Under the Great Oak | Random Thoughts

by Marianne  - September 9, 2012

From time to time, I get thinking – deeply!

I scribbled these thoughts down on a piece of paper one day last month after reading the following verse from the Bible:

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith life is forced into the open and shows its true colours. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed not deficient in any way.” James Ch1 Verse 2-4

Then I got thinking about every struggle I have ever had; Every sort of challenge that came my way, and all the pain I have been through.  What if I had been protected from it all?  Who would I be today?

It is our instinct to expect the solution to be that we are rescued, or for the answer to our prayers to be that God will lift us away from the challenge, while at the same time expecting wisdom???  When I thought about this more, I realised that makes little sense. I could compare this to those children who have parents that shelter them from every possible danger in life (Wrapped in Cotton Wool) … these Cotton-Wool-Kids grow up to be foolish adults, void of common sense and wisdom.  In the sort of world we live in, I doubt God wants that for His children – so we need to be nourished by pressure and challenges.

Then my thoughts went on to think about how everything in life starts as a seed – and what that seed needs to go through before it matures!

In order to grow to its full intended potential, a seed needs:

—> Nutrients

—> Periods of light AND darkness

—> Time

—> A Purpose (why exist, if not to have purpose)

Whether your seed is faith, fat loss, strength gains, a new relationship, an old relationship, your own personal growth —> you must allow the seed of these things to root itself in your thoughts, and actions to help it grow!

This means, you need to be:

—> Nurturing

—> Committed (never give up)

—> Patient

Basically, there is no magic answer to anything that will bypass these stages and requirements.  It may start with a seed (the seed is always there), but we give life to the seed by providing the right environment for growth.

The problem is that many people think this is the equation of life:

Idea/Seed + No effort + No time =  everything you ever want ! hmmm

If you want something to happen, or something to stop happening, you must first nurture the appropriate seeds in you and let them grow – then wait to reap the results.

What keeps amazing me each time I read a verse in the Bible (which I never really did until recently), is that everything God says is being proven by modern studies into happiness, love and success.  God requires us to grow and develop our fruit ( our character), by becoming renewed in Him, to reap the abundant life he has promised.  And we know that happiness doesn’t increase when things are easy in life – happiness comes about when your character reflects gratitude, love, humility, self-control, kindness and patience.  In other words, it’s not about the external environment, it’s about how we respond that makes the difference.

We are all too quick to lash out in anger and blame someone else (“them” or “they”) for our failures or troubles; We even blame God for not stopping it or rescuing us. But is it not anyone else’s or God’s fault.  We are too selfish to realise what we need to do in order to grow enough to reach that place.  I think we are given the opportunities to grow time and time again – and it’s hard to accept this – but at the end of the day, we’ll always feel like we’re drowning or swimming against the tide, until we learn how to ride the waves. Those are the options – there’s no place for cotton wool!

This goes for any goal!

The potential is in us. We take the time to nurture it and take responsibility for it and we WILL reach it.

Often we forget that TIME is part of the process and we expect results quicker. The great thing about time is that we have the opportunity to make the time count and let ourselves mature and grow wiser, making us more able to handle what lies ahead – and live purposefully, by helping others do the same.

A deeply rooted and mature Oak Tree reaches further and offers more shelter than a shallow stalk.

Effort + Time + Patience = a life worth having 🙂


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  1. Amen, sister! The funny thing is, that the most Christians I know use to pray for what they need or wish – and then they sit back and wait and do nothing. And if things do not work out, they say god is putting them to a test, or he has different plans… hmmm not my kind of approach and I’m glad that I finally met someone who is different 🙂

    Anyway. After hiking the sh* out of me I took 3 deload weeks. I still went to Pilates class once a week, but spent a lot of time with paperwork, rest and sleep, sleep, sleep. But now migraine is knocking on the door again and so I’m back on track with my KBs 🙂 Luckily I did not lose much strength, the SLD have improved somehow.

    I picked up a phrase from Molly lately – no brainers! And I discovered, that these help me a lot with being consistent. Example: Time boxing (something I picked up from project management tactics). I have 1 hour for cleaning. After this 1 hour I schedule a workout. No time for my lazy brain to find excuses – no thinking, no brainer 🙂 just doing it. Another one: I have a list of easy to make lunchs at work, including a shopping list. When the Monday lunch break is throwing me a curve, I just grap my list, rush to the grocery store and do the shopping for the whole week. So for the rest of the week I don’t need to think about what to eat for lunch – everything I need is already there. Makes a more relaxed lunch break, no temptation to eat fast food, no extra thinking, no brainer 😉 sounds easy, right 😉

  2. Hi Marianne

    This is a really well written article. I had to read it a couple of times to really appreciate everything you have written. One of my worst faults is impatience. This is something I constantly pray about and my prayers are finally being answered.

    It’s really good (and brave) to see you sharing your faith! I’m sure I’ll be coming back to the article again. Everytime I read it I find something different – very much like reading the bible.

    Thank you!!


