During the summer months the roadside grass verges, and even the lower slopes of the mountains, are full of bright orange to red flowers. They add a beautiful splash of colour and thrive among the brambles, gorse, and heather. I planted some in my garden, confident that they would grow well, and I was surprised to find out that they are not native to Wales!
Bloom where you are planted?
‘Crocosmia Monbretia is a flowering plant from the iris family, Iridaceae. It is native to the grasslands of southern and eastern Africa, ranging from South Africa to the Sudan.’ (Wikipedia)
How did these flowers, which originate in Africa, end up thriving in Wales? I do not have the answer to that – but the evidence is all around that they are blooming in a totally different climate!
Who said, ‘bloom where you are planted?’
“Truly charity has no limit; for the love of God has been poured into our hearts by His Spirit dwelling in each one of us, calling us to a life of devotion and inviting us to bloom in the garden where He has planted and directing us to radiate the beauty and spread the fragrance of His Providence.”Francis de Sales, Bishop of Geneva (1567-1622)
What beautiful words, unchanged by time in their relevance, and the powerful truth that they declare:
- ‘Truly charity has no limit’ An unusual phrase to apply to ourselves but the truth is we are in desperate need of God’s charity, we are ‘poor in spirit’, we need a Saviour for there is nothing that we can do to save ourselves.
- When we recognise our desperate need of God, then we are ready to receive the gift of His grace and for the love of God to be poured into our hearts as we receive the Holy Spirit.
- God then calls us to a life of devotion – chosen to love Him, because He first loved us.
- God invites us to bloom where He has planted us, not just to survive but to thrive, to demonstrate His abundance.
- God directs us to shine for Him and to be a sweet aroma – revealing His provision and making His presence known to those around us.
I believe that God places us intentionally – you are where you are not by chance, but for a reason. There may be times when God directs and move us from one place to another location. But when we are guided by Him, wherever God plants us, that is the place where we can bloom and thrive!
Created to flourish!
We can flourish when we are willing to trust in God:
But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.Jeremiah 17:7-8
In this season, where there are many changes to negotiate and many uncertainties to be faced, we can be secure when we remain steadfast in the Lord. When our roots go deep, to sustain us with His ‘living water’ so that we are secure and strong even when difficult testing times come.
Life may be insecure, and change may be unsettling, but we can be secure in God in His intentional plan and purpose for our lives.Tweet
Even when circumstances take away and remove all our choices, and dictate where we are to live and what our future is going to be? That is a challenging thought and one we would not want to face, but when everything else is stripped away what remains is our foundation.
Inspiration to thrive!
Daniel is our inspirational example of thriving where you are planted, that is, being the fullness of who God created you to be, regardless of the situation that you find yourself in.
In Daniel chapter one, we find the story of a young man whose country and city had been defeated in battle and he had been taken as a prisoner to a foreign land. Daniel was part of the first deportation of ‘the nobles and members of the royal family’ from Jerusalem to Babylon. The victorious king Nebuchadnezzar had claimed, as spoils of war, the treasures from the Temple, and the most educated and able of the young people to serve him in his kingdom.
Daniel may well have expected to be a leader, a successful man in Jerusalem, his own city, free to worship at the Temple, the place of God’s presence, making his own decisions and choices for his life. Instead he is in Babylon, having lost his freedom, he is now to be trained in a different culture, language, and tradition for three years, to prepare him to serve a foreign king – his enemy. He has even been given a new name – everything had been taken from him, nothing remained.
Nothing remained of all that Daniel had externally, but Daniel had integrity, a love and faith in God that remained as his foundation. A testing time came, potentially as an issue of faith which could compromise his beliefs, and God gave Daniel the wisdom to make right choices. As Daniel stood this test and proved God’s faithfulness, God then blessed him with knowledge and understanding, of all kinds of literature and learning, with the ability to understand visions and dreams, which brought advancement.
How to thrive where you are planted
What does Daniel teach us about thriving where we are planted? What lessons can we learn regarding keeping our integrity and staying true to who we are, wherever we are placed?
- Not to compromise with the truth of our identity – which is rooted in the love of God.
- Not to compare ourselves with others – either with those who we think are in a better place, or with those around us who are making different choices to our own, but to be secure in God’s love for us, revealed through His word.
- Not to complain about our circumstances – there is power in our words – but to keep a thankful and grateful heart, by praising God for who He is. Grumbling and complaining show a lack of trust in the goodness of God and will prevent us from thriving in Him – our roots will become twisted, and knotted, stopping the ‘living water’ from flowing, and we will become stunted and unable to grow…
Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.Philippians 2:14-16
We can ask God for wisdom – which He has promised to give freely to any that ask. The wisdom to make wise choices and bloom where we are planted, rooted in God’s love, revealed through His word.
Rather than the environment changing us let us build resilience into our faith. Like Daniel, but in our own small way, we can become atmosphere changers! Let us bring the sweet aroma of God’s presence, wherever we are, all for His praise and glory.