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Bloom Where You’re Planted

    At what age did you first learn that the world was not perfect? For most of us, the lesson comes early on. Maybe it was the first day of school. Remember how your mother set you up for what a wonderful day it was going to be? But on that first day, a giant first-grader named Herman pushed you down and sat on you for five minutes, and the teacher didn't seem to think you were nearly as cute as your grandmother did.

    You learned it quickly. There are things in the world that are defective, and as time goes on, you keep learning it. High school wasn't perfect either, and neither was college. Your boss on the first job was defective in a lot of ways, and accounting isn't perfect and business isn't perfect, and neither is law or medicine — or even ministry. The church is surely not perfect.

    Now face it — whether it involves career or faith or marriage or church or whatever, our first instinct, when we find ourselves in an imperfect situation or facing something defective is to bravely say, "Get me out of here!" Two words that can fall like seeds into our life and take root and almost destroy us are, "if only". "If only I had not taken this job...if only I hadn't majored in business...if only I had not married him/her...if only I had..." and you fill in the blank.

    You are where you are so you might as well find and bring out the best in the situation. Bloom where you are planted! Any bad situation can be turned around for good, if a person responds in the right way. A psychologist once interviewed two young men, brothers, whose father had been a hopeless alcoholic. The expert was astounded to find that one son had become a teetotaler and the other a drunk. "How did this happen?" he asked both men. And strangely, both gave exactly the same answer. "What could you expect with a father like mine?"

    Describe your own upbringing, your own faith, your own job, your own life. Defective? Imperfect? Of course, but you can make it what you will. Don't dream about some perfect job somewhere or some perfect marriage somewhere or some perfect church somewhere. Bloom right where you're planted! Start in with whatever raw material you have to work with, and change what is defective.

    Perhaps Reinhold Niebuhr's prayer says it all for all of us in whatever imperfect circumstance we occupy: "God, grant me the courage to change that which should be changed, the serenity to accept that which cannot be changed, and the wisdom to know the difference." Give us the power to Bloom where we're planted!

    For His Cause,
    Tim Woodward