    1. Thank you for your feedback Frances 🙂 Patience is hard, when you feel something is urgent and you are very worried about it – I get that way too. But they are always answered 🙂


  3. I loved this Marianne. Part of being healthy is mind body and spirit…which you truly have much of=) I think posts like this are great because it reminds us of the big picture. One comment you made really resonaded with me because i find it so very true…”… it’s not about the external environment, it’s about how we respond that makes the difference.” You are so right on that one. Great and inspiring read. Have a wonderful day!

  4. Hi marianne,

    Haven’t talk to u in a while……I think this is one of my favorite articles you’ve posted:) First of all, I congratulate u 4 pickn up the good book/bible…I picked it up a yr & half ago & i gotta b honest with u, it’s the best thing I could have ever done for myself. Like u said those waves will always come….some will be bigger than others..but I guess the question is will I have my life vest on when they do???? And what I mean about life vest is will I b far apart from my father or near. He’s always with us through the spirit getting us through challenges; however if I dont do my part to acknwledge him & have a relationship with him my vision will not be clear to even realize this. And as for the comment your mother made about evidence of the fruits of the spirit….I’m def witness of those fruits. I often get askd even @ the gym “how do u stay soo dedicated/commited to your work out @ 330am?” All praise goes to Gods will, time is so much precious to me, not just to live another day, time is a blessing on it’s own, for change, to get it right, to be prepared, I can go on & on…he is def my source to everything!!!! Thanks for sharing your thoughts marianne & Joyce Meyer is one of my fav’s:)Let’s keep uplifting each other

    God Bless


  5. It’s so amazing that the ‘seed of God’ is placed within each one of us and that in the right environment that seed can provide true life. A life that comes from knowing how perfectly loved and accepted we are not because of anything we’ve done or not done (we die to that!) but because we are His children. To know this unconditional love produces the very life of God in us and we can ‘ride the waves’ that our circumstances do not dictate to us who we are but we can be confident in His perfect love and acceptance of us no matter what. 🙂

  6. Hi!

    Thanks for the inspiring videos and for sharing your thoughts!
    I discovered your videos quite recently, so I have not followed you from the beginning, but I surely will follow your videos from now. I really enjoy them and find them inspiring. I have one question, you mentioned in one of your recent videos that you did some mobility work. Could you possibly show them in a video? I apologize if you have already described them, but as English is not my mother language I may miss a word or two from time to time. Your English is very easy for a foreigner to understand though! But I think it would be very helpful to actually see your mobility work, if possible. Thanks again!

  7. This is an interesting post. I hesitate to talk about God in my online presence but have no hesitation in thinking about or utilizing God’s wisdom in life. As you know Marianne, I am at the beginning of my fitness journey and my goals are larger than my ability at the moment. And there is just one way to remedy that, and that is by putting in the effort, tending the seeds, as you alluded to here. It is tough to nurture ‘results’ you can’t yet see. But to shift the focus a bit, perhaps my results, at least for right now, are to be found in the doing. The building of a habit, which will, garner larger gains with time.

  8. “Effort + Time + Patience = a life worth having” I agree with this equation. Once in a while I will here someone tell me that it must be nice to be able to have this and that or whatever. But I know what I had to go through to get this and that or whatever. and those same people are not willing to do what it takes to be able to get this or that or whatever. I just look at them and smile and move on. Some people wish they can win the lottery but if you ask them if they bought a ticket they’d say no. Oh well, I will just worry about me. Share the wealth and make them wonder how I do it and how I make it look easy. We all know it’s never easy. Some times all you need to do is show up and you can win. But you still have to show up. Anyway, I didn’t mean to ramble on but just my thoughts.

    1. Your “ramblings” are very true! People make judgement based on what they see now, assuming that you just arrived there magically, without a thought to the journey (all the effort, time and trials) it took to get there! If we could turn round and ask them “are you prepared to go through what I went through in order to be here?”, I wonder how many would say yes 🙂

      Thank you!

  9. Hi Marianne. I stumbled upon your website a couple weeks ago via watching one of your workout videos on YouTube. I teach health and physical education to K-6 grade students and am always curious to see what other fitness enthusiasts are coming up with as far as workouts go. You have some really great ones and I must say you are a beast! You really crush those workouts! Aside from that, I just want to say I really enjoyed reading your thoughts today. A big theme in my classes is personal character, especially focusing on leadership, attitude, and work ethic. I want my students to learn how to embrace challenges in life, grow, learn, and strive on. How we respond to the triumphs and tribulations really does mold us throughout our lives. Thanks so much for sharing and have an awesome week!

  10. Great Article. Refreshing message for this day and age. Ive read that bible verse many times, I think I need to go back and meditate on it. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing.

  11. What a wonderful series of thoughts! I thoroughly enjoyed reading that Marianne. I think it’s brilliant in every way. It’s true to begin with but it is also extremely well written!
    Did you know too that the love, patience and self control you mentioned are also cited in the Bible as some of the fruits of the Spirit? More evidence 🙂
    I’m so proud of you xo

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