What is a teachable spirit?

“Come to Me with a teachable spirit, eager to be changed. A close walk with Me is a life of continual newness. Do not cling to old ways as you step into the new year. Instead seek may face with an open mind, knowing that your journey with me involves being transformed by the renewing of your mind.”- Sarah Young, Jesus Calling.

This is the excerpt from my daily devotional for today January 1st.  Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, is one of my favorite devotional books because it offers daily reminders to be attentive to God’s presence in every aspect of my life.

The reading today seemed especially poignant, as I spent time reflecting on the changes I’d like to see in 2013.  I had already decided to approach my goals and resolutions from a holistic perspective, being attentive to body, mind and spirit. But this devotional has reinforced for me the importance of giving time and attention to the spiritual aspect of my well-being.

If we truly want to invite change into our lives we need to be willing to let go of our old ways and make room for the new. As we trust God and submit to His good and perfect plan, we give him the freedom to transform our lives.

“Come to me with a teachable spirit, eager to be changed.”

A teachable spirit is one that is willing to let go, listen, love, trust, obey and be renewed by God’s Spirit. This happens when we spend time in His presence.

A teachable spirit must be nurtured on a daily basis. This will look different for each of us. For me I like to set aside quiet time each morning to sit in the presence of God.  Whether it be with devotional readings, contemplative prayer or just sitting in silence, it all starts by taking the time to sit in the chair.

So there it is, my first resolution for 2013. Creating space each morning to come before God with a teachable spirit, eager to be changed.

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Life Lessons from the Garden

Let’s consider for a moment the pesky dandelion. Reviled by many as an insistent, bothersome weed, it nevertheless continues to proudly display its pert, bright yellow self in lawns and gardens everywhere thriving in the face of adversity. Thriving in the face of adversity.

 Where, in our own lives, do we face adversity? How do we carry ourselves through it: head down, beating ourselves up, feeling defensive and resentful? Or head up and face open, like the dandelion, sure of our intrinsic worthiness, knowing our gifts to the world, even if the world doesn’t necessarily recognize them?

For those who know how to look and wait, the garden teems with other such life lessons. As summer awakens this year, turn your awareness to the wise teachings of your garden. If you don’t have a conventional garden, a container garden on your porch or potted plants in your home still offer valuable lessons. Here are a few:

It’s OK to be imperfect. Trying to grow the perfect rose, or the perfect cabbage, is an exhausting, never-ending quest for flawlessness. “Imperfect” roses are still beautiful and “imperfect” cabbages still burst with flavor, just like we humans. With our myriad imperfections, we still contribute our own beauty and zest to the world.

Pruning improves growth. Removing old habits that don’t serve us opens new possibilities for growth in areas that do serve us.

Pay more attention to your health than your appearance. As author William Longgood wrote, “Over fertilized plants may be beautiful but are otherwise useless, like people whose energies are devoted so completely to their appearance that there is no other development.”

Regular maintenance is important. Isn’t it so much harder to clear an overgrown jungle of a garden than to regularly pull encroaching weeds? Think of the clutter that can accumulate in our houses, the extra pounds that are harder to lose than to keep off in the first place, the overwhelm or illness that can result from too little self-care.

Have faith. Plant a seed, water it, and trust that it will grow. Similarly, believe that the shifts you make in your life, the dreams you hold dear, will fully blossom if you nourish and protect them.

Don’t be afraid to try new approaches. The garden is an incredible laboratory for experimentation. What new approaches do those old problems in your life need? Trial and error is one of life’s best teachers. Not trying is the domain of hopelessness.

Take care with predators. It doesn’t take long for predators to damage the result of your careful cultivation, in the garden and in life. What toxic relationships, substances and emotions are feeding on your energy and taking away from what you have to give to others? Eliminate them.

Transform your trash. The compost heap turns rotting plant waste into a treasure pile of rich, organic fertilizer. What negative patterns in your life can you work to transform? When we do the hard work of breaking these patterns down, the results are often rich and beneficial to our lives.

Everyone is unique and needed. Everything in nature has a function that is interdependent. As famous naturalist John Muir said, “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” Rock, plant, bird, bee—even bacteria in the soil—all occupy a vital place in life. What is your purpose, your gift to the world? Who do you depend on; who depends on you?

Something important happens every day. Take the time to notice the little everyday miracles in your gardens and in your life.

“Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” Psalm 31:24

 

Author’s content used under license, © 2008 Claire Communications

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