There I sat, just sipping my coffee, watching a TV evangelist preaching on “Bloom Where You Are Planted.” He made a very prolific point. Things happen in our lives for one of two reasons: They may be part of God’s plan for a work in us or perhaps through us. Sometimes the things we go through happen to help others in some circumstances they may be going through. It’s not always about us!
It’s usually quite easy to throw our hands up and cry “uncle,” when we find ourselves in a place of great pain or discomfort. Maybe we are begging for a new house or new location. Perhaps some would like a different job and/or different coworkers. Others may just want the emotional pain to cease. Rather than moaning and complaining about our current lot in life, as the pastor said, let’s bloom where we are planted. Perhaps we are living in our neighborhood because a family down the street needs to meet us and be blessed by us before we can move on. Maybe there is someone in our office who needs encouragement or is just watching how we react to gossip, negativity or stress, hoping to learn from our example to cope with life in a more peaceful manner. It’s always hard to understand why people say and do things to hurt others. They usually have their excuses or “validations” for their actions. The first usual reaction is to jump to the defensive side of the field and barrel in for a full blown tackle on our opponent. But love won’t allow that. An attack upon us does not justify a counter-attack on the other person. Don’t get me wrong – there are times when it is best to speak up. But, there are times when it is best to remain silent, too. Many years ago I was trying to explain something to a young child. Innocently she replied, “I can’t see what you are saying.” That has stuck with me throughout my adult life. Far too often our expressions conflict with our actions, and in the words of Paul, “This ought not to be so.”
As long as there is a world and it is inhabited by human beings, there will be strife, contention, discord, criticism, judgmental attitudes, hypocrisy, verbal and emotional attacks – all in the name of religion or politics (or both). But it is our choice whether or not to enter the foray and take part in the attacks. It is our choice whether to put a seed down in that soil and allow it to grown, bearing sour or rotten fruit.
The volleys of hurt hurled my way can either be an excuse to throw some back, or a method by which God can teach me a better understanding how it feels to be the one who is hurt, thereby giving me a firsthand lesson of the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Then, hopefully, before I allow painful communication to cross my lips, I will stop and consider how it feels to be the recipient of such actions.
Remember, the bonsai has little soil in which to grow and thrive, but given proper care and attention, it will live for over a hundred years. It learns to bloom where it is planted.
Bloom where you are planted? First I should inspect my own fruit. Am I the one doing the hurting, or am I the one receiving the hurt? Or am I in a place of peace and freedom from hurt when I can gather my thoughts, clear my mind and take an inventory of where my life stands? What fruit am I meant to bear? In the world of gardening, it’s all about the soil and the root system. I am coming to understand that my life blooming and bearing the proper fruit works best when the soil is love, watered with forgiveness and fertilized with consideration of how my words, actions and deeds may affect others. I’ve got a long way to go. I may not be where I need to be, but thank GOD I’m not where I used to be!