“Bloom where you are planted,” “The grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence,” “love the life you live,” “you are here for a reason,” and on and on….So why all of the cliche lines? Because they hold weight. Because they are true. Because they are keys to happiness. Because they are, in other words, God’s word…”Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. It’s all about being joyful in all seasons, circumstances and situations in your life. Now, don’t confuse joy for happiness. There is a difference. Learn it. Don’t forget it. Joy is being thankful to God them rough all circumstances, good or bad. It is holy, it is a spiritual mindset. Happiness is fleeting. It can come and go like passing butterflies. It is earthly. Happiness is an emotion, joy is the state for your heart and spirituality. Things can make you happy…a delicious meal, that cute new pair of shoes you have been eyeing for months, finding a $20 bill you left in your coat pocket last winter…all happy things, but not made of joy. Seeing God in a tiny baby, even if that baby wakes you from sleep 3 times a night and you are dog tired. Praising God when you get a flat tire on the side of the interstate and had to spend $300 on a new tire (that you would have rather saved or spent elsewhere) because you didn’t have a blowout in the interstate and wreck. Seeing Gods work in all of the little things, the sad things, the heartbreaking, tragic things. And on the flip side…seeing Gods work in all things beautiful and happy. See…there is the difference. You can have joy in happiness and sadness. With both sides of that emotional coin, there is still joy.
Through my life I have struggled with seasons of unhappiness. Let’s face it, we all do and we always will. It’s a harsh reality. But that’s life. (Sore but the truth hurts). In the past I wasn’t happy with a group of friends I associated myself with, I wasn’t happy because I had a job I didn’t like but had to have to pay the bills, I got in over my head in certain situations, I wanted to hurry up the season of my life to get onto the next, seemingly better future. I wasn’t happy in a relationship I was in, I struggled with my self image (picking out every little flaw I had), I questioned my future, and at times I veered off of a path to a deeper relationship with the Lord. Why? Why all of these things along the way, from time to time, in my past 30 years? Did I have life all wrong? In a sense, yes. Do I have it all figured out now? Hahaha…I laugh at the thought of possibly having it all together. It seems so foreign to me.
In the age of social media, all I see are perfect pictures, tiny snap shots, of people’s perfect life. Hahaha…that makes me laugh to even write that. Who has a perfect life? NO ONE!!! Again, I repeat NO ONE!!! It may seem that way on Instagram (will you even know what Instagram is when you are old enough to read this?). These perfectly styled photos that have taken time to set up and arrange, no telling how many shots were taken to get the “perfect one” and how long it took them to edit them in their photo editing apps. Whew…exhausting just thinking about it. Yes, the images can be inspirational…they can give you goals to aspire to. They can help inspire artwork or help you hone your craft. They can teach you new things about the world or open your eyes to new corners of our magnificent globe. Images from others can break your heart for a ministry God calls you to, or can help inspire a walk of people. Social media can be a fantastic inspirational tool and can be used to further the kingdom of God. But there is a flip side. It can be hurtful and negative. Not just from someone on the other side of keyboard spewing hateful words (that’s a whole other topic), but those “perfect images” can fill your heart and mind with self doubt. Now I’m not just limiting this to social media. Self doubt can creep in from anywhere. It can even be conjured up by you, in your own mind. Self doubt is the worse.
So why all of the corny cliche lines? Because the grass ISN’T greener on the other side. RECOGNIZE THAT! What is its grass that is only green seasonally, for only a short time and then it’s dead. What if it’s Astro turf? Fake, plastic and nothing natural, soft, living or evolving? What if it’s high maintenance grass? Requiring it to be cut, fertilized and maintained more than your own grass. Wouldn’t you get burnt out on that grass? What if it is a sensitive, fragile species of grass that one wrong move could kill it all? What if it is grass that is like the tree in the Garden of Eden that bears forbidden fruit? Beautiful and tasty for a time, but if partaken on by you, can cast you out for a lifetime of hard labor?
What about your own grass? What about the grass on your side of the fence? What about the grass under your own feet? Have you watered it? Fertilized it? worked hard to make it grow lush and green? Isn’t your grass enough? Bear with me here…but hasn’t the Lord given you the grass under your feet for a reason? Simply, yes. You are meant to be where you are in your life for a reason. The more years you accumulate the more you can look back on life and see, in hindsight, the reason you were where you were and for what purpose you were there…which leads me to me next point…to bloom where you are planted.
Did I plan on moving back to my hometown (Bossier City) after college? NO! NOW WAY! I was on a fast track out of here! I thought the grass was greener in Dallas. I had my own plan. Turns out, that other grass on the other side of the fence was filled with a terrible recession, job loss, no money, and who knows what else what have come from it. The Lord kept me here for a reason…to meet Daddy. And even after we met, I still planned to move away, until I feel in love and only wanted to be where he was. So since God planted me here, I decided to stop sulking about it (because I still wasn’t happy about it) and bloom! Now, I am still working on blooming, I think you re-bloom continuously though each season of your life, but how amazing it is to recognize my purpose where I am and seize the day! I am LOVING The life I live, even if I couldn’t have imagined it for myself. There are probably bigger and better things out there some people might think, but they are not bigger and better for me. The Lord has called me to this mission field now, here in Bossier City and with my babies and husband. There is no greater work I could do unless God would make those provisions for me. I know that if I were to follow a plan not set before me by the Lord, it would not cultivate a lush, green grass and it certainly wouldn’t glorify Him.
My prayer for you, my kiddos, is to joyfully love every season in your life. Know that in both the valleys and mountain tops of your life, joy can be found! Being happy and content with yourself is key. There is absolutely nothing wrong with trying to better yourself, pushing yourself to go further, and learning new things, but do not get tangled up in the need to be someone you are not or who someone else tells you that you need to be. Recognize, cultivate, and use your God given talents! He chose you for those talents for a reason! And be joyfully blooming in your own grass!!!
With my whole heart,