I recently met with a woman for spiritual direction. As we sat together, considering her life and the situation she brought to our time, it was apparent that she was in a drought. Personally, relationally, spiritually, vocationally--life was dry and unyielding.
It didn't take long for me to recall vivid images of the literal drought that surrounds me in my own location. Indiana, like most Midwestern states, has experienced a serious crisis of rain-less-ness. The leaves on the trees are wilted and drooping; large limbs have fallen to the ground; shrubs and grass are brown and crisp.
I "saw" as I listened to this woman's story the roots of a plant, forced by sheer necessity to penetrate the soil, hungrily bearing down in search of moisture in the ground water for the sake of survival. I saw in this image a picture of this woman's "growing edge."
A growing edge is the place in our life where we are being pressed to deepen and develop. It might be from a drought of some kind or a new experience that requires larger capacity. It can come from experiencing "too much" or "too little" of something and having to adapt, narrow or expand. Whatever it is in life that applies the pressure, it often doesn't feel good. But rest assured, it can be God's invitation to grow our roots deeper into him--into the soil of our true-self-in-Christ.
For me, as I maneuver this new terrain of life in the city and begin this new ministry called Sustainable Faith Indy, I am aware of a growing edge. It's one that has surprised me. The growing edge for me has been an increase in opportunities. I am getting several requests each week to host, to offer spiritual direction, to lead retreats, to meet with folks interested in The School of Spiritual Direction.
It's been exciting, surprising and an invitation to grow. The growth for me is in learning what to say yes and no to. Learning what is for me and what isn't; what is beyond my capacity and what is within my capacity; to learn balance.
As we seek to discover our growing edge, at first glance it can feel more like a place of pressure, drought, or overwhelmed-ness. But don't be fooled. It can also be fertile soil and the very place where God is inviting us to grow our roots, expand our capacity or clarify our focus.
So, where is your growing edge right now? Where is life exerting pressure to deepen and develop? Remember that it can often be in the very place that feels most dry or hard or overwhelming. A place you'd prefer to be transplanted from rather than remain. However, it just might be fertile soil--your growing edge.