Flounder or Flourish?
Imagine a life where you are flourishing. What does it look like? Are you simply surviving, or are you thriving? What is happening in your flourishing world? What is nourishing you?
While we’re being honest, I haven’t exactly felt like I’m flourishing lately. In the wake of my husband’s homegoing last fall (he’s in heaven with Jesus now), I’ve felt loss, pain, confusion, and fatigue. A fog has clouded my thoughts and feelings. It feels more like floundering than flourishing. And yet….
I’m learning flourishing is something we can find, even when circumstances don’t seem “particularly favorable.” We can see in scripture that God designed us to flourish. And his ways nourish flourishing.
“They delight in doing everything God wants them to, and day and night are always meditating on his laws and thinking about ways to follow him more closely. They are like trees along a riverbank bearing luscious fruit each season without fail. Their leaves shall never wither, and all they do shall prosper. — Psalm 1:2-3 (TLB)
This psalm gives me so much hope.
To be compared to a tree along a riverbank, where the water is plentiful and the soil is rich. To know that when I nourish myself with God’s ways and in his word, I too can prosper. By just delighting in doing his will, I can produce beautiful fruit – in season. It’s my choice, and yours, to nurture our souls with God’s ways, and to think about ways to follow him more closely.
Where are you planted right now? Does the soil of your days feel well-hydrated, or dry? Are you thirsty or satisfied?
I’m remembering sitting with my colleagues Mary and Eunice in Virginia last year. It was a strategic planning meeting where we reflected on ways the Institute was experiencing healthy growth and where our resources could best produce fruit in the coming season. The three of us asked: What really matters here? What is our most important work? This is it. You flourishing.
My deep desire is for you to flourish, and to help those around you flourish. I have an abounding hope for the Institute for Cultural Communicators (and whatever other Christian circles you call home) to be communities that nourish you toward real flourishing.
It’s in the life-giving community of the Institute that I have found the nourishment I have really needed this year. Loving reminders to root myself back in the Giver of Life so that my branches can flourish. I am grateful we are an enlarging community that deeply cares about the flourishing of others.
Flourishing is desirable and contagious. When people come into contact with one of these communities that nurture flourishing, they want that in their own lives. They see us continually free to be the best versions of ourselves. And they crave that, too.
I’d like to wrap up with a blessing for anyone who desires flourishing, but it feels a bit out of reach.
A Blessing for Those Who Are Floundering
On behalf of those who feel they are floundering,
Whether because of situations of their own making,
Or as a result of circumstances of this world…
For my sister who is parched, feeling dried up, with nothing left to give,
Drench her in your living water until she blossoms in full bloom and rich color.
For my brother who is thirsty and nothing seems to satisfy,
Draw him to reflect on your ways that satiate the soul and hydrate the heart.
For mothers and fathers who feel they are floundering in new seasons of life,
And who, for all their efforts, still encounter rejection and discouragement,
Pour out your love like fresh spring rain that resurrects life that has been dormant.
For our children who want to be more grown up than they are, reaching for independence, and yet we watch them floundering too,
Surround them with your loving reminders that they do not have to do life alone, that you are with them and you love them and they are valuable and they matter to you. That they are loved by so many you have placed in their lives. Help them begin to see what flourishing looks like in their own lives.
For my friend who believes there is simply no time for meditation and reflection, or
rest and renewal, who feels she has so many burdens to carry,
Refresh her soul even now.
Call her name tenderly. Remind her you care about what she cares about.
And that you want her not only to survive, but to thrive.