2020-09-09 - Let Go
The summer’s sunflower crop came on its own accord from seeds deposited in the flower box last fall. From their start, they seemed sickly, half-pint sized to colossal stature alike. It was a scorching hot and humid summer with unreliable increments of rainfall. Try as I might with plant food and regular watering, the bunch continued to appear frail while not giving up, with new ones opening frequently. Emerging in groups of two to four over the past few months, they somehow managed grand beauty despite obvious signs of a struggle. It was then that several larger blossoms finished their blooming cycle and slumped, reminding me of children with their heads hung down after being scolded. The stalks were still giving nourishment to the ones waiting to make their debut, yet still tightly drawn inward, although entire plants were so bent-over far enough it seemed their roots might give way. The only possible choice for me, as the caretaker of these beauties, was to snip off the former, making way for the ray florets and disc florets of the newcomers. As I finished cutting away the old from their stems, those yet to open launched upward like balloons released from a child’s hand on a breezy day-anchors lifted.
Is there anything in your life that once brought beauty, yet now seems like a weight on you (Hebrews 12:1)? Perhaps there is some way you spent your time that once had a specific purpose in your life, but now that has run its course. I gave thanks for each of the sunflowers coming to bring beauty and pleasure to my world, but knew it was time to focus on what was ahead, giving the plants the best chance to thrive and giving me the best chance to continue enjoying them. Similarly, I do not want to miss what God has in store for me next, yet I often feel like I am skilled at getting in my own way and not allowing him to prune away that which has served its purpose. You may feel that way at times, too. My best results come from focusing on what God’s plans - made in perfection in all the past, present, and future - set before us now and as described with other examples in his living word, the Bible. Each part of our journeys takes us where we can use our gifts and talents to make connections to others, who may be in search of the peace he can provide for them. Unlike the world we live in that defines our value by a job we do or a trade we share, identity as followers of Christ is about things not seen by others, as we go about doing jobs and sharing trades. It is about our attitude about what is most meaningful. It is about who and what leads us even when things are less than ideal, as well as moments we are on top of the world with joy. It is about the source of our joy, the spirit-filled soul provided by an eternally loving heavenly father. We each have a soul created individually for each person, designed for a specific purpose, and placed on a path of its own in conjunction with every other soul, for a divine plan of eternity. Each person’s part of that race has many legs to it, and we will continually have to remind ourselves to stop, throw off everything that hinders, and persevere in running this part of the race-until our part is through and we hand off the baton. (Hebrews 12:1) When we fix our eyes on Jesus, as we endure, knowing he understands our weariness and has felt it-our faith will carry us through it (Hebrews 12:2-3). God has promised to ease our burden and restore our souls as we trust him (Matthew 11: 28-30, NIV; Psalm 23:1-3). Like the sunflowers launching toward the sun, we, too, can let go of our cares and burdens-literally or figuratively speaking-and thrive for whatever time we are given. Are you ready to let go?
All verses are from the King James Version (KJV) unless otherwise noted.