Flourish is the second heart, following on from last weeks Seeded Heart. Flourish is a depiction of a healthy heart. It is nourished, thriving, beautiful, brave, vibrant, and full of life that streams of living water pour out of.
As this artwork developed the choices of plants were mostly intentional. The white lily is often present in old Biblical artworks, linked with stories from the book of Luke 12:22-32 and Matthew 6:25-34 where Jesus is instructing us about our needs and that God knows all that we do need. “See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these…Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” The blossoms represent new life growing as spring awakens from winter to reveal new life. The snow drops were growing in my garden at the time I started this artwork. The daffodil is in memory of a friend losing their battle with cancer. And the grapevine depicts the bible narrative from John 15:1-4 where Jesus shares; “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” Here the branch is pruned and flourishing.
I’d like to think my heart looks like this. Full of abundance and overflowing with living water. I love that Jesus loves me wherever I am at and this abundance is his plan for my heart too. I’ve also come to realise desiring something without action doesn’t make things happen. I need to make choices too and put action to my growing faith.
It then begs the question. What am I doing to feed the faith planted in my heart so it can look like more this heart. As I reflect on the last few years of my input habits and times of growth, change and strengthening, I can recognise the times I navigated life’s stuff better than the times when I have struggled with the day to day stuff. It’s been something I realised through testing it out by immersing myself in scripture, books and podcasts and comparing this with times with little to none of these input devises. The way I navigated through life and how I coped with everyday stresses in both cases is almost like the differences between a beautiful 28 °C Melbourne day, with a slight coastal breeze, birds chirping with gentle sounds of life happening; to a dulled stormy darkened sky with intermittent pelting rain that silences the songs of birds and the stillness in my soul. I now choose not to test this, but quickly know if I have neglected these times of connecting with God. Intentional connection has to be a priority. The battle is real and I feel it when I am not covered. A work in progress nonetheless.
Life can be busy, full of stress, and distress if our focus is only on the to-do list. Those things we need to do and the have to do and how these get in the way of all the things we want to do. When asked how we are, how often is our response, “busy”!? There will always be things to do. We can’t change this, but what can change is how we respond to them. We can see everything as too hard, or a burden, and getting in the way of the things we’d prefer to be doing or we can learn to see them as opportunities of worship with God, no matter how mundane they may seem. I think this makes times when we can do those special things even sweeter!
This last year has been especially sweet in how the everyday stuff hasn’t weighted me down and it’s because my focus has been more intentional rather than sporadic. Again there are times this gets sidelined, but I also recognise this much quicker and generally before everything goes pear shaped. It’s like I forgot to put on my armour that day. Also another artwork for another time.
I won’t be asking what fills your heart, because that makes it sound like it runs out. But I will ask, what feeds your heart and nourishes it so that the spring of living water within is constantly flowing out. It flows out in our actions and responses to our everyday people, in our everyday stuff, and it’s not just on show when we’re in the “right” place around the “right” people. When we choose to feed our faith, nourish it and nurture it regularly, being proactive, looking after our hearts so they are always overflowing, our everyday stuff will be times of worship too. Yep, even doing those dishes.