I'm in a weird season right now. I guess you could call it a season of waiting or a time where I am constantly entering into every quiet time ready to write, "What now?" all over the page. I handed in my book to my editor right before June 1. In my mind, I blocked off the entire summer for rewrites. My editor emailed me back to let me know she would be sending rewrites my way around July 24. So suddenly I have space. Suddenly my mind can breathe. This should be great news. But instead, I panic. I wonder what to do with all this time on my hands. I worry. I fizzle away the time with lies of "not doing enough" dancing in my head.
Enter Cultivate- the new book written by my dear friend Lara Casey.
Lara is a powerhouse. There is no better way to describe this woman who so easily embodies grace and grit. I look up to Lara because she loves God fiercely, puts her family first, creates things the world needs and is just a light to so many people. Lara and I met several years ago at a conference we were both speaking at. At the time, we were both in the thick of writing books: I was just finishing my first book and Lara was just about to deep-dive into hers. We formed a solid friendship rooted deep in encouragement and love. I've loved watching Lara release her first book and am so proud to say her new baby book releases in bookstores today!
The new book arrived in my mailbox two weeks ago. I didn't wait to get started- I immediately began digging in. My heart is stirred by the content in the pages. This is a book about the waiting. This is a book about letting God change you so that the fruit can come. "Every decision we make points us in one direction or the other. The things we set our focus on can give us life or suck it out of us," Lara writes (pg. 35). "We can waste our time, talents, energy, and resources, or we can ask God to help us cultivate. When we choose the latter, we open up space for His good fruit to grow."
In its most basic synopsis, Cultivate is a book about embracing imperfect, grace-filled progress to grow a life of joy. It's about silencing the inner critic, the voice in your brain that rattles on with grand gestures of procrastination, comparison, and worries so something better could grow.
What I love most about the book are the consistent garden references. If you guys remember, I tried to become a gardener in Spring of 2015. It did not go very well.
And while I have yet to do anything but figure out how to kill plants, Lara understands the secret to real and lasting growth (both in life & gardening): the best things in life don't happen overnight. They require commitment, tending, tilling, weeding, and the ability to let go of the need for perfect results.
I made a decision a long time ago to never put anything on this little blog of mine that I didn't think could help or build my readers up. I promise you, this is a book worth devouring. I am looking forward to rereading and digging deeper into the pages in the month to come.
WHAT I'M HIGHLIGHTING::
- Pay Attention to God's Voice: "We try to grow things with unattainable perfection as our goal-- and our guide. We let what everyone else thinks be our compass and measure of success." (pg. 65)
- Prepare Your Soil: "If it matters to you, you'll cultivate it. But here's the rub: it has to matter to you. Real change comes from deep below the surface where action is first ignited." (pg. 89).
- Tending in the Thick of It: "Transformation is often painful. The refining of our soils is hard, but it's necessary in order to grow. God had been trying to break me. Break my need to keep it all together (pg. 142).
In Lara's book, she lists a bunch of areas where we usually invest our time and hearts: friends, family, money, career, spiritual life, health, environment, recreation, romance. She challenges her readers to circle the areas where they feel like something needs to change, something better needs to grow!
I want to hear from you today! In the comments section, let's talk about what area listed above needs the most changing for you? Let's talk & encourage one another!