I live behind a large house with a yard full of weeds. As part of my rent, I keep that property mowed for the landlady. It looks fairly decent most of the time. As I was mowing recently, I noticed a beautiful flower growing in the middle of this weed-filled yard. It was next to a tree, and I was careful not to mow it down. It occurred to me that I should dig it up and move it to the front of the house so others could see it.
But as I was thinking this over in my mind, the Lord spoke to me in my thoughts. “Leave the flower where it is. It brightens the area around it.”
But a plant that pretty needs to be seen, I thought.
“Digging it up and taking it out of its place may cause it to die.”
I winced as I remembered other times when I had relocated plants. I had replanted them where I thought they would do better…but none of them had survived the transplant. I should have left them right where they were and applied more nutrients instead.
And then I thought about how often I’ve felt like I needed to be transplanted somewhere else. I’ve looked around and not liked where I was. I felt isolated from God and became anxious for change. Usually when that happens, I want to dig myself up and replant myself somewhere nicer—in greener pastures where I think I’ll be more fruitful, more beautiful and, if I’m candid, more seen. But I fail to see how much I am needed where I am and how much God is using me there.
Now don’t get me wrong. Change can be good. But for change to be successful, it needs to be orchestrated by God and not by our selfish desires. Otherwise, our impulsive actions can make a situation worse. I’ve learned that lesson the hard way.
If you study the life of Jesus, you’ll see that He was not impulsive, nor did He ever fall into panic mode. He always exhibited a calm strength as He sought the Lord’s will and His words. He was patient and stayed where God had put Him until God led Him to a new place.
I’m learning to exercise more caution these days and to apply more patience before I act. When I get frustrated where I am, I get on my knees and ask God what He wants me to do. Then I ask Him for the patience to help me wait for His answer and stay within His plan.
But I’ll admit—sometimes it’s difficult to wait on God.
Impulsiveness is a trait of our sinful nature. Yes, we must improvise at times, but we should wait to move until the Holy Spirit quickens us to act.
That day in my yard, I left that solitary flower alone like God told me to, and it’s flourishing. When I look over my backyard, my attention is immediately drawn to the beautiful white flowers blooming from that one faithful plant. Its beauty outshines all the ugliness around it.
Are you desperate for a new location? Do you feel isolated and alone where you are, not fruitful at all? Ask God to give you the strength to stay where you are and to bloom where you’re planted.
Let Him use you to bring beauty to this world right where you are—even if you’re in the ugliest of places.