Bloom Where You’re Planted
Be flexible, and find joy and purpose in the journey
‘Travel’, ‘Evangelize’, ‘Hit the road’; It was 2009, my Dad was approaching the age where he wanted to retire from pastoring, and these words and phrases begin to show up quite often in our conversation. He had always dreamed of evangelizing again after “retirement” (a very inaccurate term). I was 15, and just beginning to hit my stride with youth and church activities; I was not too keen on the idea of packing up and leaving all my friends, family and comfort zones behind.
In the summer of that year, we took a long trip out - preaching and singing our way across the U.S. and into Canada. I guess it was kind of a ‘testing our wings’ outing, and my wings were quite rusty. I’m sure I enjoyed the trip, but inwardly I chaffed at the thought of doing this full-time while life at home passed me by. We finished our summer trip by attending Heritage Youth Conference in Colorado Springs. Something happened at that conference; I can’t tell you an exact moment, or even a specific service, but there was an obvious change in my attitude towards traveling. On the way home, I realized that the prospect of ‘hitting the road’ didn’t bother me: in fact, I felt excited about it! I knew that God had worked in me - He had changed my heart, and I had a brand new perception of this next stage of life.
In the spring of 2010, right around my 16th birthday, the adventure began. We could be seen in our big white motorhome, headed east on the highway. Evangelizing was SO good for me! The exposure to all of the different people, places and churches broadened my horizons and pushed me out of my shell. I learned that if I didn’t want to be lonely, I was going to have to get out there and be friendly; consequently I acquired a bevy of wonderful new friendships. New opportunities caused me to branch out of my comfort zone. It was a ‘push out of the nest’ in a way, and through it, the Lord helped me to grow.
Through this experience, I learned an important lesson: your attitude can make or break any stage of life. I began to think about this phrase, ‘bloom where you’re planted’ and tried to put it into practice. The truth is that God knows exactly where we need to be! He does everything on purpose and with a purpose. I believe it brings him much joy when we dedicate ourselves to being our best and doing our best for Him - wherever He has placed us. Does this mean we’re perfect and never have bad days? No, definitely not. It does mean that we are making a conscious effort to make the most of the situation we are in and do a work for the Lord! Think of Daniel: roughly captured and taken to Babylon, far, far away from home. He could’ve easily adopted a stinky attitude. Instead, the Bible says that an ‘excellent spirit’ was found in him. Because of this, God was able to use him in extraordinary ways.
In a lot of ways, life is taking on another new phase for me, and I am sure there are many more phases to come. But, I am confident of this one thing: God is with me. If I will give it my best effort, I believe I can not only survive, but thrive under His care. Not waiting for a time in the future, but right now - I am determined to be useful to Him and be just what He wants me to be! His strong and gentle hands have planted me here, and with His help, I intend to bloom.