This is the time of year when all the plantings in the Spring have grown to their fullest beauty, and when what I see rolled out for me like a carpet of color and texture feeds every one of my senses. This is the time of year when I delight in drinking it all in, marveling at how the Gardener allowed me to partner with him to make it soo lovely! Honestly though. I may have cooperated with him, but I certainly didn’t do the Lion’s share of the work in spite of my sore muscles and dirty fingernails. What I see on display before me was originally nested deep within the mystery of the seed, burrowed deep within the cultivated ground, springing forward in sprout and plant at just the right moment, a gift for me to enjoy!
I may plant seeds, and fertilize and water them, but I’m not the One Who fashioned these little dynamos of creation, nor am I Maestro of the orchestra that brings about rich growth and glorious bloom. I may mix nutrients into the soil and hope to have the right combination, but I didn’t create the soil, nor do I really fully understand the chemistry of how all the molecules come together to produce fine fertile ground for abundant growth. I may water, but the composition of water is not of my design, nor is how this fascinating clear substance that somehow nurtures sprouting and multiplication, dropping from weightless clouds in heavy pearls into the welcoming terra firma. I’m not the one that decides a tomato seed must grow into a tomato plant rather than a sycamore tree, or an apple seed into an apple tree rather than a hibiscus.
For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.
(Colossian 1: 16, New International Version)
And for that matter, I didn’t create me. I didn’t fashion myself in my mummy’s womb, deciding on the color of my hair and eyes, and how many strands on my head and in my eyebrows there should be. I didn’t make sure that I should be daughter to this man and this woman, to be born on this date at this time, and grow up in this environment. I wasn’t consulted on how tall I should grow, how long I should live, what talents and gifts I should have to accomplish what purpose. Nope. That wasn’t me. That was and is all God. He synthesizes and symphonizes every single detail of me, of my life, and of my purpose. Some may call me a multi-tasker – God, though, takes it to a whole new level!
Oh friends! Just as he created each seed to produce sole and incomparable glory, and the proper conditions for them to grow in loveliness and nourish the world, so he created each of us entirely unique from one another, to each fully flourish as His child, and to flourish with one another, and most especially to flourish with Him! Just as each plant within its family, each family within the flower beds, each flower bed within the garden, and garden within the vast garden of the Gardener flourishes, so we within our space and time. Fully growing and blooming! And just Who, or who, do we decide to listen to in order to assist in that flourishing?
Fully flourish. Fully live. With Him. Can you imagine? As really you, as really me. That deep part of me that restlessly and excitedly bubbles up, that I interrupt and rush ahead of to fill by my own often misguided and driven desire. That me that I get distracted and side-tracked from, and I incorrectly assume and anticipate for. That me that is protected by warning signs that I often blissfully or defiantly ignore; that me that I head away from off on this detour, and from the very One who knows and calls me by name. What’s the bright and shiny thing over there? And there I go, attracted to glistening lights of promise, assuming that must be what I am cut out to be, wanting to be a daisy when I am really a rose bush, or a rose bush surmising I need this soil when it needs that. And what happens? Exhausted dissatisfaction. Missing something.
Listen, the whisper persists. You seek what is not meant for you, nor will you find what you seek apart from me. I have been deliberate in creating you, and have taken great care in fashioning every tiniest part of you. I have a perfect purpose and plan for you – that only you can fulfill, just as it is for each of my children. Yes! There is more! Much more within you, and to you, and for you that awaits than what you can possibly imagine. But only I know what you need. I know you. I know where you are. Be patient. Wait on Me. Yes – listen . Listen and risk, but also learn and return. Remember Whose you are and trust in the far superior ‘Best’ I have for you. I will bring you to the fulfillment of your deepest longing and being, fulfillment of spirit and soul and body and mind and purpose. Listen and learn from my Son while you venture out protected by my Love.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
(Matthew 11: 28-30, The Message)
Trust in the promises of our unseen God Who releases us from the ill-fitting, the grown-accustomed-to, the fallen-prey-and-bought-into! Trust in Him as we recover our unforced rhythms, as our yearnings are answered, as we walk and work with Jesus as He does the Lion’s share of re-centering our minds and reshaping our hearts! Lean heavily into Him as we step out of our lesser selves into our meant-to-be’s and come to grips with the reality that this world’s definition of “life” and “living” is not even the palest in comparison to His. Lift up our parched and exhausted hearts to Him, and rely on His strength to persist in undoing and untangling what I’ve sought out that has grown over, that has deformed and has suffocated the Tailor-made me. Recognize that what I need needs to come not from the created, but the Creator. Learn and know and there is real Life in His ways. Surrendering. Surrendering to the I AM my I am.
Oh Jesus, quickly come into the deep and private places of our souls and spirits, and reveal yourself, your most splendid Character and Love to us! Be our Maestro over our hearts and minds and souls and bodies! May your beauty sprout and grow to bless in unrestrained exuberance, and bless abundantly in this world! Help us to really, really trust You; to rise again and again to stay the course of transformation to the “me’s” You deliberately and excitedly created on purpose, and with a purpose. Reposition me in spirit and mind to be the most glorious rose, or daisy, or fern, or hosta, or whomever I am meant to be, growing where I’m meant to be!
Yes! I want Your beauty above to shine through me, through all of us, here below! I want that fullness and fulfillment you offer! And Father, that’s what I want for everyone!
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
(Isaiah 41:10, New International Version)
“Then Jesus told Simon, “Stop being afraid. From now on you will be catching people.” So when they brought the boats to shore, they left everything and followed Jesus.”
(Luke 5:11, International Standard Version)
“Immediately the man could see again and began to follow Jesus, glorifying God. All the people saw this and gave praise to God.”
(Luke 18: 43, International Standard Version)
Soil and Seed