If you have been in or around church for any length of time, you have probably heard a preacher say, “You should bloom where you are planted.” That is basically preacher-speak for, “You should be able to grow, no matter where you are.” I have been in situations where I have questioned whether or not I was in the right place, or with the right people. And I am not just referring to church! I have run into this in the workplace and in school as well. Sometimes it just feels like the place you are in is the worst possible place for you, and all you can think about is how to get out. I know, I’ve been there a time or two.
A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of spending some time in California. My wife and I were attending a ministry conference that talked about various ways to help people get connected to the local church, and to help them bloom where they are planted. While in California, we took a trip to the coast, to a place called Crystal Cove, and spent some time just walking along the beach. Crystal Cove is a beautiful place. It is a picturesque beach at the bottom of a small cliff. It really does look like a picture from a post card. To get to the beach, you have to walk along a trail that winds its way through a small park, down the side of the cliff, and on to the beach. While walking down the trail, we came across a cactus with a few flowers on it. I was immediately amazed at the way the bright yellow and pink flowers stood out against the landscape, which was mostly dry, and very monochromatic.
As I pondered what I was looking at, I had an epiphany of sorts: the cactus’ was blooming in the place where it was designed to bloom. I was so focused on the environment and the conditions around the cactus, that I neglected the Creator’s design of the cactus. I was amazed, but I should not have been because the cactus was doing what it was designed to do. I think the same is true of people. So often, we focus on the environment, and the conditions around us, and we forget all about the Creator’s design for us. The key to blooming where you are planted is to make sure you are doing what you were designed to do. Environments may seem harsh at times, and they may not appear to be conducive for growth, but I want to assure you, you can bloom right where you are planted.
In 1 Corinthians 3:6-7, the Apostle Paul says, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth (ESV).” Paul planted and Apollos watered…in other words, Paul and Apollos provided the environment for the seed and the conditions around the seed, but God is the one who actually made the seed grow. We were created to be in relationship with God. We only grow when we are connected to God. Jesus talked about this in John 15 when He told us that He is the vine and we are the branches. He was illustrating our need to be connected to Him. You can be connected to God no matter what your environment may be. Your personal relationship with God is what brings about your growth. Every situation is an opportunity for you to learn: to learn your strengths, to recognize your areas for improvement, and most importantly, to learn to rely on God.
In my life, it has been the places that seemed like the worst places to be planted, that God used to bring about growth. It was the places that I wanted out of the most that God used to teach me to rely on Him and to show me the areas where I still needed to grow. Don’t despise the dry places in your life. James 1:2-3 says to count it all joy when you meet trials of various kinds, because the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. Steadfastness is our ability to stand firm and hold our ground, no matter what we may be facing. James goes on to say in verse 4 that we should let steadfastness have its full effect; that we may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. God uses the trials to build our faith and our ability to stand fast in the face of adversity. He uses those situations for our growth and for His glory. You can grow where you are planted! You can even produce great fruit and bloom in the worst of environments, but it will only happen if you are connected to the source of life and growth. So, my challenge for you is to stop focusing on the environment and the conditions around you and start focusing on the Creator and what He has created you to do. It starts and ends with our relationship with Him. Are you blooming where you are planted? If not, get connected to the vine and get ready to produce some fruit!
If you are struggling in your relationship with God, check out my book, Consensual Christianity. It is all about developing your personal relationship with Your Heavenly Father. You can go to jnathanielblizzard.com for more details.