My greatest desire is to see women flourish in every area of their lives including ministry. That’s a grand statement, so what does it mean? Do you know how to flourish? We can start by looking at the definition of flourish and learn about the 5 pillars to build in your life.
What does it mean to flourish?
To flourish (verb) means – “grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as the result of a particularly favorable environment.” Lexico
The noun means – a bold, or extravagant gesture; and, An instance of suddenly performing or developing in an impressively successful way. For our purposes, I am using this word as a verb. My goal for myself and others is to flourish in every part of life. Flourishing is a noun and a verb. It is a thing and it involves action and movement.
How to flourish – 5 pillars to build AND FLOURISH
Pillar 1 – Growth
We must continually grow, and, while we may stop growing physically, we never stop growing as a person and as a Christian. We grow in maturity, wisdom, knowledge of the Word and God, and in character. Second, is develop. To develop is to – Grow or cause to grow and become more mature, advanced, or elaborate. To stop growing is to stagnate and die. The Word gives clear direction about our mandate to continually be pressing forward, growing and flourishing in the Kingdom.
“So hear my final words, my friends. Now that I have warned you about what’s ahead, keep up your guard and don’t let unprincipled people pull you away from the sure ground of the truth with their lies and misunderstandings. Instead, grow in grace and in the true knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus, the Anointed, to whom be glory, now and until the coming of the new age. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18 The Voice
pillar 2 – Development
Development is the detail aspect of growth. When a city begins to grow, development takes place. Growth is the big picture. Development is the separate building blocks of growth. When we develop as humans, it means we take each area of our lives and we develop them according to God’s purpose in our lives. We decide to be better parents, better spouses, better at helping others, or any variety of individual areas of development. Spiritual development will pour over into every area of our lives.
“We pray that you would walk in the ways of true righteousness, pleasing God in every good thing you do. Then you’ll become fruit-bearing branches, yielding to his life, and maturing in the rich experience of knowing God in his fullness!” Colossians 1:10 TPT
Pillar 3 – Health
The next keyword is healthy. A city can grow but fail to do it in a healthy way. We can grow and develop but fail in the area of health. I have seen Christians who push, compare, strive, worry and pretend. While, they may appear to be growing and developing, inside, they are not healthy. At some point, their little development falls apart and they crash.
In 2002, I started a faith-based outreach to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. It grew and I hired people to work with me and we were helping many people. After two years, I also went to work for a County Prosecutor as a Victim Witness Coordinator. I was still running the outreach. I was on call 24/7 with no one to relieve me – responding for deaths, domestic violence, suicides, and more. I was the sole grant writer and fundraiser for both jobs.
For a time, my husband and I were still pastoring our church and I did all the office work for that. The stress and responsibility were huge. I was having trouble sleeping and was in a constant state of adrenaline rush.
Everything I was doing was good and I loved it. However, I was blind to what I was doing to myself. My husband started hinting that I needed to quit and I did not agree with him. I knew that, if I quit, everything would probably fall apart. However, I did finally quit.
Within about 2 months, I was at my Doctor asking what was wrong with me. I was falling apart. She told me that my body was used to the adrenaline I had provided it for the past 7 years and now, it was crashing. Mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually, I was a mess. I went on medication and did get better. The organization I founded merged with another larger one and goes on today. It didn’t fall apart – I did. It changed and so did I.
It was a lesson I will never forget. Now, I monitor my own stress levels and take steps to move away from things that might bring me back to that low point. I treasure peace. While I know what I did was God’s will and helped hundreds of women, I also know it could have been done much differently. But, I was driven by the good rather than the best.
People often grow and develop their business, but the health of the family suffers and the family aspect of their life dies. This means that when we grow and develop we need to do it in a well-rounded and inclusive way.
A Pastor may focus so much on ministry and church growth, that their children hate church because he seemed to love it far more than he loved them. That is not healthy growth. Even if the church grew in that time, it was not healthy growth because the job of a leader is to set an example.
