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Thriving and Surviving

Written by Alicia Wingfield, LCSW
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For flowers and plants to survive, they must have the right temperatures, light, water, air, nutrients, and time to grow. But what does it take for a garden to thrive? Better Homes and Gardens names regular weeding, banishing insects, and disposing of dead, dying, or diseased vegetation as just a few of the tasks that will result in more abundant and beautiful foliage, flowers, and produce.

Like flowers and plants, humans also require certain things to survive. Specifically, we must have food, water, air, and shelter. But what if we want to thrive? In my experience, resources for thriving look different from one person to the next, apart from one thing: Connection.

As a Christ-follower, I believe God created us for connection with Him and others (Matthew 22:36-38, Genesis 2: 18-23). He did not intend for us to do life alone. If you lean more toward science, it also supports that we need relationships to thrive.

According to Dunbar’s Number theory (feel free to google), humans are capable of maintaining five close relationships at a time. Keeping them healthy requires ongoing, intentional time, attention, and work.

 I can imagine you are wondering, “Where do I start?” Well, I have got suggestions:

First, identify those with whom you want a close connection. In keeping with Dunbar’s wisdom, try to keep your list to no more than five, but if five feels overwhelming, start with one or two—next, schedule time to connect with your chosen people regularly.

It might look like this:

• A weekly phone or Facetime call.

• A set day and time to meet up for a walk.

 • 30 minutes of uninterrupted time at the end of each day to talk about life. What you do is not so important. Just pick something and do it – together – regularly.

If strengthening your relationship with God is important, start simple:

 • Pick your favorite book of the Bible and read one scripture a day. Just one! Commit the message to memory and meditate on it throughout the day.

• Get a journal that calls your name and your favorite pen. Then, set aside 5-10 minutes daily and pour your heart to God. No filter. Just you, God, and whatever is on your mind. He will be faithful to meet you wherever you are.

To my garden keepers, I pray your blooms are beautiful and the harvest is abundant! But more than this, I pray all who are reading this are inspired to build and nurture your connection with God and others.

Happy thriving, my friends,

Alicia, LCSW

PrimeCARE-Oak Street Clinic

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