The last few years were flower years.
I mean, literally, if you've come in my home in the last two years - you'll almost always find some kind of fresh flowers. I pick up 2 or 3 bundles each week at Trader Joe's, I'll get them from Whole Foods if we have some kind of special event or I'm feeling fancy. We even have a few photographer friends who drop bouquets by after a wedding, just because they're kind and they know I love the fresh flowers.
But figuratively - the last few years were flower years as well. I planted what felt like a million seeds: print shop! conference! speaking! church! kids! moving! friendship! friendship! friendship! And we saw some sweet little blooms pop up. But we also saw a lot wither. We saw that some things we planted weren't right for this season. I saw some seeds never come to fruition, even though I feel like I could picture how colorful and life giving the buds would be when they opened.
This past week I was working on my 2016 goals and going through my Powersheets and I feel like the Lord spoke really, really clearly to me about the coming year regarding one thing:
This year, is not a year of flowers. This is a year of deep roots and growing trees.
Almost immediately I saw different areas of my life sort of filtering into various areas: flowers in vases, house plants, and big trees. The flowers - they bring excitement and color and comfort and they're quick to develop. You buy the flowers, cut the stems, arrange the vases! Done! But they don't last long. They die, rather - they're already dead. It's not wrong to have them or spend time on them, but to spend hours and hours and months and months thinking on them - not the wisest. I see relationships for me that are a lot like flowers in vases, I see hobbies, snapchat, television, getting my nails done, and lots of little daily in and out rhythms that I have that are a lot like that. They're not all bad, but they're not making much of an impact, and they really shouldn't take a lot of my energy.
I also see different areas of my life that fall into the category of house plants. They're semi-permenant. Depending on how much of a green thumb you have - they're going to be around months to a few years. They bring life and a little bit of oxygen, and they take some daily care. But still it's important to remember that their impact is contained to their physical location. Houseplants don't grow roots and affect the land around them. You rarely take special trips to visit houseplants the way people might journey to see significant trees. They're good - but they're not eternal. And I could see areas of my life that are for sure houseplants: relationships that are life giving, but I know aren't lifelong. I see particular ministries I'm involved in that I'm called to tend to and shepherd, but keep my hands open about.
And lastly - for the first time in my adult life, I think I'm discerning some big old mighty oaks in front of me. This marriage. My kids. Our church. My body. These things? They're not going anywhere and if they did, if they died, the impact would be devastating. And they're growing, the fruit is there, but man - it's slow. It's a long game and it can take months or years to notice change. But if I ignore the oaks, if I spend all my hours playing with flowers - I'll have a serious problem on my hands.
So I am asking God to give me wisdom about each and every area of my life - my hobbies, relationships, rhythms, endeavors: what is a flower and what is here to stay? Where would He have me put my time and intention and passion? Can He give me the grace to appreciate the temporary, even interact with it, but not put all of my hopes or energy into it?
God would you show me what's a vase full of flowers, what's a house plant, and what's a big old tree. For your glory and Kingdom alone.