Living in Full Bloom: it’s a process

Recently my good friend gave me a floral mug. And inside along the rim it says “live in full bloom”. These words could mean something different to different people, but to me it says:

Sharaya, work diligently, with God, to become awake to who God is and to who he is in your life and to who he made you to be. Trust him, seek him, abide in him, listen to him, love him. Be in tune with his spirit and rid yourself of spiritual barriers in your walk with him.

There is so much more to unpack from my interpretation, but I want to focus on the work diligently and rid yourself of spiritual barriers piece. God has been pressing on my heart that the process to becoming fully bloomed is to repent and receive God’s grace. And not just once in awhile, but all the time.


I encourage you to read John 8:1-11. The eleven verses are life-changing.

The passage speaks about a woman caught in adultery. The Religious Teachers of the Law brought her before Jesus with ill intent… and then the plan was to stone the woman. Jesus said “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” No one cast a stone. Jesus, in fact, was the only person who had the right to. But he didn’t. Instead he told the women that she was not condemned, and to go and sin no more.

G R A C E

Upon

G R A C E

Upon

G R A C E

The passage is short, but it’s a must read.

And it is not only a must read, but it MUST be taken to heart.

And it MUST be understood on a soul level.


With keeping the goal of living in full bloom in mind, let me share with you a few things that God has put on my heart through this passage.

  1. Sin is serious. Repentance is serious. Grace is serious.
  2. We need to recognize that God is pruning us.
  3. Let’s get excited!

1a. Sin is serious. This woman was not only caught doing a sin that was deemed worthy of death in those days, but she was brought before the feet of Jesus.

Holy and righteous Jesus.

Jesus…the Son of God.

Jesus…the one man on earth who never sinned.

Jesus…the Messiah.

Jesus…the One who had the right to condemn her.

I think she probably felt dirty and ashamed in his sight. And I’m sure she was scared. This was probably the heaviest moment in her life. I don’t know what she thought of her sinful human nature [like ours] before this moment, but regardless, her sin probably felt the realist it had ever felt to her before…because death as a result of her sin was beckoning.

In our GO GO GO, achieve achieve achieve, DO DO DO world, have we become numb to the sin in our lives? I definitely have.

I have always been a follower of Jesus. But too often I’ve wondered why connecting with him can be so hard. He has indeed felt distant in seasons of my life. And it has become evident recently as to why: because of the unrepentant sin in my heart.


1b. Repentance is serious. Unrepentant sin = distance.

It makes sense, doesn’t it? As believers, our eternity with Him is sealed. God calls us Sons and Daughters. But that doesn’t mean that sin isn’t serious and that it has no affect on our relationship with Him.

My challenge to us: let’s slow down and remember that sin is heavy. Every sin. Not just specific sins…

…because we are all the same distance from the cross.

So heavy, that it actually makes us worthy of life apart from God because He is holy and cannot be in the sight sin. He just can’t. It is impossible.

That’s why Jesus’ sacrifice is so important. When Jesus hung on the cross, he felt the spiritual weight of every sin committed by every person who has lived, who is living now, and who will live…and the wrath of God AND separation from God as he did…so that we wouldn’t have to. He took our place.

Without Jesus, God’s gift of GRACE would not exist. And without grace, there would be no hope for living with him in heaven soon. Which makes living life bleak and pointless.

This earth we’re living on is just a brief moment compared to eternity – either with God or apart from God.

Jesus paid the death penalty [life apart from God] that you and I both deserve. He paid it in FULL. He paid it because he loves us, his children, too much. His heart is to never be apart from us. He rescued us and intends to restore us to living forever with Love Himself, exempt from sin, which was his original design.

And his redemptive plan calls for us to accept his gift of grace, to repent for our sin, and to align our hearts with His. He gives us the freedom to choose because he yearns for us to love him back and to demonstrate that we trust him.

When we don’t repent, our hearts harden towards God. Walls go up. Weeds take root. The enemy has more of a hold on us. Sin separates us from God, and God’s grace and forgiveness is the only way to foster the life-giving relationship with Him that our souls desire and need.

