I know I have been talking quite a bit lately about this book I am reading, Sifted, but it is just so good! There are so many nuggets to grab hold of and chew on. This morning as I was standing in the shower, I had a thought cross my mind about fear and risk and whether or not I am holding back on following the Lord’s call because of being afraid to step out and take a risk. And then I read this next section of the book.

The soil was three parts shale and one part loam, so in order to plant a garden, we rigged up a four-by-eight sifting frame with a wire screen to sift dirt. We positioned the frame at an angle and threw shovelful after shovelful of dirt through the screen. The topsoil fell through the mesh, and the larger rocks and unusable clods of dirt stayed on top of the mesh to be discarded…

…the topsoil that it separated was a deep, beautiful brown, and the garden vegetables planted in this new soil grew to giant sizes…growth happens best in sifted soil.

Do you want your patience to grow? That area of your life will be sifted. Want your finances to grow? That area of your life will be sifted. How about your people skills? That area of your life will be sifted. But what about your marriage, your family relationships? Do you want those to grow? Remember, nothing grows well until the soil has been sifted.

Often our unstated, default goal in life is our leisure, but God’s clear goal is likeness. He wants us to become like Christ. When we slumber, God shakes us to awaken our dozing faith. He has no trouble disturbing our comfortable equilibrium when we make stability our aim rather than growth…

We grow because we are willing to change — to risk what we have — rather than settling for the status quo. In life, we won’t get what we desire. We will receive what we settle for. So what have you settled for in your marriage? What have you settled for in your family? Have you settled for a marriage that is average? Have you assented to one that is acceptable rather than exceptional?

Yikes! What things have I gotten in life because of settling instead of risking? That is a tough question to ask, and even tougher to truthfully answer.

When we choose the easy route, it isn’t necessarily the best one. When we just let things happen instead of going after what we have been called to go after, we are settling for less than God’s best for us.

What blessings have we missed out on by sticking with the status quo?

What growth has been stunted by avoiding the needed sifting?

These are not questions that are answered in a moment, but rather questions that are asked and answered while in prayer and conversation with the Lord, which takes time and a listening heart.

I’m listening, Lord.