If you’re active enough in the Pinterest realm, you’ve probably encountered this popular quote:
Grow where you’re planted.
It’s basically an admonishment; one that encourages us to see every place and stage in our lives – no matter how bad or unexpected – as an opportunity to learn and grow beyond our current standing.
If you’ve been attending any millennial church consistently enough, you’ve probably heard a different version:
You grow where you’re planted.
The premise is pretty much the same. When you intentionally commit yourself wholeheartedly to a space or place, and develop roots there, you will find the sustenance you need to grow into a better version of yourself.
Both versions are true. Both are valuable and applicable to our everyday lives. Both are essential to the Christian walk. But I have come to realize that neither will get you very far when it comes to maximizing your potential on this earth or achieve everything God created you to achieve.
See, more than simply grow, human beings were created to BLOOM.

/blo͞om/
[bloom]

noun
1. a flourishing, healthy condition; the time or period of greatest beauty, artistry, etc.
2. to flourish or thrive
3. to cause to yield
4. a state or time of high development or achievement
5. to mature into achievement of one’s potential
6. a condition or time of beauty, freshness, and strength
7. to change, grow, or develop fully

In Matthew 21 and Mark 11, the writers record an instance where Jesus finds himself hungry and spots a fig tree up the road. Being the Creator of the Universe, he knows full well that fig trees were created to bear fruit. And he knows the fact that this tree is fully grown meant that the fig tree should be chock full of fruit. So imagine his surprise – and outrage – when he walks up to the tree and finds nothing but leaves on it!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been feeling like that fig tree for a while now. Planted. Mature. And yet somehow still not seeing the kind of fruit that I should expect to see in my life at this stage. For a long time, I’ve chocked it up to waiting on God’s timing, or for divine direction. And I truly believe that there is a season for everything… but there comes a point where your lack of fruit says less about God’s timing and more about your own fears and hesitations. For every tree that is planted, there is a growing season, a pruning season, and then a season where the fruit of everything that has come before must show. And I truly believe that we are a generation of Christians that has become comfortable with growing, and possibly with being pruned, but is still hesitant when it comes to blooming and producing fruit.

I’m probably currently in the most uncomfortable season of my life – but all of creation has taught me that uncomfortability is a sign of great change. When I get uncomfortable, like an expectant mother in her final trimester, I know something great is about to be birthed. I know it will take much pain; and like a newborn, nurturing the dreams and visions I’m currently carrying will mean many sleepless nights and long days giving of myself with little in return. But I am reminded of God’s mandate to man at the beginning of time: ‘be fruitful and multiply’. I was created not just to grow, not just to survive, not to barely make do, but to use everything God has given me – all He has placed on the inside of me – to bloom. To bear fruit. To create change and shine a light in the places that need it most.

So I want to challenge you even as I challenge myself: let’s stop waiting for the right place or the right time. Let’s stop fearing the possibility of failure and let’s start embracing God’s promise of success when we commit the works of our hands to Him. Let’s start looking at the things He has entrusted to us not just as hobbies or simply things we are good at, but as valuable to creating change in our own lives, in the lives of others, and in bringing Him glory.

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to look at what it means to Bloom. We’ll talk about life and the fact that all living things must bear fruit; we’ll talk about liberty and the power we have to bear fruit; and we’ll talk about love: the grace to receive, and the wisdom to give of our fruit. I can’t wait to begin this journey with you all!