Pillar 4 – Vigor
Growth and development must be done in a healthy and vigorous way. Vigorous means – strong, healthy, and full of energy. It is quite possible to grow and develop in ways that make us unhealthy, weak, and weary. Even the best intentions and most spiritual reasons for doing something can still end up being far from healthy or vigorous.Growth and development must be done in a healthy and vigorous way. Vigorous means – strong, healthy, and full of energy. It is quite possible to grow and develop in ways that make us unhealthy, weak, and weary. Click To Tweet
Vigor is related to health – it is physical strength and vitality, health, energy, and enthusiasm. By the time I finally quit that job, I had no vigor. I had done this to myself because I had not recognized that moment when I stopped operating in God’s strength and moved into my own.
That’s such an easy thing to do. We start out correctly, doing our task in His strength and everything is flourishing. We have enthusiasm. What does enthusiasm mean? It means:
- intense and eager enjoyment, interest, or approval.
- a thing that arouses feelings of intense and eager enjoyment.
- early 17th century (in enthusiasm (sense 2)): from French enthousiasme, or via late Latin from Greek enthousiasmos, from enthous ‘possessed by a god, inspired’ (based on theos ‘god’).
Be enthusiastic to serve the Lord, keeping your passion toward him boiling hot! Radiate with the glow of the Holy Spirit and let him fill you with excitement as you serve him. Romans 12:11 TPT
Enthusiasm doesn’t usually go away all at once. It slips away slowly and silently. At first, you just think you need a little more sleep. However, unless you change what you are doing or why you are doing it, it just continues to slip away. Enthusiasm is important and must be guarded and maintained. I realize we can’t be bubbling over every minute of every day. However, we can maintain an inner passion, and excitement for our purpose in life. And, we need to be aware when it starts to decline.
Enthusiasm is God’s breath in you, as you see from the definition. He breathes a vision or a goal into us. His life supports it. That is until we take over. When vigor disappears, it’s time to re-evaluate what you are doing and how you are doing it.
Pillar 5 – A Particularly Favorable Environment
The last part of flourish is the most important. Healthy and vigorous growth and development happens as the result of a particularly favorable environment. How do we find that particularly favorable environment? Of course, the kingdom of God is the best environment, but we also live in this world and it is definitely not always a favorable environment. In fact, most of the time, it is the exact opposite. How do find that particularly favorable environment here on earth?
We create it with God’s help. We make daily choices to create our own particularly favorable environment in the midst of a negative and disagreeable environment. It isn’t easy but it is possible. The ability to create this internal environment comes through faith, wisdom, and a clear view of God’s will for our lives.
“For this reason, beloved ones, be eager to confirm and validate that God has invited you to salvation and claimed you as his own. If you do these things, you will never stumble. As a result, the kingdom’s gates will open wide to you as God choreographs your triumphant entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Messiah.” 2 Peter 1:10-11 TPT
The Environment of God’s Will
Christians often talk about seeking God’s will for their life. Usually, this is in reference to a particular endeavor. Perhaps, they are considering a job change, moving, starting a new business, or leading a Bible Study. We definitely want to and need to be in God’s will. The problem is, we approach as if it is a mystery God is hiding from us and we have to strive and strive to figure it out.
“Trust in the Lord completely, and do not rely on your own opinions. With all your heart rely on him to guide you, and he will lead you in every decision you make. Become intimate with him in whatever you do, and he will lead you wherever you go.” Proverbs 3:5-6 TPT
That’s actually pretty simple. Trust God and do it completely – not with just one or two areas – everything, completely, and all. Don’t just rely on your own opinions. Put your heart in His hands. Make a decision and He will lead you. Be intimate with Him. Wherever you go, he will lead you. It’s not a mystery. God has clearly revealed His will to us. He is so big you can’t miss Him if you are really seeking Him. He even uses our mistakes and weaves them into His will for us!
