Bloom where you are planted.
A high school friend of mine once gave me a gift bearing this advice. I’ve long since lost the flowery picture the words were printed on, but this small seed of wisdom imbedded in my heart long ago firmly took root down through the years.
I haven’t always followed this counsel, mind you. I’ve had dry seasons when I wasn’t much good to anybody. During those times I did not grow or offer the people God placed in my life any beauty or joy. I allowed myself to be fooled into thinking it was easier to droop, to withdraw from the warm light of human connection than to do the risky, hard work of living and loving – looking up, reaching out, giving and receiving.
By God’s design, after such a drought my thirst brought me back to the spring of all fresh, living water. And the Bible reminded me why I was planted here in the first place:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself…do this and you will live.” Luke 10:27-28.
Love God and love people – the two laws that Jesus said trump all the others. This, Jesus was saying, is what it means to bloom where you are planted.
The way to love God is to love other people, people who are just like you – imperfect, fragile, pig-headed, selfish, abrasive, disappointing, rude, wrong, weird, proud, and occasionally, hopefully ever-increasingly, loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, gentle, faithful, and self-controlled. And how do we love? By treating others how we wish they would treat us. Luke 6:31.
The happiest people I know bloom where they are planted. Regardless of their circumstances, they bring life, beauty and joy to their work places, families and friendships. It matters not whether they are rich or poor in the eyes of the world, diseased or healthy, young or old. Bloomers feed and water the soil of their own hearts so that they can in turn nurture the souls of others and, in so doing, are blessed.
Today, whether our sky is blue or dreary, let’s turn our faces toward the Son and bloom!
“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25.