For years I wanted to have my own flower garden; a place where I could sit and escape from life’s stresses and enjoy the beauty and fragrance. Now, I have one, but I don’t go there to sit and escape like I thought I would. Instead, I visit. I come home from my morning run (or walk, depending on how I’m feeling that day) and I traipse through the yard and stand there for a few moments to look at the garden before I get started with my day. It always brings a smile to my face.
The colors. The textures. The fragrance. Ah, the fragrance.
My favorite thing to do is to take leaves from my lavender plants, crush them in my hands, cup my hands to my face, and take deep breaths. So calming. Another smile, I can’t fight, grows across my face. I enjoy these few moments and then I go inside to tackle the duties of the day.
But today, I did something different. Instead of leaving my smile behind, I took it with me. I cut some of the lavender and hydrangea and I took them inside and arranged them in vases. And now the fragrance and beauty surrounds me. What I once enjoyed on occasion, I can now enjoy continuously.
Why did I not cut the flowers and bring them in before? I had always talked about it, but never did it because I was too afraid that my removing the flowers from their place of growth would destroy the plant or at minimum take a way from the beauty of the overall garden. Any experienced gardener, which I am not, would know that this is not the case.
Then it dawned on me, that there was a lesson to be learned.
Sometimes, God will give us gifts to do both small and great things. We appreciate the gifts. We may even be excited about the gifts, but instead of embracing them fully, we visit them and admire them on occasion. And then we walk away and choose not to put them to full use. We protect them, because we are afraid that if “we own” them and bring them inside, then we may somehow damage or destroy the beauty of what God intended them to be. In doing so, we prevent ourselves from enjoying all that God has for us.
Instead of operating in the fullness of God’s blessings, we hide them away for safekeeping.
Are there any gifts, talents or abilities that God has blessed you with that remain safe and sound, tucked away in the garden? If so, then maybe it’s time to bring them inside and put them on display. By bringing them inside, we embrace these gifts as a part of who God made us to be. By putting them on display, we operate in those gifts, thus making ourselves available to be used in extraordinary ways.
And guess what! As long as it is your season to utilize these gifts, the ones you take from the garden will keep growing back. You may even find that instead of looking scant, your garden will become even more full, beautiful and fragrant as you continue to draw from its abundance.
Don’t let fear cause you to miss out on what God has for you. Act now… before winter comes.
Photo (Flickr CC) by Josh Liba