Striving to Thrive

What does a mountain climber, a butterfly and a seed have in common? I’ll give you a second…
Each of these had to struggle to get to their intended ending. The mountain climber had push themselves to get to the summit. They had to keep moving onward and upward. The insect had to push its way through the chrysalis to be able to open newly formed wings for flight. The seed had to push up from the dark dirt to grow towards the warm sunshine in order to flourish. They all had to PUSH. Push through or past some barrier.
A few years ago my husband and I decided to stop off at a trail near the coast. This was a new thing for us as we tend to just drive straight to the beach, seriously, who wants to hike to the beach? So we pulled off the main road and took a quick look at the posted map and started on our way. It started off just fine, we chatted and pointed out things here and there. But then the bugs started darting in and out of the weeds. And we ran out of interesting things to look at; dirt trail, weeds, stickers…truth be told I was over it after the first mile. Did I mention it was getting hot? It didn’t help that we had no idea where exactly we’d end up, but we kept walking. Then we saw it, a bench! A rest spot. Hallelujah!

After sitting for a few minutes I’m sure our conversation went something like this:

Me- “Maybe we should just go back to the car?”

Bryan- “No I’m sure we’re getting close to the end.”

Me- “But I’m thirsty.”

I think I have a bottle of water in the car.

Bryan- “We’ll get something on the road.”

Me- “I’m hot.”

The car has air conditioning.

Bryan- “Me too but we’re almost there.”

Me-dirty look & eye roll
Bryan- “C’mon let’s finish.”

And we did. We walked for eternity, okay maybe not eternity but it felt like it. Then the weeds and dirt began to disappear, the smell of salt water filled the air and the crash of waves could be heard. We found ourselves standing on cliffs overlooking the beautiful California coast. The push was worth it. If Bryan had just given into my complaints and we had turned around and walked back to the car we would have missed this sight. Our perspective would have been of the ocean from eye level, not the view from up above. We could see for miles! It was breathtaking.

How often do we start down a path and turn around when it gets a little bit hot or we get thirsty for what we know is safe and comfortable. Guilty! I have always been a dreamer with big plans and ideas. However, my problem comes when I have to put rubber to the dirt trail, if you will. I get scared that my plan will fail, or rather I will be a failure. Think about the butterfly, what if she just thought of how many things she could get eaten by. What if she decided to just stay wrapped up in her nice cozy chrysalis? She would never serve her purpose, she would die. This is us so often. We start to look beyond ourselves, to think about great possibilities, to get excited about a new adventure. And then life happens. A set back, fear creeps in. Then it becomes all too easy to give up, to turn around and go back to what we know.

  • make great efforts to achieve or obtain something
  • struggle or fight vigorously
  • grow or develop well or vigorously
  • prosper; flourish
It takes striving to thrive. To push past the difficult, the frustration, the unknown. Paul talks in Philippians about how he has not arrived at the goal but he encourages us by saying that he is “

Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” To push and even at times strain towards God’s calling on our lives. For some, I’ve just lost ya. You’re thinking, ‘great now I have to be a (insert your nightmare calling here)’!

God’s direction for our lives is as individual as our fingerprint. While you read the beginning of this blog you probably already had something in mind that you need to get into gear. Maybe it’s a business venture, an exercise regimen, a relationship to mend or yes, even a ministry opportunity in your local church. We so often stop on the dirt path and go back into the weeds never knowing what beauty lies ahead!

Thriving often means striving, don’t quit yet!