“Bloom where you’re planted” once meant make the best out of a bad situation, like the cliché “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”
When I was growing up, the viewpoint was: “If you make A’s in math and science, but C’s in history and geography, then focus on history and geography. It is understandable if your math and science homework suffers.
If you are a gourmet cook, but not such a great housekeeper, devote more effort to the housework and simplify your meals.”
There is a new philosophy taught now: Build on your strengths.
Do what is necessary to improve in your deficient areas or hire someone else with the skills you lack. Spend your time on what you love, like yard work.
Stop wasting hours; hire someone else to download the software on your computer, if computers are not what you like.
“Bloom where you’re planted” now means “Choose to thrive and excel in a few things.” Instead of being good to average in everything, blossom and grow in your gifts and talents. Most of this thinking focuses on skills and aptitudes. I want to apply this freedom to shine to the area of temperament. We will flourish when we choose to rejoice in our God-designed personalities.
“Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear.” (John 18:10, ESV)
Sure, if Peter had thought before he acted, he might not have cut off the servant’s ear, but then he probably would not have walked on water, either. (Matthew 14:28-29, ESV)
A tendency that appears to be a deficit may also be our strongest asset.
“(Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.) . . . he said, ‘Listen to my words: “When there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, reveal myself to them in visions, I speak to them in dreams. But this is not true of my servant Moses; he is faithful in all my house. With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles. . .” ’ ” (Numbers 12: 3, 6-8, NIV)
Moses’ lack of self-confidence led him to argue with God about his ability to lead the Israelites to freedom (Exodus 3, 4); however, it also gave him an incredible blessing.
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20, ESV) Paul was never one to give partial effort.
In everything he did, he gave mind, soul, and body. He illustrates what it means to be “sold out to Jesus.”
“But Ruth replied, ‘Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.’ ” (Ruth 1:16-17, ESV)
God rewarded that dedication to Naomi, Naomi’s God and later Boaz, by choosing Ruth to be the great-grandmother of King David.
“Hallelujah! I will praise the LORD with all my heart in the assembly of the upright and in the congregation.” (Psalm 111:1, HCSB)
Whether praising God, cursing his enemies, or crying out for forgiveness, David communicated the emotions of his heart in his songs. What if he had chosen to keep his feelings bottled up?
“I said in my heart, ‘I have acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me, and my heart has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.’ And I applied my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but a striving after wind. For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.” (Ecclesiastes 1:16-18, ESV)
Solomon lacked the acceptance that only God knows all; therefore, he did not appreciate his disposition to learn. However, his examination of life provided us with Ecclesiastes and Proverbs.
God infuses each of us with qualities that reflect His glory. Yet sometimes when we flourish, we risk being misunderstood and becoming a target for ridicule. Therefore, some choose to hide their unique traits from the world (Matthew 5:15-16), not meeting their potential. When compared to the benefit described by Paul, the world’s judgment is inconsequential.
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)
So live with abandon, celebrate your God-given style, enjoy your quirkiness, and bloom where you’re planted.
- Are you blooming into God’s beautiful creation?
- What is keeping you from accepting your temperament?
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