God taught me a lesson in my garden this year and it is a reminder that things are not up to me. Better said, there are many things in life that are not my responsibility. This is not a cop-out, but rather a way to see the world through corrective lenses. Lenses formed and given to me by a loving Father so I could walk in this world with peace and joy.

First fact to know, I didn’t plant ANYthing in my garden this year. Nope, nothing, not one single thing. I merely allowed my perennial flowers do their thing. However, God thought I needed a little extra flare in my garden so He planted something for me. I say that He planted it because this plant grew where I had planted nothing and it is a type of plant that I have never grown in my yard before, nor have I seen it growing around our neighborhood. It is a random plant that God gifted me and I absolutely treasure it.

So, even though I didn’t plant it, I noticed it early in its growth cycle, mainly because I wanted to make sure it wasn’t a crazy type of weed. When it seemed to be harmless (not sure how I deemed it as such) I decided to start watering it. Well, it liked the water and grew and grew and grew. It is now over 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide. It has unique colored leaves so I have appreciated it the whole time it has been growing. I had been anxiously awaiting some type of bloom to help identify what it is and God did not disappoint. When it bloomed, these little “fluffy” tufts appeared and eventually turned into large tufts of vibrant red. Thus I have decided to call it my “burning bush”. The picture below does NOT do it justice, but at least you can SEE what I see and WOW with me!

20190927_173754.jpgThis bush (which I believe is a Celosia Plumosa – in case you’re a plant nerd, like me) seemingly came from no-where. It definitely did not come from my efforts/desires in any way. I did not make the choice to plant it in my yard, then go purchase the seed/plant, then physically plant it, and hope it would grow. Nope, I merely noticed it growing and thought, “Hmmm, that is a pretty plant, perhaps I should water it.” and viola! This gorgeous, blazing red plant eventually appeared.

This was a lesson to me that my talents and gifts are not in any way based on my efforts/desires. God has specifically designed me with gifts to display His Glory. He chose to put specific gifts in me before the foundation of the world. It stands to question then, what is my role with the stewardship of the gifts He has given me? I firmly state, my role is to “water” my gifts and be still to watch them come into the fullness He has designed. By “water my gifts” I mean to lean into Jesus, the Word of God, to dive into the Living Water Jesus spoke of to the Samaritan woman at the well.

John 4:13-14 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Now, by leaning into the water I don’t mean: Find every Bible study you can and just keep thirsting for head knowledge of God. I mean, lean into Jesus, get to know God, yield to Holy Spirit to allow His character to fill you and direct your steps. Basically I am saying, fall into the River of Life and Float. Allow yourself time to just BE with God. Sit in stillness, listen for His Voice and let His Living Water fill your spirit to overflowing.

This should not be a process of striving. My burning bush didn’t strive, it just stayed in one place and soaked up the water. My growth in my gifts does not depend on my efforts, it depends on God’s timing and my resting in Him. If I had uprooted my bush and moved it to another location, it would not be thriving like it is. Rather, by allowing it to just BE, it became a beautiful wonder.

Are you striving? Are you seeking the revelation of your gifts so fiercely you are missing the Giver of the gifts? Jesus came and defeated Satan so we could walk in Peace and Joy and Power in this life. If all you feel is Defeat and Angst and Weakness, I dare say, you are missing the point. God does not desire your over-worked, over-serving, over-filled schedule. He desires YOU. He desires a relationship with you and one of the “side-effects” of that relationship is Rest. If you draw near to Jesus, you will experience His Rest.

Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you REST.

If you are feeling exhausted, run down, over scheduled, I encourage you to STOP. Just stop then start to lean into God. Let Him tell you what He wants you to do and what He wants you to drop. That may not make sense at the moment, but trust Him and know that when you begin to draw near to Him, you will hear His voice and His Peace will begin to flow into you. You will be able to let go of what this world says you need to do in order to be worthy. Then, you will walk in the confidence of your worthiness in God’s eyes, knowing that He loves you, No Matter What. He even loves you if you read this, get convicted that you need to slow down and draw close to Him, then immediately walk away and forget this message, pouring yourself out for the world’s approval and leaning away from Him. He Loves You, Period! Lean into that love, my friend and let it water your spirit.

Blessings and Love,