The Cultivate Book by Lara Casey Review: How to Grow With Grace (& a Little Dirt)
We don’t discuss religion much here on Earn Spend Live. As with everything else, everyone on our team has different views, and that’s a wonderful thing — but that doesn’t mean we don’t deal with religion just as often as we deal with money, work, and relationships — our religious (or not-so-religious) views impact all of that. And for me, the resident gym-obsessed planner-addict, my faith is actually a driving force for why I am the way I am.
I’ll admit that I’m not the most steady person when it comes to my faith. I struggle with patience, relinquishing control (I’m the definition of a neurotic control freak, ask anyone), and most of all trust. I don’t like the unknown, the messy emotional stuff, or admitting that I can’t do it all.
So how ironic/divine/coincidental is it that I was asked to read and review Lara Casey’s brand new book Cultivate: A Grace-filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life? From the start of this book Lara discusses how she struggled and continues to struggle with the same things. Perfectionism. Pressure. Impatience. Control. And how learning to get her hands into both the physical and metaphorical dirt taught her to lean on God and renewed her faith.
I’ve been a fan of Lara Casey and her work for a while now. I adore the PowerSheets system she’s created and like her Instagram posts religiously. She seems so genuinely happy and at peace with life that it’s infectious. It also looks so foreign to me. How on Earth does she manage to have three very young children, a robust garden, and two businesses all with such ease? I have one job and a dog and find myself powered by stress and too much caffeine. Luckily, in The Cultivate Book, she explains how she achieves just that.
Lara gets personal. She discusses the struggles she’s had in her marriage, the doubt she felt as a parent, and the pressure of being a business owner. She also discusses how she was trying to fix all of that by doing everything and focusing on the stuff that wasn’t really important to her. Cultivate is real, and raw, and full of so much wisdom that it can overwhelm you if you let it. It’s one thing to read this book, and it’s an entirely different thing to read it and then implement that wisdom.
Each day as I read The Cultivate Book while spinning like a mad woman on the stationary bike at the gym with sweat dripping down my forehead, something about the pages I would read always resonated perfectly with the exact overwhelming pressure I felt that day.
You Gotta Work for Cultivate‘s Magic to Work
Throughout The Cultivate Book, Lara challenges you with little exercises. Fill in the blank statements, word-relation exercises, and simple questions that make you think hard. There aren’t exercises on every single page, but scattered through every few pages so that you don’t feel like you’re just plowing through a workbook.
Those questions and exercises give you fresh perspective about your own life as you continue reading though. And I mean fresh as in slightly painful — like hitting your head on a door frame pain that makes you realize you should really pay attention to what you’re doing.
The Grass is Greener Where You Water It
Which is exactly the purpose of Cultivate. Lara is sharing her life story to help you notice the things in your life that you need to weed out, tend to, and relinquish control on — all of which she learned by gardening. For me personally, the gardening metaphor that Lara uses is extra potent — I just bought a house with several fruit trees that I have absolutely no control over and the fact I can’t do anything to make the peaches and plums ripen or keep the birds and bugs away has been driving me nuts. It’s always so amusing to me how God puts the stuff you need to hear in your life right at the time you need, but don’t really want, to hear it.
Cultivate by Lara Casey is easy to read because Lara’s writing is light, heartfelt, and to-the-point. It’s a joy to read even though the emotional heft is a little uncomfortable. But like she says, it’s the uncomfortable stuff that leads to real growth in life.
If you’re like me and struggling to let go, relax, and find fortitude in your faith, then I recommend reading The Cultivate Book. I can’t say that my life has the amount of grace and peace that Lara’s does just yet, but she’s been working on this for years and I’m just getting started.
I’ll definitely be reading it a second time.
Purchase your copy of Cultivate: A Grace-filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life now!
Last modified on January 15th, 2019