Thrive is a word I have heard a lot recently, and it got me thinking, what does it really mean? Is it something we can do in any circumstance of our lives, or is it limited to when things are going well? Can we do it alone, or do we need to be part of a thriving community? Maybe it means lifting up those around us who are suffering, simply reaching out and taking notice. Maybe it’s a choice that we all have to make for ourselves. For me, I think the word thrive becomes almost synonymous with the word belong.
The Webster dictionary defines thrive as “to grow and develop well, to flourish and prosper”. What a beautiful picture those words paint in my mind. They apply to so many aspects of this world we live in, from tiny seedlings planted and watered with care, to newborn babies growing and developing, to families and communities all over the world, working to make their lives better. But what does it take for these things to prosper? If you plant a seedling and never water it, if you have a baby and don’t care for her, could you expect those things to thrive?
Well, we all know you couldn’t! To thrive takes work. It takes effort and energy. It cannot be done alone. It requires us to give something of ourselves, to care for others and to also let them care for us. It is an investment of love and hope into the lives of those around us; it’s building up, encouraging and speaking truth to the ones who need it most. And it’s recognising that we’re all in this together. It’s a sense of belonging, a knowing that we are not alone. Most importantly, it’s never giving up.
It can feel like an impossible task to thrive during the difficult circumstances in our lives. Sharing our pain is one the hardest things to do, yet we can’t possibly get through it alone. But for me, when I’m sad I feel like a burden to others. It is always the times when I’m at my lowest that everyone else seems to have it all together. But to truly thrive, we have to be honest with each other. No more saying “I’m fine”, when we’re not! The truth is, none of us have it all together, and probably never will. We need to trust each other enough to share what’s on our hearts, and trust that God will guide us to people in our lives who can help us through.
When you’ve been hurt, it can be so impossibly hard to learn to trust again. But I believe God will put the right people on our path, at the right time. It is a painful lesson when friends or family let us down, but also a reminder that He is the only one who never will. I’m still learning that to thrive in difficult situations is to let people in. Even though my heart may be fragile and I’m afraid of being hurt, real healing starts when we go out and find others who are hurting, and be a blessing to them. Helping someone else to thrive is the greatest gift you can give.
So all those beautiful words we read before; grow and develop, flourish and prosper, what do they conjure up in your mind? I think of the wonderful people that God has used to light my way so far, and the many more I probably haven’t even met yet! I think of friends, old and new, who have taught me many things during the different seasons of my life. And I think of the ones walking beside me right now, helping me flourish and proper, pushing me to thrive every day. How wonderfully blessed I am to have had you all.
Ps. 92:12: The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree.