Just A Thought
The COVID-19 pandemic changed our lives forever. Now that the virus seems more under control, we no longer have a mask mandate, businesses are open again, and life goes on. But what happens next? How do we grow on a personal level now that life is back to normal? Let’s use an analogy of a flower garden. Anyone who plants the flowers wants to see the blooms. Now compare your life to the flower. We all want to blossom, flourish, and grow. Whether it be financially, spiritually, or even physically. We are always looking for results. After the pandemic, we are still standing, but are we blooming? Surprisingly, the flower gives us a lesson in life.
- How to bloom?
When I was a child, I took great pride in selecting marigolds for my mom to plant. I gathered flats of the best blooming marigolds I could find. To my dismay, she promptly pinched off every bloom! She then proceeded to explain why. I had selected the marigolds for what I saw then and there. She knew that not all the blooms were healthy. Withering blooms draw energy, energy that would better serve new blooms. Our life if we want it to bloom must undergo pruning. If something is sapping energy and it’s not productive, it needs to go.
- Why should we prune?
To be productive, we must weed out things that hold us back. A biblical example is in the story of the prodigal son found in Luke 15. A great celebration was prepared when the younger, wayward son unexpectedly returned home. We read in verse 25 that as the celebration was taking place, his older brother was in the field working. After all, the story of the prodigal son is set around a farm. Personally, I’ve always thought about the field in this verse. When the celebration was over, I’m sure the younger son returned to the fields also. What did he find in his field after being gone for so long? A bunch of weeds! A garden left unattended grows great weeds, but no produce. We don’t have to plant weeds; they just show up in both our gardens and in our lives. What did the son have to do? He had to deal with the weeds if he wanted to get back to his life beforehand. The weeds would have to go.
- When should we prune?
Daily! If we want to grow to our full potential, we need to look at our lives daily. A personal example comes from my own little garden. To my delight, the cucumber plants were putting out beautiful little cucumbers. Every day after work I’d visit my garden. I noticed one plant was producing much smaller cucumbers. I tugged on the vine and underneath I found a huge cucumber I hadn’t noticed before. I pulled that one and within a few days, the plant had multiple cucumbers ready to pull. The lesson is this. Don’t let one problem drain all your strength. Search your “life’s vine” and discard the thing that is taking your strength.
- Weeds that must be pulled.
Let’s first look at the weed of worry. Luke 12:27 KJV says, “Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not.” The verses go on to show how God takes care of the lilies—they didn’t have to worry at all.
Corrie Ten Boom said, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.” Simply put, worry saps us of our strength. Worry is a withering bloom that we must pinch off so there is new growth and new blooms.
A second weed is the weed of wandering. A popular slogan says, “Bloom where you are planted.” Wandering or straying from where God puts us can lead to small growth. Sometimes people think it would be neat to be famous or wealthy. But that may not be where God has planted us. God put you where you are for a reason. Just like the tag on a store-bought plant, God especially labeled you for where you are. Some plant tags read “full sun,” while others may read “drought tolerant.” We must learn to keep our eyes on the Situator and not the situation. Psalm 23 beautifully tells us about the all-knowing shepherd leading his sheep down through a valley. The psalmist called it, “the valley of the shadow of death.” Sounds like a scary valley, right? But David said he would walk “through” the valley, don’t miss that. Also notice the word “shadow.” Remember, to have a shadow, you must have a light. Jesus said, “I am the light!”