“God’s will for you to be set apart for him in holiness and that you keep yourselves unpolluted from sexual defilement. Yes, each of you must guard your sexual purity with holiness and dignity, not yielding to lustful passions like those who don’t know God. Never take selfish advantage of a brother or sister in this matter, for we’ve already told you and solemnly warned you that the Lord is the avenger in all these things. For God’s call on our lives is not to a life of compromise and perversion but to a life surrounded in holiness. Therefore, whoever rejects this instruction isn’t rejecting human authority but God himself, who gives us his precious gift – His Spirit of holiness.” 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 TPT
There is part of God’s revealed will – sexual purity and living a life surrounded in holiness.Your response is, ‘I already knew that, but what is my ministry supposed to be? Where am I supposed to live?” Those are the questions we want answered. However, we need to obey the Word first.
“Make God the utmost delight and pleasure of your life, and he will provide for you what you desire the most. Give God the right to direct your life, and as you trust him along the way you’ll find he pulled it off perfectly!” Psalm 37:4-5 TPT
I’m not trying to be overly simplistic. Yes, we should pray about our decisions – moving, jobs, things we want to do or not do. Everything actually! What I am saying, is that God is not playing a game with us. He joyfully reveals Himself to us. We are the ones making it hard.
- What is your heart’s desire?
- What do you have peace and joy about when you are thinking and praying?
- What are the practical pros and cons of this decision?
- How will it affect those around you?
- Has God said, “No,” but you are asking again hoping to hear something different?
More Scriptures about God’s will for us:
- “Make sure no one returns evil for evil, but always pursue what is good as it affects one another in the church but also all people. Celebrate always, pray constantly, and give thanks to God no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. (This is God’s will for all of you in Jesus the Anointed.)” 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18 The Voice
- “You see, it is God’s will, that by doing what is right and good you should hush the gabbing ignorance of the foolish.” 1 Peter 2:15 The Voice
The Environment of Faith and Wisdom
Does God care what house you live in or what job you work at? Yes, He does. He cares about how many hairs are on your head and has counted them. I may sound like I’m contradicting myself, but, we absolutely need to pray about those decisions. However, we are not to be paralyzed in fear if we don’t have a clear, definitive word from God. He wants us to combine our faith with wisdom. James tells us that in order to obtain wisdom, all we have to do is ask!
“And if anyone longs to be wise, ask God for wisdom and he will give it! He won’t see your lack of wisdom as an opportunity to scold you over your failures but he will overwhelm your failures with his generous grace.” James 1:5 TPT
The Environment of Faith and Trust
A healthy environment of faith is one in which we trust that, as we take steps, He will direct our steps. It is an environment of easy trust, and open faith. It exists when we recognize that He is so big, powerful, and loving that, if we truly want to do His will, He will make sure it happens.
Sometimes, we make a decision and then it seems to go badly. We instantly think it was our fault and we didn’t hear God’s will correctly. That really may not be the case. Perhaps, in order to get you to point R on the map of life, you needed to go through point Q! Rather than viewing it as a mistake, take it to God and open your heart to learn and grow from even the most negative situation. Stop assuming you made a wrong decision and trust God to lead and take care of you.
With that in mind, you can relax. When I trust something or someone, I relax. I’m not all tense, nervous, and looking over my shoulder. When we trust God, we can relax. His will is for us to pray, seek Him, listen to Him, and obey the Word. Do that and relax! God wants you to grow and develop in a healthy way as a result of a particularly favorable environment. Faith, wisdom, and trust in a big, big loving God is that favorable environment.
You Are Meant to Flourish
So what does it mean to flourish and how can you do it? You already know what flourish means and you know it is God’s will for you. You have the 5 Pillars – Growth, Development, Health, Vigor, and Environment. Does God want you to flourish? His Word says He does:
But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted to the Lord’s own house. They flourish in the courts of our God. Psalm 92:12-13 NLT
“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8 NLT
Again, this is God’s will for you – to flourish as you remain in His house and plant yourself by His river of life. As you go through life making decisions, changes, growing, and serving, His will is for you to flourish. Now that you have the 5 Pillars – flourish as a woman, a minister, a wife, a mother, a worker, a friend, and a servant of God. CLICK HERE for the free download for this blog.
**We use verses from different Bible translations.
To see more information about the copyright for each one, please visit our Scripture Citations.
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