By: Tessa Valadez
“Bloom where you’re planted,” a friend told me. I narrowed my eyes at the idea. She continued, “God calls us to that, and it’s incredible to see what he can do when we stick around and decide to bloom instead of uproot ourselves every time we get a tad uncomfortable.” I nodded. Yeah, it made sense. I kicked a pine cone, watching it scatter across the crunchy park grass as we strolled and spoke. I have a hard time staying rooted when the going gets rough. At least, in my mind.
This entire year, from August until now, has been a tad uncomfortable. I’ve been pushed off of my La-Z-Boy comforts and tried to return, only to find my recliner launching me out of my seat once again. This is all metaphorical, of course. I don’t really have a recliner that launches me into the next room until a wall stops my attempts at flight.
The thing is, I’ve been trying to not only embrace whatever lies outside the comfort zone — Scar’s Prideland where the hyenas mock — but actually ask God if I could possibly bloom in a Wasteland. I find the desire to cross into the discomforts because
I want to bloom.
Jesus explains it so perfectly when he describes himself as a vine, God the true vinedresser, and us as the branches. He says, “Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit… As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me” (John 15: 2 + 4).
I’ve been under some metaphorical hot sun and pruning, and let me tell you — that’s the worst kind, because you don’t walk away with a sunburn and a missing appendage, but the work done disturbs the roots. My current “hot sun” right now has been managing time in the workplace. And yet, the Holy Spirit is so faithful as a Helper. He speaks truth to me. “Abide in Me,” he reminds me. God also promises us that his grace is enough to give us strength for the day, because his strength is truly made perfect in our weakness. God has been calling me to himself, but he has to get me outside of myself first.
That’s what my comfort zone has been: a planetary system in which all floating orbs of delight float around my ego. So that creates tension if I, as an individual, have claimed to let Christ be my Lord. I’m not supposed to be the Sun — the Son is (see what I did there). From the inside looking out I only saw Scar’s minion hyenas laughing in my face as they picked their teeth with the bones of the last victim; but once Courage drew my foot to the threshold, I found an adventure awaiting me. I am in the middle of adventure now — even if it looks like deadlines, lesson plans, and battling allergies.
God is giving me life and life abundantly, but I cannot realize it until he takes my hand and pulls me out of the La-Z-Boy. He has been pruning me because he has grafted me to a healthier Vine. He’s out of this world and has called me to His own system (I’m trying to tie my little loose ends together) — He is the I Am. He has equipped me and strengthened me for each task.
Let the pruning commence.