Do You Grow Where You’re Planted?
January 1, 2020

My husband and I met in the U.S. Air Force, working at a radio station in Maryland.  During our tenure the station grew into a global operations center.  We walked through the pains of  building the new center, new programs and new personnel.  Five years later, my husband wanted to move. He had “outgrown his fishbowl” as we say. 

He received orders to Oklahoma and thought he’d never look back. But within 4 years, we received orders back to the same Maryland unit.  We stood confused and disappointed. In Oklahoma, we were close to family and friends.  My new career as a defense contractor sprouted.  Our faith blossomed in our new church and we believed God had called us there. But in an instant, everything changed.  

We returned to Maryland optimistic but disgruntled.  The squadron’s new Chief Master Sergeant, an Air Force E-9, took us under his wing.  “Chief” as we called him, listened as my husband shared his frustrations with his assignment.   

Chief said “You must grow where you’re planted.”  

My husband countered “But I don’t want to grow, Chief.  “I’ve already done this before. I want something different.” 

Chief replied, “I hear you, but grow where you’re planted, OK?”   

Soon, my husband applied for a special duty assignment that transformed our lives. Our unplanned and unwanted assignment back to Maryland pressured him to move.  But this was part of God’s plan.  If we had stayed in Oklahoma, we would never have come to North Carolina.  10 years later, I can see that Maryland assignment as part of God’s much greater plan.  We couldn’t see it then.  

Growth is a process that’s often hard to see.  In the midst of it, we struggle to understand God’s plan for our lives.  But growth has specific steps you can follow to navigate your spiritual journey.  

1.  A Season of Growth.  

Sometimes we must grow where we’re planted.  At times, I must dig in and put down my roots. In this season, my job is to grow; not move.  I keep my roots in the ground where God placed me.  I pull in the nutrients the surrounding environment provide.  I respect the earth and I am a good steward of what God gives.
Sometimes God plants us in the most peculiar places because it’s necessary to fulfill His glory in the earth.   In these moments, we strive to hear His voice.  We struggle, pulling back with frustration, like being stuck in spiritual quicksand, and realize that here, in this place, God is pouring into us.  

This season of growth is the time when we can sit at the feet of Jesus and let His love and grace wash over us.   

Here, in this place, we are protected.  Here, in this place, we are forever loved.

2.  A Season of Movement.  

But, there are other times when I must move.  In Deuteronomy chapter 1, God gives Moses the command that the Israelite’s should move.  “The Lord our God said to us at Horeb, You have stayed long enough at this mountain.  Break camp and advance into the hill country of the Amorites.  See I have given you this land.  Go in and take possession of the land the Lord swore he would give to your fathers.” (Deut 1: 6-8) (NIV). 

You see, growth involves movement.  At times, it’s necessary to pull up my roots and allow God to move me some place new. 

I can’t stay sitting in the same spot for years.  When I do, I find myself overgrown with weeds and lacking nutrients.  My spiritual weeds start to spill out onto those around me; I’m miserable and unproductive. I become the worst partner.  When I stay too long or stop growing, I become bitter and resentful.  I make the garden miserable for everyone else.  

So, in this season, I must move.  I must be courageous enough to answer the call.  Without movement, we are only living part of the life God called for us to live.  

A Field of Daffodils
A Field of Daffodils

3.  Experiencing Explosive Growth. 

After we’ve grown and we’ve moved, God calls us to deeper waters.  These are the times of explosive growth.  This is not for ourselves but for those around us.  Be it our family, our ministry group, our friends or the world.  It might be our students or our fellow service members.  But growth is for them.  We have the opportunity to influence and inspire others.  

Everyday, there is one person who you can influence in a positive way.  

God calls us to love others.  But God does not call us to do it alone.   Even Moses, God’s chosen leader, struggled with the burdens of leading a nation.  Then, he needed help.  Moses says “You are too heavy a burden for me to carry alone.”  Moses selected wise and respected men from each tribe to be the leaders.  (Deut 1:9) (NIV). 

4.  Harnessing Explosive Growth.  

The Apostle Paul harnesses explosive growth as he traveled to share the Gospel. He instructs Timothy to “be strong in the Grace of Jesus Christ and to entrust his teachings to reliable people qualified to teach others.”  (2 Tim 2:1-2 NIV).  This concept allows us to propel others forward.  Sometimes the nature of growth is not about ourselves.  It’s about God wanting to use us to grow and help other people become their greatest self.  We get lost in our own doubts, fears and insecurities.  But God is calling us to “be strong in the Grace of Jesus Christ.”  

Only with grace can we walk each day confidently knowing that our steps are not in vain.  No matter how hard the journey, there is goodness in each step.    

Winter Day
Winter Day

5.  Remember… Season Change.  

As the seasons change around me, I see the leaves fall.  Nature buttons up for a long Winter’s night.  Animals burrow and the sounds of summer fade away.  

Summer nights at our home are like a great orchestra.  Staccatos of crickets chirp and a cascading rhythm of frogs move onto the night’s stage.  Owls and possums echo a sweet melody.  From majestic evergreen pines, creatures of the night announce their encore.  

In the winter there is silence.  As I venture outside, I can almost hear a pin drop.  The stars hover above calling me to reach up and grasp them.  The night air is crisp and tingles my nose as I inhale its’ crystal scent.  But when I listen, I hear nothing.  Only silence. Gone are the buzzing sounds of a full evening symphony. 

It’s as if the world has said “Goodnight, sweet child. Now it’s time to rest.” 

I know that Spring will come again, but now is a season of rest for the world.  Seasons always change. Be patient. 

My prayer for you:  

As we move into a new year filled with hope and renewal, I pray you reflect on your season, asking God to share His divine plan with you.  Ask yourself these questions:  

  • Has God planted me somewhere against my will or better judgment?  
  • Have I have stayed too long at my mountain?  
  • Did God call me to break camp and move, a very long time, but I’ve been too afraid to go? 
  • Is there an opportunity this year to create a space for explosive growth with those around me?   

No matter the season, fresh ground brings new hope!  Any adventure is scary; creating a fertile ground where fear and doubt creeps in.  But these new adventures deserve every chance we can give them!  

Every moment is a chance to grow, even when the night seems most dark.  Your journey, as with my own, has been hand-crafted by God.  

So, no matter what tomorrow brings, never-ever stop growing! 

I pray you have an amazing year as we grow together in grace and truth. 

All my love,