Bloom where you are planted. My old small group girls are all too familiar with this phrase. It was the advice I always gave them, my nugget of wisdom, my mantra. One of them (I love you H) even used this as her senior quote in her yearbook and quoted me…bless her soul. I by no means came up with this quote, although it made me feel way too cool seeing my name at the end of a quote in a hard covered book. Rather, I heard it in a sermon given at the Joshua Wilderness Institute, a discipleship college I attended at 19. The speaker was instructing us that wherever God has us is where He wants us. He went on to explain that often times, we as Christ followers are just waiting for God to call us somewhere else or we are looking on to the next thing or the next stage of our lives to finally start doing what God has called us to do, when the truth is…we are right where we are supposed to be. For my high schoolers, that often meant that they were to finish school well, obey their parents and share God’s love to their classmates and friends. When I was in college, that meant that I didn’t have to wait until my degree was earned to start ministry but rather learn how to use my gifts in the local church. For singles, that can mean not waiting until you find “the one” to fall in love but choosing to embark on the adventure of seeking Jesus and falling in love with Him first. I could go on and on. It’s an easy concept to grasp in a flowery phrase that makes it easy to remember. The hard thing is actually doing it.
I think God burned this saying into my brain because He knew that I was going to need to cling to it. As I sit here, typing my thoughts away, I am in a new city, in a new home, at a new church and surrounded by new people. It makes so much sense to “bloom where you’re planted” when you are encircled by friends, family and loved ones. You know who to love, how to love them and there is already a relationship in place. It’s natural. Back in Long Beach I could call up one of my mom friends for a play date and not feel awkward about it. I could confidently point my small group girls in the right direction because I knew their story. I could invite over our friends to eat cheap pizza and just chill because I knew they wouldn’t judge me for my house being in shambles. It felt like I was blooming up a whole freakin’ garden in Long Beach! I was in a great place. I truly felt at peace and at home with all the deep friendships I was beginning to make. When we moved here, to San Jose, my world felt like it had come crashing down, like my garden was being ravaged. I rebelled against it at first, not allowing myself to take root, but God keeps bringing my heart back to this silly but true little saying…bloom where you are planted.
I kind of feel like Joshua and the Israelites as they made their way to the land flowing with milk and honey. God told them that He had a new home for them and it was far better than anything they could hope for. The Israelites just had to trust Him. At times it was very hard for them to believe this, like when they wandered through the desert for 40 years or when they had to go up against armies double and triple the size of their own. It was no easy feat getting to the promised land and they could not do it in their own power. God was the one leading them. God was the one fighting for them. God was the one who brought them home.
I resonate with this because if blooming where I’m planted was based on my own power, I would have given up before I ever started. God brought Josh and I here for a reason and I know He has plans to prosper us and not to hurt us…but guys, it’s hard. It’s hard putting yourself out there and trying to be a part of a whole new community when you are the outsider. That’s why I HAVE to choose to rely on Jesus’ strength, wisdom and peace to guide me. And just how God conquered all the different kings and vicious armies to get the Israelites to their home, I know He will conquer awkwardness, disingenuity and self-doubt to help me truly bloom where I am planted.