“Bloom where you are planted.”
I’ve always struggled with this phrase. As much as I like analogies and the image of us humans like delicate flowers or flourishing trees that sprout, grow, bloom or bear fruit, I didn’t want to picture myself stuck in one garden forever; living a life with one gift, working in one ministry, restricted to one career. It seemed too “new age” for me to justify with reality, too much like a fence and I hated feeling trapped by it.
But now God has shown me a correlation with His Word & made this over-instagram-captioned phrase a sequel to “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
He has been reminding me of the word “season” in my life and for a long while I wasn’t sure why. It seems to be such a common word in Christian communities, but now I think He’s revealing the type of season He wants me in and how much more depth this analogy carries.
Each plant goes through seasons, but the identity of the plant remains the same. A sunflower is always a sunflower, a lily is always a lily, a gardenia is always a gardenia no matter where it’s planted, and each bloom will be unique according to its design. Different plants also require different saturation to see growth.
But the most important thing I’m learning about blooming where I’m planted is the first step; taking root. Taking root is the challenging part to an adventurous heart. It makes it more difficult to wander, but once rooted, it makes it easier to abide in Jesus (John 15), and to connect yourself with the community you are planted in, your root system intertwined with that of other believers.
If I don’t take root, I won’t grow in this garden, and if I don’t go through an entire season of growing in this garden, I won’t be strong enough to move to the next one when that time comes. Community & accountability are essential to growth.
“Bind my wandering heart to thee”Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing – Robert Robinson
For those who (like me) feel lost in all the different branches of this metaphor (pun absolutely intended), I decided to study some literal plants to help clarify. Here are some of their characteristics that helped me understand my own growing process.
In different seasons, plants direct their resources where it’s most necessary. Depending on the time of year, they’re either directing all their energy to deepening their roots or using their roots to create the stunning blooms we get to appreciate in the spring.
It’s also critical that plants are moved only during a certain break between these seasons. Moving a plant involves breaking some of the roots. Once it is moved, it has to take hold of the new soil all over again. The deeper its roots go the better the plant is going to bloom, but the more it will hurt to be moved if it is moved out of season.
“Plants in flower or about to flower hate being moved. It’s a big no-no in their world. All their resources are going in to producing a flower so they can create seed, not new roots.”Alys Fowler
“Moving a plant means breaking roots – usually the fine root hairs that do the job of exploring the soil to find moisture.”Alys Fowler
I think I’ve been disappointed that I’m not blooming, that I’m awaiting my next spiritual spring and I’ve been looking to other gardens longing for that to come. God is teaching me to be content in this season, with a hope & joy for the future that doesn’t distract from enjoying where He has me now.
With this reminder, throwing yet another pile of my cares on the Lord, I kept digging….
Not only has God designed plants to be stationary as they take root and grow, but He’s designed them to REST in order to grow! Plants don’t ‘sleep’, but they do require the atmosphere of dark in order to perform work within their roots.
“When your plants aren’t performing efficiently due to the lack of true night hours, no equipment in the world can cure what ails them. So, make sure they have the required break from light and the right amount of hours for each stage of growth.”Tammy Clayton – Garden Culture Magazine
“Be still” doesn’t mean, ‘do nothing.’ To be still requires work underneath the surface that often requires the dark, silence, & stillness of the night. This is why the second half of this verse is so important, “know that I am God.” Our part of the work is to know God is in control and sovereign over our circumstances. We grow in the season He’s placed us in when we grow in Him; in love for Him, trust in Him, & joy in Him.
In this season, God is doing more to grow me then I could ever dream to do for myself hopping around from one garden to another. He’s plowing, turning over the layers of soil in my heart, removing weeds, bringing fresh nutrients, and burying me so deep in His love & His presence that I can grow where He has me now and bloom where I’ve been planted.
Now I know, even when I do move from one garden to another, one season to another, I have to be still by continuously trusting Him, seeking Him & filling myself with His Word. HE is my gardener, HIS hands will move me. He’s teaching me that we will change gardens when the time is right, not while he has us rooted for growth, and if we’ve just moved, we have to take the time to grow new roots. Be still.
“Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;Psalm 96:11-12 NKJV
Let the sea roar, and all its fullness;
Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it.
Then all the trees of the woods will rejoice before the Lord.
For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth.
He shall judge the world with righteousness,
And the peoples with His truth.”
I’d like to encourage you reading this, if you’re feeling unstable, unrooted, or not in the garden of your choice; spend time in prayer. God will make it clear whether or not you’re in His will. If He keeps you where you’re at, take root; plug into your church, sign up for that class, grow your community, start a Bible study, join a Bible study, set up an accountability relationship, or whatever step God is asking you to take in order to plant yourself deeper into Him. Read scripture, journal your thoughts, write songs of worship, record the songs you’ve written, & be still by knowing that HE is GOD.