I just recently returned from a visit to some of the most beautiful parts of the country that I’ve ever seen. During this time I was able to be up close and personal with God’s creation in a way that was incredibly rejuvenating to my spirit. I know I’m not the first one to ever realize this but it’s so easy to forget: that so often our souls are exhausted by the things that we do. The people that we help, the ways that we give of ourselves to others, and even the things that we require of ourselves. Most often, these things are required. It’s not like we can say no to them. But they exhaust nonetheless. It’s so important to take the time to fill up before you can start pouring out into others.
I demand more of myself than others demand of me. I feel like I’m invincible and that I need to do so many things. Even despite so many health difficulties that I faced in the last few years, I still don’t have the ability to take it easy, give myself the grace that I need, and rest as often as I need it. The one thing that I always have to remind myself is that I’m not here to save the world. It is not my burden to bear alone. I’m not here to solve the problems that people face. I don’t have the capacity to do these things. But I know that I’ve been given a small piece of the greater puzzle. And this small piece is Cultivate International.
I often wonder if Cultivate is going to be big. Or stay small. I dream that it will be big. But regardless of what happens with Cultivate, at the end it’s not important how big Cultivate is, what is important is what I do with it today. All of the partners that Cultivate is working with are people who have big hearts, people who have big dreams for their community and the world. Just like me, they are people who bear the weight of the world on their own shoulders. I hear their pain and frustration. They experience so much hurt and injustice and feel compelled to do something. Especially when you’ve seen firsthand poverty, marginalization, and injustice, it’s hard to walk away from it. Most of us in the western world have little to no understanding of this kind of burden. But so often with these partners and others that I have worked with, this burden can become overwhelming.
Part of my job with Cultivate is to help these partners understand that they need to rest. That they need to fill their souls so that they are able to pour into the lives of others. As the initial cohort of 8 partners work through the first phase of Cultivate, they will be encouraged to rest and rejuvenate, and be given resources and tools to help them do that. We help them understand that it’s not the scale of the kind of work that we do that matters, but rather it’s how well we do the things that we are called to do today, with the resources that we have. It’s not in our power to determine what the future holds for our projects and our dreams. We are just responsible for how well we handle the things that have been given to us today. It’s a hard lesson to really truly live out. But I hope that I and Cultivate’s partners will take this to heart and really live it out.
-Elaine, Executive Director