Friday, September 2, 2016

NOT THE YEAR FOR FLOWERS


Almost immediately upon my diagnosis, I received flowers. I have the most generous friends. They were some of the most beautiful flowers I've ever seen. Almost immediately I saw different areas of my life sort of filtering into categories of house plants: flowers in vases, house plants, and big trees. The flowers - they bring excitement and color and comfort and they're quick to develop. You buy the flowers, cut the stems, arrange the vases! Done! But they don't last long. They die. It's not wrong to have them or spend time on them, but to spend hours and hours and months and months thinking on them - not the wisest. I see relationships for me that are a lot like flowers in vases, I see hobbies, social media, television, getting my nails done, and lots of little daily in and out rhythms that I have that are a lot like that. They're not all bad, but they're not making much of an impact, and they really shouldn't take a lot of my energy.

As for house plants. Like my Snake plant and my Ivy. They're semi-permanent. Depending on how much of a green thumb you have - they're going to be around months to a few years. They bring life and a little bit of oxygen, and they take some daily care. But still it's important to remember that their impact is contained to their physical location. Houseplants don't grow roots. You rarely take special trips to visit houseplants the way people might journey to see significant trees. They're good - but they're not eternal. And I could see areas of my life that are for sure houseplants: relationships that are life giving, but I know aren't lifelong. I see particular commitments and/or hobbies I'm involved in that I'm called to tend to and shepherd, but I question their shelf life.

And lastly - for the first time in my adult life, I think I'm discerning some big old mighty oaks in front of me. This marriage. My kids. Our church. My health. These things? They're not going anywhere and if they did, if they died, the impact would be devastating. And they're growing, the fruit is there, but man - it's slow. It can take months or years to notice change. But if I ignore the oaks, if I spend all my hours playing with flowers - I'll have a serious problem on my hands.

So I am asking God to give me wisdom about each and every area of my life - my hobbies, relationships, rhythms, endeavors: what is a flower and what is here to stay? Where would He have me put my time and intention and passion? Can He give me the grace to appreciate the temporary, even interact with it, but not put all of my hopes or energy into it?


God would you show me what's a vase full of flowers, what's a house plant, and what's a big old tree? 


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