A couple of weeks ago, when I was re-arranging my patio, I noticed my Ixora plant not only had lost it’s blooms, but it was so dry and brittle, there was no sense keeping it. It also had a broken branch that I should have pruned off, but instead, I decided to prop it’s branch on my Hibiscus plant, and hit it with Miracle Grow just to “see what happened”.
Well, to my amazement, this little shrub flourished. I just noticed it yesterday, and the entire plant is blooming. EVEN that broken branch.
I couldn’t help but think this is how we “do life” with people. We hold them up when they’re broken. We allow them to lean on us, we feed them the nourishment of faith, understanding and wisdom. Before long, they are flourishing once again.
So why is it so hard to lean on others when we’re broken? Why is it so hard to admit we’re weak, weary and heartbroken?
As I studied this magnificent transformation of this pitiful plant, I didn’t miss the irony in just which plant assisted in keeping it upright, allowing it to receive the nourishment it needed.
It was my Hibiscus, of all plants, who I have a love/hate relationship with. She seems to struggle and struggle to find enough courage to bloom. She finally wakes up one day with a spirited, jubilant attitude to show the world what she’s made of and she’s simply exquisite. But, like many of us, when she realizes her power and beauty, she shrinks under the pressure and scrutiny of others. When her light is too bright for others, instead of surrounding herself with those who will celebrate her captivating gifts, she recoils, shrivels up and dies.
Sometimes it’s the weakest among us who can offer the greatest nurturing. They have lived through the most hardships, disappointments and tragedies. By actually leaning on them, and sharing our perfectly imperfect life with them, we give them the reassurance that they are still useful. Their pain had a purpose. It may be all they can muster to put out one bloom at a time, that only lives for 48 hours, but during the drought would give anything to be the upright branch to help you blossom into the dazzling creation God intended you to be.
So as we ponder this, we need to think about something else…
How many times do we show the world the newsreel of only the highlights of our life? Our Instagram feed is nothing but the best of the best. The sometimes filtered, watered down version of reality. We share the beautiful family photos, but not the part where husband and wife had such a huge fight, they resented eachother throughout the photo shoot and are still holding a grudge today. Or the fact that our teenager in the same photo is secretly cutting herself. Or the 3-year old is Autistic, but we haven’t shared that publicly. We’re ashamed. We consider ourselves damaged goods.
How about we get real for a change? How about we admit our flaws and our deepest fears? How about we admit our insecurities, our shortcomings, our legendary screw-ups and our unimaginable sins, but then provide a robust ending that encourages and inspires others that it’s not the end to our story?
“Life is messy, hard and weird. We don’t need to act surprised anymore.” -Mike Foster
I’m not suggesting you need to air your dirty laundry on social media or any public platform, but how about sharing your struggles with others and stop presenting only the perfectly polished version of yourself?
Your portrayal of perfection is not inspiring, but rather a breeding ground for others to feel supremely imperfect. – Julie Shangle
The bud in my hand this morning symbolizes the majestic power of shared hardships. One plant, with only one bloom at a time, assisting another to miraculously produce dozens of blooms.
I’ve experienced this, firsthand, throughout my year in Direct Sales. At my weakest, God will use me to say just the right thing to the right person, providing her with the belief that she can accomplish anything. And she does. Never underestimate your ability to sow life into another person.
If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one. – Mother Teresa
I challenge you, today, to lean on someone if you’re weary. Lose your ego and reach out to someone that merits your trust. Your burdens will be lifted. If you’re in a drought, be that divine source of nourishment for someone else. It will give you such a sense of reassurance that your pain has a purpose. Your life is supremely useful. Together, you’ll create a symphony of soulful hope and joy.
“Be brave, be kind, be bold, be fierce, be YOU”