“And consider the lilies of the field…(Matthew 6:28) They grow where they are planted. Many of us refuse to grow where God plants us. Therefore, we don’t take root anywhere. Jesus said if we would obey the life of God within us, He would look after all other things (Matthew 6:25)…If we are not, it is because we are not obeying the life God has given us and have cluttered our minds with confusing thoughts and worries.” ~ Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
Once upon a time, not too long ago, this phrase would have been about me. Instead of emulating the deep-rooted Lily, I was more like a wandering vine that would wrap itself around a host until the season ended, then proceed to die out. Only to pop up somewhere new when the ground started to warm up again. As I read this passage, I sensed the Lord wanted me to share it and a bit about some life experiences – prior to being rooted in Him.
Before I recommitted my life to God I never felt settled, anywhere. I would fall in and out of love with every new town I visited and go back to where I actually lived, with ‘dances-of-moving-there’ floating through my head. This was a loud, destructive stream of distraction in my life. I thought it was normal. It is not. This constant state-of-confusion lent itself to other areas; for as I saw it, life was full of options and I wanted to taste them all.
Since I had allowed my life to be in constant motion (i.e. commotion), it stayed in motion (Physics 101). It then began to spin out of control. I came to the realization that I had to somehow slow down the tilt-a-whirl I was riding, before it spun out of control, flinging me off. My answer to this the first couple of times was moving away from what I thought was the problem. (I thought the problem was where I was and not who I was.) This, of course, was a temporary solution: for each time I would relocate, it seemed as though “the stars would align” as all worked in my favor…for a season. Then, after some time, something would happen and I would end up moving back to where I came from.
The last time I relocated, literally across the country, the honeymoon was over pretty quickly. Yet, I was determined to keep my chin up and stay in forward motion, not allowing these maladies to stop me from succeeding and being happy. However, as the pile of unfortunate events grew, so did the sense that I had made a mistake: I had desperately wanted to believe that I was supposed to live in this place – it was my “dream” city. I wanted to believe that the doors which opened for me to get there were “signs” of confirmation. This was both a lie I was being fed, and a lesson from which to learn. (Proverbs 7:11-12 “(She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house: Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.)
I was forced to return, once again, to the place which I did dread; head hung low, all my shadows in tow. I fell into what seemed like an abyss…but thankfully Joy found me. Because even in the deepest depths of the ocean, there is a light source shining out from the least likely place – from within the fish.“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…this little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!” (From “This Little Light of Mine” by Harry Dixon Loes). God uses the most unlikely of situations or things to reach us; even providing light by which to see in the darkest places or times of our lives…
After this downfall, and many years astray, I recommitted my life to Christ. Not quite a year afterward, I went back to that place that I had once been so enamored with, for a two-week visit. I was there to help a friend who needed a hand and to also (finally) have my belongings moved back across the country. I recall waiting for all the excitement I used to feel during my many vacations, and every day while living there, to resuscitate themselves: it never happened! Did I enjoy being there, absolutely. Did I have the desire to stay? No. I pondered this one day and started to piece together what I had learned through my Bible studies. I suddenly received revelation about the spiritual issue behind my wanderlust. Apparently, a spiritual healing had occurred in my life; one that I hadn’t noticed transpiring.
By rooting myself in the promise of the Cross, Christ’s love and grace had quenched that unquenchable thirst within: the constant need for more, more, more. I’m not saying I no longer like to experience new things and places, I do, very much. However, I began to appreciate where God had placed me. It became obvious to me that the chain of events that led me to where I reside, and those which kept sending me back, was God’s will over my life. This is where he wanted me to be all along; where he intended to use me for His unique purpose.
I had begun a literal transformation from: “The god* of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” 2 Corinthians 4:3-5
To: “For God*, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:5-7
By allowing Christ Jesus to plant himself firmly into my heart and spirit, my mind has been transformed to His higher way of thinking and living. This allowed me to stop seeking distractions to fill what had been depleted; instead, learning to let Him do this for me. By being transformed: mind, body and spirit, I was able to focus on what God wanted – where he wanted me to be and why. Hence, finally becoming rooted in the plot where He intended to grow me (yes, that is right –He grows me) and where He intended that I yield fruit; providing all that I need in order to do so.
It’s been an amazing few years: For the first time in my life I feel deeply rooted-satisfied to stay in one place. I have been tried, and with the help of Christ Jesus, have overcome the temptation to flee to “greener pastures.”
(*god and God are not the same: god (lower case g) is not the God in heaven rather a man-made god such as Buddha, paganism, hedonism, humanism, Hinduism… Only where you see God (upper case G) does that refer to The Almighty.)