Our pastor this weekend gave a message on it being "Time to Grow". The summer was our time of abiding, he said, and that it was now time to grow. (The scripture reference was "I am the vine and you are the branches. Whoever abides in me will bear much fruit, but apart from Me you can do nothing" That's a loose translation)
He said our lives need to be approached with intentionality, and that it was time to refocus our the areas where we need to improve and develop. Now, I completely agree that we need to live our lives intentionally, and one of my personal areas of focus is currently trying to identify those times when I'm letting my life slip by me while I'm making other plans (or zoning out in front of the TV, or mindlessly surfing the net...) and to refocus on the life before me. To pay attention, in other words. And I also believe in identifying areas of our lives where we need to cultivate change. Right now, one of those areas for me is being more disciplined in my writing...Not to say that the writing will always be cogent or worth the time it takes to read, but that the act of writing itself is good for my brain. It helps me to focus, and to be present in my own life. However, I took issue with being told that it was "Time to Grow." Surely growth is a natural outcome - something which occurs when the conditions are ripe, and cannot be forced to occur simply because of someone else's wishes or desires. It's like the story in Frog and Toad, where Toad tries to grow a garden, and every day goes out to the patch of dirt and shouts "Grow, seeds! Grow!" When they don't immediately shoot up, Frog tells him that he may have scared the seeds out of growing. I can't grow simply because I'm being told it's time. What I can do is make sure that I'm being nurtured - back to exploring what those things are that bring me life. That I'm being cared for, by myself and others. That I'm being challenged and inspired. Then, hopefully, growth will happen.