What does it mean to cultivate something? Merriam Webster’s dictionary says “to devote time and thought to in order to improve or develop by careful attention, training, or study.” We cultivate many things. We cultivate herbs and flowers to grow in soil. We cultivate attitudes in our hearts. We cultivate learning, tastes, children, marriage, and friendships.
Each year I choose a word to focus on for that year. I write it down, meditate on it, pray over it, and try to incorporate it into my daily life. Last year my word was peace. I didn’t know how much I would need that word as a way to center and ground myself. God placed the perfect word on my heart. As I began to pray and meditate over this year’s word an image rose in my mind. An image of a tender plant in the soil. I began to think about growth, determination, and the newness of fresh beginnings. As I started to think on these things another image rose to mind; it was the image of a gardener lovingly tending to that plant. The plant would not have gotten there on its own. It might not have survived the harsh sun or the ripping winds without the careful attention of the gardener, the one cultivating it to grow.
There are areas in my life that I want to cultivate. I can’t just leave them to chance and hope good will come simply because I tossed out a seed. I need to water, feed, and tear away the weeds that want to choke my progress. There are four areas that I want to cultivate in 2022.
I want to cultivate my relationship with God
I want to cultivate my relationship with God. I can to tend to this relationship daily by studying Scripture, communicating with God through prayer and meditation, and following His command to love others the way He does. I have goals to read a set number of spiritual growth books, devotionals, and in-depth Bible book studies. I want to increase my prayer time and meditation. These are tools I can use to cultivate this relationship with Him.
I want to cultivate a thirst for learning
This year I have set several learning goals for myself. I want to cultivate my thirst for learning by reading a set number of books each month, taking some classes in my areas of interest to learn a new skill, and by practicing the skills I do have to improve on them. There is always something new to learn. I don’t ever want to stop learning. The past year has been so hectic that I haven’t been able to focus specifically on learning. I want to continue to cultivate my desire to learn new information, new skills, and new viewpoints.
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.”— Henry Ford
I want to cultivate a habit of self-care
I want to cultivate a good habit of self-care. I’m really bad at self-care, especially the necessary care items like drinking water and sleeping. I want to start cultivating a habit of taking care of myself so I can live a long, happy, healthy life. This means setting up cues to remember to drink an appropriate amount of water, setting a specific bedtime, and getting back into my weekly workouts. I’ve enlisted accountability partners, set phone reminders, written checklists, and set up visual cues to help me cultivate this habit. (The book Atomic Habits by James Clear is a must read for anyone struggling to make good habits and keep them.)
These three areas are the main ones I want to focus on this year. There are many other positive areas I can cultivate in my life, but by focusing of specific areas I can fine tune them without getting overwhelmed. What are some things you’d like to cultivate in 2022?I’d love to hear from you!