My friend Diane is an avid gardener with a special passion for flowers.
Her knowledge of her beautiful botanicals never ceases to amaze me.
And I’ll bet she could beat a botanist hands down in her
ever widening understanding of blooming trends and plant health. She’s even a whiz at memorizing the Latin names of all her plants.
For the past three springs now, Diane has filled my own flower gardens with new growth starts from her own plants. When something in her garden isn’t producing well, or gets out of control, Diane grabs her trusty spade and gets to work.
The result? Lots of interesting, new plants for me! Many of them are species I haven’t even seen before.
Last Sunday after church, Diane and I were talking flowers when she told me about some new varieties of echinacea that she had ordered. From there, she shared an interesting story about some of her existing plants that got me thinking about life.
Diane said that she was noticing that a patch of her lemon queen heliopsis or false sunflower was getting a bit to “comfortable” with itself.
And it wasn’t producing the kind of blooming display that she expected.
Now, that just wasn’t good enough for Diane.
_ She’s got some high standards for her flowering habitat and these particular plants weren’t making the grade. So, spade in hand, Diane started digging. Her goal was to hit the root hard and separate the plants – this would shock the big comfortable root ball so that it would send up the spectacular show she knew it was capable of.
When Diane’s husband saw her going at those flowers he stopped her saying, “Don’t do that, you’ll kill those plants.”
And it’s here that Diane explained her strategy. The heliopsis gets root bound, and it can’t produce because it is so hard and compacted. What you have to do, she said, is loosen it up so it can stretch its fibers and pull in new nutrients.
“It’s kind of like what God does to us from time to time,” she said. “He doesn’t like it when we get too comfortable, because then we don’t always produce. If we get comfortable, we sometimes think we’ve 'arrived' and we’re not yielding to be better and better.
“God sometimes digs in at our hearts, cutting out certain parts. It hurts when he does it – but boy does it make us grow.”
_ When Diane shared her analogy about her plants and God’s hand, I knew that I had a blog post coming on!
And, it was just a few days later that another good friend shared with me some struggles she was going through that reminded me of Diane’s story.
You see, my friend saw some changes up ahead in her life that made her feel, well, a bit prickly.
“Sometimes, I wish things would slow down,” she said, “but the Lord is always challenging me to not be comfortable. Instead, I feel He wants to strip me of anything that I can count on besides Him. Part of me wants to hold on to whatever I can, because I don't like the feeling of letting everything go.”
Have you ever felt like my friend? I know I have.
I tend to like things nice and cushy and somewhat predictable. But there are seasons when God seems to take out the big ol’ ladle and stir the soup aren’t there?
I read this recently in a blog post written by Ann Voskamp, author of the New York Times bestseller “One Thousand Gifts,” “Those who fully live, who live ecstatic lives of joy, embrace moving out of comfort zones. Ecstatic joy is found outside of static comfort zones. Because it’s moving out to where the Spirit moves. The Spirit is never static. Never standstill. Like the wind, the Spirit always moves. Joy is found in Him. ‘When God moves us out of our comfort zone — this is a gift.’”
Hmmm, getting comfortable with being uncomfortable can be a difficult road and sometimes it may even seem impossible.
But, I think it’s here where we begin to bloom.
Here are some Bible verses that'll help you on your journey:
Amplified Bible (AMP)
11Not that I am implying that I was in any personal want, for I have learned how to be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am.
12I know how to be abased and live humbly in straitened circumstances, and I know also how to enjoy plenty and live in abundance. I have learned in any and all circumstances the secret of facing every situation, whether well-fed or going hungry, having a sufficiency and enough to spare or going without and being in want.
13I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency].