In the summer of 2000, my family and I made a trip from middle Tennessee to Los Angeles, crossing the western states by car. It was our first time making this trek and we loved seeing the beauty of the terrain, the mountains, the rock formations and the desert. As we passed through Kingman, Arizona, we approached the stretch of highway that crossed the Mahave Desert. For all of us, this was our first experience being in the desert environment. I remember feeling a little nervous about the drive as we stopped to make sure our fuel tank was full and our water supply was sufficient.
The beauty of the landscape was breathtaking. Even in an area that was so barren and hot (116 degrees F), it was awe-inspiring to see the mountains, cacti, and the colors of the terrain. We stopped at one point to take a break, pulling off into a small town along the way. As we stepped out of the vehicle, the heat and warm breeze felt so different from anything I had ever experienced. As we always say, "It was a dry heat." There was no humidity in the air that made it feel muggy and sticky, as we were accustomed to in the southeastern part of the country. Instead, it was dry and arid. There was almost an eerie feeling of being caught in this oven, where, if your air conditioner failed, you would not survive. These were not necessarily rational thoughts, but felt real just the same. It is hard to imagine that flowers could survive in such harsh conditions. Yet, it is possible...and even natural...for flowering plants to exist there. It is a beautiful illustration of being able to bloom where you are planted. Even the same desert place in different years can produce very different vegetation. When the rainfall varies between 0.2 inches and 4.7 inches, as these two photos show, the same location can look very different (photos from the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum).
In this week's podcast, Jasman interviews award-winning contemporary gospel artist, Chesternique, about the seasons of life and how God works through them in our journey (take a listen here). As she unfolded her journey that has led her currently to the work and ministry of serving as a social worker, I was struck by her sharing of three things she has learned, that can be summed up as "blooming where you are planted."
Humility - Sprout Before You Can Bloom (Contentment)
Every beautiful rose, or towering oak, starts out as a tiny sprout. Small, easily overlooked, and seemingly insignificant, they break through the soil and poke their heads into the sunshine to start their life of destiny...being the American Beauty or the acorn-producing home of the squirrel family. But, the beginning is a humble one.
Just as Chesternique spoke of the season of being a background singer and what she learned in that experience, in our journey of fulfilling our purpose, we will likely find ourselves in the background at times. We may see that our journey is taking us through a season of serving and wondering, "How does this fulfill the purpose to which God is calling me?" (I wrote about that in a previous post). In those seasons, if we will find contentment in humbly being our best in that role, we will be able to soak in all of the nutrients and resources that will enable us to thrive and bloom when our time comes. These seasons are just as important as the others. We can be just as productive and influential. But, it is all about our attitude and approach to that time in our life. Humility and contentment is the key.
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Time is Valuable - Give Yourself Time to Grow (Development)
I remember learning the "Laws of the Harvest" many years ago. They are simple truths that are valuable to learn early on in life. I have found them to be true...both for the positive and negative outcomes they represent. They are:
1. You always reap what you sow.
2. You always reap more than you sow.
3. You always reap later than you sow.
That third law is the hardest. I remember the few times that I attempted my hand at gardening, as a kid. I loved the tilling, preparing and sowing of the seed. Waiting for the harvest was excruciating to me. I guess I was a little impatient. But, when those plants started to break through the soil, or when those plants started to produce blooms that were going to bring fruit, I got excited.
As we pursue our purpose in life, we often expect results and a great harvest right away, not thinking about how much time is involved in growing into that place of abundance. One of the struggles of many newly married couples is the expectation that they should immediately enjoy the lifestyle and amenities that their parents afforded them at home. They forget that it took decades for their parents to be in a position to provide the blessings that they enjoyed while they were at home with them.
Give yourself time...time to grow, time to learn, time to develop into the person God intends for you to be. Waiting doesn't mean being idle, it just means being patient and being willing to work well with all that God has placed within your hands at that moment, making the most of it for His glory. He will take care of the rest.
“The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together! ’
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Your Gift is Valuable - Value What You Have to Offer (Opportunity)
There are currently approximately 374,000 identified species of plants in the world, with approximately 80% of those being flowering plants. Can you imagine all of the varying flowers that represents? When most of us think about flowers, we have maybe 10-12 variations that come to mind, which we plant in our flower garden or use to adorn our patios and homes. However, if you used all 295,000 flowering plants to decorate your home and garden, you would be overrun with a jungle and no place to sit, eat or sleep! But, think of how beautiful all of those flowers would be. Each one unique, exotic and colorful in its own way.
You are a unique creation of God. He has designed you, gifted and equipped you, with all of the special traits, abilities and characteristics to be the person He has called you to be! That means your gift is valuable...the gift you have to offer and the gift you are to the world...to His kingdom. Don't sell yourself short, or underestimate the person He is making you to be, and the great things He wants to do in and through you for His glory. I've said it before, but it bears repeating...you are a masterpiece. Just as the Stradivarius has the sweetest sound and the most expensive price because of the master who made it, you will exhibit the most beautiful life with the highest value because of the Master who has made you and who has called you to a special role in His plan...a plan to bring eternal life to the world. Whatever your gift...whatever your role...it is valuable, and God wants to use it in amazing ways.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
So, there you have it...bloom where you're planted...whether you are just sprouting, in the growing season, or filling out your life with beautiful flowers for all to enjoy. It is all a fragrant aroma to the Father who has planted you and continues to nourish your growth for the harvest that He has ordained. Bloom beautifully, my friends! Your beauty is needed in our world!
Check out the biography and music of this week's podcast guest, Chesternique at her website: www.chesterniquemusic.com.
In what stage of growth do you find yourself? There are cycles of seasons, so you may have been in full bloom, and now find yourself back at the sprouting stage. How are you handling the transitions and the process? Let's share in the comments below and get the conversation going! Please comment and share, if you find our content inspiring.
With over forty years of ministry experience, Randy Kinnick continues to live a life of pursuing the purpose for which he was created. Whether teaching God's Word to adults, coaching youth and young adults in finding their purpose, or caring for the hurting and abused in Southeast Asia, the adventure has taken him around the world in ways he could have never dreamed. The adventure continues!