Bloom or Bust?

They say hindsight is 20/20, but lately I have been wondering just how far behind me the incident must be for that perfect vision to kick in. Is it a week, two years, a decade? Please don’t tell me that it’s going to be more than a decade; I’m already wilting. My courage, strength, and faith are draining out of me like water from the bottom of a flower pot. I don’t see the “fruits of my labor” or the land “flowing with milk and honey.” Instead, I am tired and frustrated and losing momentum.

Many years ago, God spoke through the Psalm “delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” At first, in my youthful ignorance, I thought that meant that doing Bible studies, praying, and all those other “Christian” activities would make God happy with me. And a happy God would give me all of my dreams on a silver platter. Twenty years later, and I have adjusted to the fact – at least most of the time – that God is not my personal gum ball machine. I don’t just put a penny’s worth of prayer into my relationship with him and see sweet results.

Over the years, I have learned instead that keeping my focus on Him aligns my desires with His. The more I come to know Him, the bigger my faith grows in just how right His ways are for me. As a college student, multiple professors approached me with the same observation: you should be a teacher. I laughed. I shrugged them off. I promised over and over that I would never, ever teach. And then God laughed even harder. He began planting seeds of passion for serving, for helping, for guiding.   Those seeds that God sowed in me bore fruit – even when I truly believed they would not. I am now at the end of my 16th year in the middle school classroom – and I have 20/20 hindsight vision. God’s plan for me to be right here, right now, was orchestrated when I wasn’t even watching for it.

Why then, do I feel like he has planted seeds of a new dream, seeds of hope, and seeds of purpose but abandoned them to shrivel from lack of water? After these 16 years, he has spoken a new promise into my soul. There’s just one problem: he’s planted seed after seed after seed and nothing is blooming. The tiny grains of potential just rattle around in me. This new promise feels like one big bust.

This year, from the deserts of Death Valley to the lush forests of the Sierra Nevada mountains, hillsides have burst into what scientists call a “Super Bloom.” Sarah Gibbens, a writer for National Geographic, explained that “Dormant native wildflower seeds that have waited in the ground, sometimes for years” are now bursting “to life…blooming in unison” as a result of heavy rainfall. These dormant seeds that have been buried beneath arid soil through years of drought now paint the hills with breathtaking displays of color. Here I am, in the middle of God’s newest plan for me, and I realize that those seeds He has been planting in me over the past two years are like those dormant wildflower seeds. Buried deep into my spirit, they will only bloom in abundance when the conditions are right.

Perhaps God is waiting for me to learn and grow in my faith. Perhaps He is preparing a place for me to bloom. As I wait, as I work as though it all depends on me, I must trust that my vision of God’s orchestration will one day be perfect. Someday, whether it is two years or two decades, I have faith that I will look back at this time of drought and see all the seeds He planted and how each bloomed at just the right moment until my faith erupted into a super bloom of dreams realized.

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