Where are you looking?
This is a question I have been wrestling with for the past few weeks. It is REALLY front and center after attending my first day of the Northwest Flower and Garden show yesterday and where my life is right now.
I love gardening. I love learning. I love getting other people excited about gardening; especially edibles. I feel like I belong when I'm around other gardeners. Wait. I also become really intimidated very quickly when they all know SO MUCH MORE than I do.
I feel like being an edible gardener; an "urban farmer" (according to current culture) is what God has called me to do for many years now. I love spending hours and hours outside with my hands in the soil. I get excited when I see a plant "come alive again" each spring, at the sight of new buds on what look like dead twigs, noticing that a seed I planted has burst through the soil... I love caring for my plants, weeding, watering and harvesting. Who doesn't love a basket full of fruits and veggies that you've grown? There is nothing that compares to tasting freshly harvested produce from your own garden!
I have anticipated the Garden Show's arrival for weeks now. Full of joy, enthusiasm and anticipation, I headed to the show yesterday. At the first workshop, Gathering: Memoir of a Seed Saver by Diane Ott Whealy, I was encouraged and touched by her story. And, being her last book signing, I asked a question, "What degrees do you and your husband have? Horticulture? Botany? Genetics? Masters? PhD? You've done such amazing work." Her reply, "We are amateurs." My heart was greatly encouraged! What a great way to start the day.
As my time at the show progressed, I continued to be quite excited! I attended Rosalind Creasy's edible landscaping working, which was tremendous and taught me my "next steps" to take in my gardening adventure. Next, it was on to Willi Galloway's Trellis workshop for more learning and "growing" in my garden education. And finally, Bill Thorness' cool season vegetable gardening. A phenomenal workshop and so perfect for northwest winter gardening! I can hardly wait for his new book to be published next year. I left feeling energized and ready to move my gardening to a whole new level. What a great day!
After being home and away from all the show excitement, I began thinking about how well these gardeners have excelled at what they do, how they are able to touch so many lives through gardening and share their passion with others. They have been blessed with great achievements in their endeavors. I began to compare myself to them. And, then compared myself to other speakers I haven't even heard yet. Each one doing "great things" for edible gardening and sharing their passion with others. I began to think about other garden and food bloggers who have a talent for writing and sharing ~ and feeling my own skills greatly lacking in that department... Why can't my journey be as successful as theirs? Why does it seem that I'm always sharing the resources that others have put together? Why am I always the "assistant"; the "one who enables others to go after their dreams"? Why am I always the "encourager"; the one who passes along "blessing" to others?
As I write this, my hope is that you can see an important pattern developing. God has created each person with a path; a journey He has for that specific person. A plan and a purpose for each person's life. So often, we feel that others are more blessed or got a better "job assignment" from God than we did. Maybe you're quite content with what God is doing, or has done, in your life. But, this is an issue I continue to wrestle with.
Do you see how quickly my focus changed from great excitement and embracing all I was learning to feeling insignificant and less worthy because I compared my journey to others. I had taken my eyes off of God; stopped listening to what He was speaking to me. Instead of focusing on all He was teaching me through others, I got side-tracked into "theirs vs mine". It's easy to do. We've all done it from time-to-time. So thankful I quickly realized I was heading down the wrong path (ugh - again) and refocused before I return to the show again.
Day-by-day and step-by-step, I will follow You, Lord! May You grow my garden and my life according to Your plans and purposes and may you bless me to be a blessing to others... May each one of us listen to Your voice and keep our focus on You!
"So Peter turned around and saw the disciple Jesus loved following them... When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, "Lord - what about him?" John 21:20-21
The first thing you do after God speaks to you is critical. Jesus was telling Peter what type of ministry he would have and what type of death, he would suffer (vv18-19). It was a sacred moment in Peter's life, as his Lord pulled back the curtain to his future. His was not to be an easy life, but a life ordained and blessed by his Lord and Master.
Rather than responding to what Jesus told him, Peter looked around at his fellow disciples. His glance fell upon John, the disciple whom Jesus loved. "But Lord, what about this man?"Peter asked. Peter had just been given the somber news of his future death. How natural to compare his assignment with that of the others! This is the great temptation of God's servants: to compare our situation with that of others. Did God give my friend a larger house? Did God heal my friend's loved one and not mine? Did God allow my friend to receive appreciation and praise for his work while I remain anonymous? Did God allow another Christian to remain close to her family while I am far removed from mine?
Jesus assigned Peter and John to walk different paths, but both Peter and John have enriched our lives. Jesus knew how dangerous it is when a servant takes his eyes off the master to focus on a fellow servant. Where is your focus? Have you become more concerned with how God is treating someone else than you are with how He is relating to you? ~ January 31; Experiencing God Day by Day.
Good food for thought. Great seed to plant in your life and allow God to grow!
Abundant blessings upon your day and in the week ahead. Join me again, next Thursday, as I pause to consider that which God brings into my life.