Sometimes, important realizations come from simple life experiences. Here’s what I learned from a plant about seeking out the sunshine in life.
It’s springtime! I love this time of year, when the sunshine actually means it’s probably warm outside and all the plants come back to life. There is something magical about watching those little buds unfurl into beautiful flowers of all sizes and colors.
Yesterday we went to the Tulip Festival that takes place near our home each year, and I was in awe of the variety and vibrance of the flowers that can be grown in one place. As I walked around the gardens with my family, the words of a favorite song of mine, “Consider the Lilies” came into me head. If you’ve never heard it before, take a few minutes to listen to it here. It will be time well-spent. I promise.
The song’s title comes from a verse of scripture in the gospel of Matthew:
“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin […] Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?”
With all the flowers around me, I started to think a little more about the lilies in that song and what the Lord was really trying to tell us by making such a comparison.
What I saw when I considered the lilies of the field:
I saw something small, simple and beautiful. I saw a creation of God…just as I am beautiful and created by God. Then, I considered how they grow, and I began to finally see what the Lord has been trying to teach me in these verses.
Three ways I want to be like a flower:
1. Lilies grow SLOWLY.
I am busy. I am a mom to two boys, with another on the way. I have church responsibilities, a household to run, blogging to pursue, and various and sundry other tasks that eat away at my time very quickly. Too often, I find myself running frantically from one task or activity to the next, trying to squeeze in as much productivity as I can. Too often, I get frustrated with myself for not being patient enough, efficient enough, thoughtful enough, friendly enough, organized enough, and a hundred other things.
But when I consider the lilies, I see how they grow slowly and methodically, focusing on the most important task at hand. They don’t get frustrated that they aren’t already blooming from the second their stems poke out of the soil.
It’s just like my little tomato seedlings that–over the past few weeks–have pushed up through the soil and begun to grow. It’s a slow process, but they don’t seem to mind. Plants are happy to take their time, to grow inch by inch (or milimeter by milimeter). Why then do I insist on rushing about, trying to accomplish vast amounts in a single day? Let us not rush. Let us be deliberate, but not “spin”.
2. Lilies REACH FOR THE LIGHT
Have you ever noticed that if you grow a flower in a window sill, it will often bend its head toward the window? In fact, to keep it growing straight, you have to actually rotate the pot regularly.
Flowers want to face the sunlight. They don’t “toil”, but they reach for the light with every bit of energy they have, knowing that it has life-sustaining power.
For me that’s the key. It’s when we turn our faces toward the Light of the World that we feel His warmth and grow in His love. Isaiah said, “let us walk in the light of the Lord” (Isaiah 2:5). How do we walk in His light? By spending time with Him, whether in prayer, meditation, scripture study, listening to peaceful music, or another way of connecting with deity. Let us take the time to focus on the Lord, to bathe ourselves in His light, and let him “clothe” us with the peace, patience, and perspective that comes from spending time with Him.
3. Lilies grow IN THE DIRT
Life is messy. Sometimes life is downright hard, and that’s okay. But I’m learning not to be afraid of the dirt…not to avoid it. Why? Because the dirt is nourishing.
All those muddy times when I feel lost, confused, and inadequate bring me closer to Him. They provides a place for my character and my spirit to grow and develop. It’s through my challenges that I become stronger, more capable, and more compassionate toward others around me. It’s because of the dirt that I am becoming more like Him.
Funny how God can teach me SO much through such a simple little flower.
This spring, as you go outside and look at the flowers, I hope you’ll think a little about how they grow. How YOU grow. And how maybe we can bring the two a little closer together.
Happy Easter everyone!