So, just like the woman probably felt the weight of her sin in that moment, let’s ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the unrepentant sin in our hearts and to help us feel the weight of it.

And then let’s repent.

Let’s get right with God again.

We were created to live an abundant life with God. We weren’t meant to live with dry spots. My previous post, A Garden Analogy, talks more on this point.

After repenting and receiving God’s forgiveness and grace, the next step is to confess and receive encouragement from a trusted community.

James 5:16 says: Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

This might feel terrifying. But I promise, if you choose your community wisely, it’s freeing. Sooo freeing. I also encourage you to seek accountability from these people as well. Invite God into the conversation and he will do a might work.


1c. Grace is serious. When Jesus told the woman that she wasn’t condemned by Him and to go and sin no more, I cannot begin to imagine how the woman felt. I am assuming she had never been shown real grace before. She most likely didn’t know what it was until she heard Jesus’ words. She thought she was moments away from a grueling death…but it didn’t happen.

Jesus showed her GRACE…a foreshadowing of what he would do later that would change the course of history forever.

We need to remember that Jesus’ demonstration of grace in this story is no different from the grace he offers each of us today.

My encouragement to us: Let’s intentionally ask God to help us understand on a soul level how serious and beautiful grace is. Instead of repenting with haste, let’s take our time with it. Let’s allow it to be a process. Let’s ask God to help us feel the weight of grace…instead of feeling the weight of shame. Let’s choose a posture of reverence and awe and gratitude towards our Saviour.

Isaiah 43:20-21 “…I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.”

I’ve heard it said that g r a c e [water in the wilderness] means that all of our mistakes now serve a purpose instead of serving shame. God is a redemptive God. He WILL continue to redeem our stories, which means that he will bring beauty from the ashes in ways that we cannot imagine. Let’s trust him.


2. God prunes those who love him. If you read John 15, you will see that God is the Vinedresser, Jesus is the Vine, and we are the branches.

Jesus connects us to God. As we repent and pursue a relationship with Jesus, God prunes our branches so that we can live a fruitful life. And he throws away the branches that hinder us from bearing fruit. The ultimate goal is to become like Jesus…to mirror his character and to reflect his image. The Bible explains it to be the Fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-26 says:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”

The pruning process is how God shapes us, molds us, and refines us. And he uses each difficult, confusing, mundane, hurtful, or joyous conversation, situation, transition, moment, and season to do it. He doesn’t let anything go to waste. He is not a forgetful God. He is a redemptive and abundant and compassionate God.


3. Let’s get excited. When the walls come down and our hearts become soft towards God, he will have more room to work in our lives and through our lives. My prayer is that God would align my heart with his. I desperately want to be in tune with his spirit. He has so much available to us when we surrender…such as his presence, blessing, protection, wisdom, good gifts, his voice… just go read the book of Ephesians!

It is a glorious design.

I encourage you to dig and discover this in the Word and in your prayer and listening time with God.

And what is the ultimate exciting news, is that we will be pruned to completion the day Jesus returns. What a beautiful day that will be.

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” -Philippians 1:6

Friends, there is so much more to say…but I’m going to simply end with this:

Our Heavenly Father desires our full attention. He wants all of you and me. He wants to be part of our processing, our conversations with people, our grieving, our questioning, our self-care time, our work time, our school routine, our family time, our transit time, our meal time, the moments that are fun and the moments that are draining…all of it.

We need to include him, seek him, ask him to let us encounter him… If we need encouragement, let’s tell him that. If we feel lonely or anxious, let’s tell him that too. If we need wisdom, let’s ask. If we feel overwhelmed with discouragement and shame, give that to him.

Let’s repent, accept his gift of grace, and receive his unconditional love for us.

Let’s live in full bloom.

Friend…

You are loved.

You are chosen.

You are seen.

You are treasured.

You are blessed.


Peace and joy to you,

-Sharaya

Lord, please help us gear our hearts towards you. Help us see the sin in our hearts and may it become bitter to us moving forward. Show us how to repent and may we feel cleansed every time. Thank you for your grace, Father. And thank you that you desire to see us live in full bloom. Give us perseverance, courage, wisdom, and excitement as we continue on, hand in hand, with you.

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