I’m not sure if any of you participate in the yearly “word” practice, but for the last two years I have. This year, as I sought the Lord as to what this year’s word would be, I heard blossom. I honestly thought to myself: blossom!? That can’t be right. Surely that’s not it. I continued praying for a few days into January asking for something new. Seeking the Lord on behalf of a new word, all I could hear over and over was blossom. Blossom. BLOSSOM. I thought some research to see how often the word was even in scripture would be helpful. After this search and discovery that it is in fact used throughout scripture I was a little more willing to accept it, but still I felt hesitant. Accepting the fact that the word for this year was blossom, it led me to think about the idiom, “Bloom where you are planted.” My guess is that most of you have heard it before. Not to worry if not. I guess it’s a thing people say. What I think I believe this to mean is: wherever you’re planted, bloom there. In my brain this looks like this: plant, BLOOM. It’s in an instant. I don’t see the work, the time invested, or the process. This distortion can be deadly. It turns to perfectionism, a critical eye, and discontentment. None of which I think Jesus meant when He offered the word blossom for 2019.
When confronted with our own sin, maybe even just our human-ness, our weaknesses, and our lack of instant “blooming”, it can potentially lead our thinking to be self-focused. It can even lead to self-condemnation. We might be asking questions or thinking curses like the following:
- Why haven’t I bloomed?
- Am I doing things wrong?
- Is there something I’m missing?
- Is God disappointed or frustrated with me?
- I’m always needing help.
- I’m not good enough.
Asking questions and examining our hearts isn’t wrong, but when the outcome of our actions is all we see, we may need to take a step back. Seeing ourselves through a critical lens is deadly. Looking at only what we DO is deadly. Idolizing performance leads to death.
In The Garden
I have a small vegetable garden in my back yard, and one evening recently I was sitting outside pulling weeds. This particular garden bed used to be full of monkey grass, and it’s super resilient, so this happens often. As I was pulling this grass up, I thought I should dig down some to make sure and get the roots, desperately hoping it wouldn’t come back again. The Lord began to teach me about perspective. He was giving me His eyes, so to speak…I pushed back dirt, more dirt, moved over some more dirt and there a few inches down was a blade of grass. It was already green, already growing and doing exactly what it was made to do. From above, all I had seen was a pile of dirt. It seemed as if I had already gotten all the weeds, but there this blade of grass was. Getting ready to sprout, blossom, become visible for all to see sometime soon. During this lesson He was teaching, I was led to read back through John.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”John 15:1-5 (ESV)
Jesus says that anyone who abides in Him, the True Vine, will bear much fruit. We will blossom. We don’t need to produce the blossoming which leads to fruit. We don’t need anything in ourselves, we need Jesus.
I need Jesus. You need Jesus. Apart from Jesus nothing will happen.
Any gardener would tell you the process of growth is much more like this: You plant a seed, the seed will sprout a root, the root sprouts a stem, it comes out of the dirt, a little leaf begins to show, another leaf, you fertilize this baby plant, you plant it in its pot or bed, you weed the bed around the plant, it grows and grows, it may need to be supported by stakes, you may have to spray with insecticide, and prune a limb that’s not flourishing, lots of watering, plenty of sunshine, and one day it will blossom, and the blossoms will bring the fruit.
Blossom is defined like this: 1) produce flowers or masses of flowers. 2) mature or develop in a promising or healthy way.
A seed that doesn’t go through the growth process is unable to produce flowers. Can you imagine with me for a moment what it would be like if a giant flower tried to grow out of a seed? I realize it’s comical, but it wouldn’t have a stem to uphold it for the time it would blossom. Or what if an apple tree had no trunk or limbs? The apples would be susceptible to all the bugs on the ground and would be eaten by worms well before they had ripened. Or what about a grand oak tree that didn’t have a deep and wide root system? The first strong wind would blow it clear over. The process is important. The process is vital for health.
In the same way, none of us can mature or develop in a healthy way if we aren’t abiding in Jesus. If we go about thinking and/or speaking curses over ourselves each day, looking only to produce, missing Jesus and what He says is true, we cannot blossom. If the point is to blossom, things get a bit wonky and we miss the real point. We begin to idolize the fruit. Or the growth. Or fill in the blank____. When really what we need to mature, grow, and blossom is to abide in Jesus. Jesus is the point.
Praise Him that we can come to Him anytime and change our choice! Praise Him that we aren’t the active agent in our growth, Holy Spirit is. Praise Him that He sees under the dirt far before we can! Praise Him that He speaks to us only with what is true! Praise Him that He gave us all we would ever need and promised to never leave or forsake us! Praise Him that He allows growth to be a process. Praise Him that the process He is completing in us is growth! Praise Him that He is making us look more like Him, the one and only perfectly healthy human there is.
If you have struggled with the process you are in, if you have believed lies about yourself or God, or have thought or said curses similar to the ones listed earlier, you can change your choice. You can break the curses in Jesus mighty name. You can speak life over yourself right now! You can turn your eyes to Jesus! You can ask Him to give you His vision!
Why haven’t I bloomed? Am I doing things wrong? Is God disappointed or frustrated with me? Is there something I’m missing? I’m always needing help. I’m not good enough.
If you agree and want to change your choice, would you pray with me?
Father, thank you that you are a good gardener. Thank you that in Jesus, the True Vine, we can flourish, blossom, and produce much fruit (John 15)! Please forgive me for agreeing with anything other than what you say about me. Please forgive me for looking to myself and not Christ. I break all the curses I have thought or said about myself (list these out specifically) in Jesus’ mighty name. I choose to agree with all that your Word says about me. (List out what is true.) I repent for taking my eyes off of you and remembering that without you nothing will happen. Holy Spirit would you wash me clean of any and all unrighteousness and fill me with your fruit (1 John 1:9)? Love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness, faith, self-control (Gal 5:22-23). Help me to always abide in Jesus and to focus on loving Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength (Matt 22:37). Help me to remember your grace is sufficient, and that your power is made perfect in my weakness (1 For 12:9). You get all the glory and honor and praise, God. You alone are worthy! I pray all of this in Jesus’ name. Amen!
“And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden,like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.”-Isaiah 58:11