Recently, the hubby’s job informed him that they are transferring him to Bellingham, Washington. So, our family is moving. From middle of no where tiny desert town in west Texas to a rather decent size city with mountains on one side and ocean on the other and lots and lots of rain.
I can easily go into a rant about how much i loathed living in such a small desolate place however i will try my darn’est to not do that. The Bible tells me that i should not complain….and as hard as that is for me at times I feel like i need to actually listen to that directive. What i do want to focus on is what God has taught me living out here in the desert. I admit I am such a strong willed stubborn minded typical type A personality and the ONLY way God was going to get MY attention was to bring me out to the middle of no where. Mind you, I was a Christ follower before moving out to Texas but there were A LOT of things that God still needed to show me about Himself, about myself, and about my relationships with others. Hard things. Things that made me fall into deep pits of depression and desperation.
When I became a follower of Christ 3 years prior to moving to Texas I was on fire for missions. Heck, that’s the reason we moved to Texas in the first place. I had just left the Army 2 years before and was ready to be a “do-er” for God. I was a “do-er” before I became a Christian and after I was reborn and then submitting my life to Christ I was still a “do-er”. Nothing had really changed in my personality and emotional DNA. Yes I stopped all my blatant outward sins but the way my mind processed and analyzed life and people was the same.
Changing my outward behavior was EASY compared to the journey that God was about to take me on following the 3 years after my conversion.
A journey that involved stripping my flesh down to nothing. The other day i read blog article on the Desiring God website titled My Dragon Skin Torn Off by Lumma Simms and immediately I was intrigued. The title lead me to read the blog because i thought “i know that feeling”. The blog brought me to tears.
Without delving into too much too soon, I just want to say that God put me out here in the west Texas desert for a reason but it was not for the obvious “missionary” reasons that I hear most often perpetuated in church settings – like “let your light shine in darkness” or “sharing the Gospel with others”.
Granted I initially thought it was for these reasons too and I put my best “do-er” face forward. I used all my strength and natural ability to do just what the church promotes and encourages. Both of these Biblical directives are good and ought to be encouraged but I had to figure out that sometimes doing for God brings us to a place where our efforts are futile and we need to make room for God to do His “doing”. Very difficult lesson.
So, our family joined a church here in the middle of no where and the church eventually disintegrated. We ended up having to drive 1 hour to go to another tiny desert church in another middle of no where. Kinda’ puts a damper on serving the church when your church is so far away and you home school.
I lead a few ladies Bible studies. I attempted to reach out to the community but all it left me was hurt, heartbroken and tired. I was using all my strength and natural ability to be a “do-er” for God and all i felt was defeat.
When I would find myself complaining for any length of time I would often hear the term “bloom where you are planted” to try to cheer me up or get me to refocus my attention. Oh how i despise that term!!!!
BLOOM WHERE YOU ARE PLANTED…ha! …whoever thought of such a silly analogy.
yes i know…i get the gist of it. I know that the term is used to encourage as some sort of self help/self improvement kind of advice. Its not even Biblical yet I so often hear it coming from fellow believers. sigh!
It doesn’t even really make any sense. Nothing blooms spontaneously. Well maybe weeds. Even then, weeds still need water and the right soil temperature and exposure to the sun. So, for the sake of my attempt to understand the “bloom where you are planted” analogy here are the thoughts that go through my mind when someone gives me this advice.
1) Maybe people want me to assume or realize that God planted me here in west Texas so He must be watering me so I SHOULD be “blooming”. Right?
So basically i can interpret that as “get with the warm and fuzzy Christian program and stop complaining”.
2) When one sees a flower in bloom then the one doing the seeing is enjoying the beauty of it.
I interpret that as “if you would only make yourself happy and vibrant, then I can be your friend because I don’t want a negative and grouchy complaining friend…bloom why don’t you”.
3) When I can get to the self actualization of full bloom status then I can show the world my beauty and magnificent colors.
I interpret that as someone who has enveloped a prideful and arrogant way of thinking. A “look at me and my ___________________ (fill in the blank with wonderful self accolades that put self on display and not God)
Here is what I think was and is really going on.
God did not bring me out here to “bloom”. He brought me out here because what my character and nature really needed was to wither and die. What my type A personality needed was to become parched and die. What my deeply ingrained stubborn strong willed self needed was to be stripped bare and die. And God placed me out here to have the least amount of distractions because I’m also ADD. He knew that. I didn’t. I was too obsessed with doing for God in the 3 years after my conversion I was not allowing God to do for me. I HAD to fall flat on my face in the deep depth of discouragement for me to realize that God did not need me to “do” for him right now.
In my darkest frustration I realized that I had nothing to offer God. None of my type A “do-er” control freak personality was needed at this time. God put me in this place to show me that I have nothing…absolutely nothing….that He needed from me. My services or “ministry” were not needed. Period. When you are a “do-er” by nature, like myself, this was beyond difficult to comprehend or accept. I wept and mourned over this revelation. It broke me. But that wasn’t all I learned.
As I was in the midst of mourning I slowly started to discern that God was actually the “do-er” here. He was doing the work I could not do for myself. I realized that God brought me out here to sanctify me. and that meant parts of me needed to die – not bloom!!
the ugly parts. the parts that controlled my thinking, my personality and my way of analyzing life and people. i had to and have to continually die to self….daily……and sometimes when I’m feeling extra stubborn….hourly and even minutely.
God had to have his way with me. To purge the things in my person that do not bring Him glory. Sanctification is what He is after. His desire is to make me holy for His glory. Not bloom to be pretty for my glory.
so….here is my verdict –
bloom where you are planted = not biblical
die to self = biblical