define who we are now. Just as I wasn't the inexperienced business owner anymore, you are no longer the person you started out being either. Learning to create a new mindset and believe you are more than the story of your past is hard, but God promises he is doing new things in your life and we have to believe and "perceive" it so that we can see the path he is creating for us in our own wilderness. So many times in my life I have allowed myself to believe things that may have been true at one time but have since, changed. God has always sent me people at just the right time to help me change my thoughts and beliefs to bring about growth in my mind and spirit. He wants us to produce the kind of fruit that move us toward the path he has cleared for us in this overgrown wilderness we call life. How incredible is it that God knows exactly who and what we need to change our beliefs so that we can produce a full crop of fruit to serve the world around us?
1. Make a list in your journal of the lies that you believe about yourself that have come from your past experiences.
2. Who are the people in your life that are fertilizing you and helping you grow?
3. Are there any people or things in your life that you feel might be toxic and holding you back in your growth?
4. Pray and thank God for the people you have who are helping you grow and ask God to help you recognize and remove those people and things in your life that are hindering your growth.
Until next time, keep striving to become the woman of God you were created to be.