Like many people, I started gardening in the summer of 2020. Before the global pandemic, I didn’t have a single houseplant. In an effort to exert some level of control over my life and to remain peaceful, positive, and productive while doing much of nothing, I chose to start a container garden. Container gardening is a fun and easy way to start gardening. You don’t need a lot of space and you can infuse your personal style to decorate your outdoor living area. Since my personality tends to lean more towards difficult things, I decided to start my garden from seeds rather than buy established plants from the nursery.

I live in zone 6B where the last frost is later in the spring so if you want a good summer crop, you better start your seeds indoors. The seeding process begins by buying your seed packets. The picture on the front of the package shows you exactly what you are going to get from the seeds— tomatoes, cucumbers, hot peppers, etc.  What was not shown on the package was the way I would grow from these seeds. 

Gardening and Faith

Faith is the confidence in what we hope for and the assurance about what we do not see. That’s Hebrews 11:1 in the Holy Bible. It is by our faith that we come to know and accept God’s love and sovereignty. While most of us struggle to accept God’s powerful love and certainly struggle with the concept of His sovereignty because we tend to want control, there are things around us that continue to affirm both. Nothing has illustrated this with more clarity and power than my new gardening adventures. I planted the seeds and had to wait for them to grow, trusting that what was on the package would be the final crop. That’s faith! It’s the illustration of my relationship with Jesus.

Two days after planting my tomato seeds, I woke up to a stringy green thing in the pot. I got nervous and asked my online friends what I had done wrong.  With great emoji enthusiasm they congratulated me on sprouting a tomato plant. YAY! I was so excited. Every morning I ran down to my garden room to see what else had grown. Each day there was a little something to welcome me. Then after about a week, the growth slowed. My pepper seeds had not sprouted at all. As it turns out, they take longer by nature. They also prefer a different environment than my tomatoes and herbs, but I had treated all the seeds the same way. Hence the first lesson of many from my garden…

Know What It Takes to Grow

After reading about the various seeds that I planted, I learned the specific requirements needed for each to produce growth. In order to make positive change in your life, you’ll first need to understand how that change occurs. If you are trying to develop wealth, you’ll likely need to start with financial literacy. If you are trying to lose weight, you’ll benefit from knowing what healthy lifestyle best suits your individual needs. My container garden became a real success once I took the time to learn about the specific needs of each plant. Your personal growth will develop from a unique set of circumstances that work for you. Discover those needs.

Create an Environment for Growth

Like my experience with the jalapeno peppers, it is not enough to simply desire growth. If you want to develop personal growth in an area of your life, you need to establish the correct environment for it. If you are trying to be more positive, you should limit your interaction with negative messages. If you want to be sober, choose people and places that will help you achieve that goal. Once you determine what you need to grow, you’ll need to create the environment that will deliver.

Know What Growth Looks Like

As mentioned above, seeds packets come with a picture of the crop on the front. Otherwise, you would never be able to predict the final product. It is important for you to know what personal growth looks like for you, so that you can identify the “weeds” that don’t belong.  Establish your growth goal. Determine what specific behaviors you want to embrace and “weed out” anything that grows near that. If you want to be more positive avoid negative self-talk, and especially speaking negatively of others. Don’t post or repost things that a have negative tone—even if they ring  true to your current self, the one you’re trying to change. Identify the things, people, and behaviors in your life that grow counter to your growth goal and pull them from your life.

The single positive choice to start a container garden from seeds has produced much more than delicious herbs, fruits and veggies. It wasn’t the easy choice. It wasn’t the obvious choice. It was the choice that aligned most with my goal to remain positive, productive and peaceful during this moment in our lives.