Photo by Evan Kirby on Unsplash
You’ve likely heard the saying, ‘Bloom where you’re planted’.
I learned the importance of this principle years ago in our first church pastorate through the testimony of a young girl. I distinctly remember the impression that the Lord left on my heart through this girl’s testimony. After a yearlong excursion overseas as a part of her extended education, she shared with our congregation that, sadly, she spent the first half of her year homesick, complaining, moping, and missing everyone and everything from back home. However, half way through the year the Lord got a hold of her heart and she realized that if she didn’t gather herself and make the best of the rest of her time, she’d completely miss out on the once-in-a-lifetime experience.
At that time, my husband and I were seeking God’s will discerning leaving our first and long-time place of ministry to explore another part of God’s vineyard. It was as exciting as it was petrifying! Thankfully, I duly noted the words of my young friend. I knew that wherever the Lord led us I’d better make the best of it from the moment I set foot on the soil if I wanted to experience all He had in store for me.
You see, our tendency when we’re entering new territory is to cling to the past, to fall back into old patterns, crave the familiar and that which we found our sense of security and well-being in.
We tend to be like the children of Israel as they considered the daunting Promised Land ahead of them. Although they were told that it was flowing with milk and honey, all they could see were the giants in the land! Instead of taking the risk toward “new” and “different” fear kept them captive and craving those good ol’ leaks and onions. Did they realize they were yearning to go back to slavery?!
Several years and a few more ministry moves later, here I am at this same place again. I listen once more to the wise advice of a teenager, which echoes in my heart—to bloom where I’m planted. As always, it’s been a very scriptural journey. My prayer on this leg of my journey has been based upon Psalm 107:35-3—to reap a fruitful harvest as my husband and I serve the Lord in this new community. So, it’s no surprise that just for emphasis, the Lord, in His often humorous way of answering my prayer, has planted me in none other than ‘Blossom Park’. No joke! I almost choked when I saw the road sign welcoming me to my new neighbourhood!
So what does it mean to bloom where we’re planted? While I won’t claim to have perfected it, experience has taught me a few pointers that you might find helpful as you work towards blooming where you’re planted:
- Don’t waste time wishing for yesterday. Watch for new opportunities today!
- Join a group: fitness, Bible study, walking club, etc.
- Embrace your new environment—good and bad.
- Walk and pray through your new neighbourhood and community. Pray for people you get to know. Pray for opportunities. Pray God will use your home as a lighthouse and a haven.
- Take the initiative. In other words, don’t wait for life to happen, make it happen!
- Don’t wait for the welcome wagon—hitch up your own! Go door to door and introduce yourself. Let them know you’re new to the neighbourhood and thought you’d drop by to introduce yourself.
- Be a good neighbour—shovel snow, rake leaves, mow lawn, deliver a meal or cookies.
- Provide hospitality – No muss. No fuss. A simple coffee will do!
- Host a party! Even something like: Tupperware, Party Lite or Steeped Tea
- Be intentional. Go out of your way to meet people and to engage in activities. This gives you a sense of purpose in your new environment.
- Now here’s a foreign concept in a day and age of cellular cyber communication: Say “Hello” and maybe even engage in meaningful conversations with: the cashier at the local grocery store, the mailman, dog-walkers, people at the park, etc.
- Visit your local CAA and ask for maps of your new city. Better yet, as you make friends, ask them to give you guided tours, advice on where the best shopping is, what restaurants they’d recommend, where the nearest amenities are.
- Make yourself at home!
Blooming where you’re planted requires sinking your roots down into the soil of wherever the Lord leads you, for no matter how long you’re there. It means navigating and claiming territory and often on someone else’s turf. Yikes! So while you make yourself at home, be sensitive to those around you.
As I plant myself here in Blossom Park, the desire of my heart is to bloom where I’m planted. I want to be a pleasing aroma of Christ (2 Cor. 2:15). I want people I meet to see Jesus in me. I want people to identify the Fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 2:20). I want to produce fruit that will last into eternity (John 15:1-20). I want to extend the hope of new life that comes with spring in a world that lives in hopeless and perpetual winter. I want to make the most of every opportunity (Col 4:5) as I serve in my new corner of the Lord’s vineyard.
The wilderness and the desert will be glad, And the Arabah will rejoice and blossom; Like the crocus it will blossom profusely and rejoice with rejoicing and shout of joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They will see the glory of the LORD, The majesty of our God. (Is. 35:1-2, NASB).