A few weeks ago, I heard Joel Osteen speaking on the topic of his new book "Every Day A Friday." The premise of the book is about intentionally shifting our perspective from the "I have to" to the "I get to," and I was more than a little convicted by Pastor Osteen's words. Too many times I have been guilty of taking for granted the opportunities that God has given me. I may have even considered them burdensome. Rather than saying, "I am blessed to be able to get up and do what I love," I might take a more negative tone and think something like, "Ugh. Another day." Granted, not being a morning person sometimes affects my a.m. self-talk, but that's no excuse. :-)
How we face our days and the tasks they contain (whether pleasant, difficult, or somewhere in between) is important. Not only are we impacted by our attitude, but so are all of those with whom we connect. Whether it is being at home with children, attending meetings with professionals, teaching in the classroom, or working the drive-thru at McDonald's, others can quickly sense when we are unhappy or unfulfilled.
The familiar phrase "bloom where you are planted" indicates that we are to take root right where we are, and make the best of it, and that usually seems like good advice. However, there are times when "where we land" isn't where we want to take root. And there isn't a more unsatisfied person than one who is living outside of his or her calling. That person often struggles with the "I have to" versus the "I get to" mentality because they aren't doing what they were created to do.
So, I often ask God, "Am I planted in the center of Your will?" He assures me that I am, and that I should continue to "bloom"...happily, contentedly, and with a positive outlook, for that makes all the difference!
They say we are most thankful for what we have after it's taken from us. It would be tragic for us to have to become an invalid to appreciate mobility, become unemployed to appreciate a job, lose a spouse to appreciate companionship and love, lose religious freedom to appreciate the opportunity for public worship, or become incapable of doing the things we do every day to appreciate the beauty and necessity of both the mundane and the extraordinary opportunities we are given.
"Thank God every day when you get up that you have something to do that day which must be done whether you like it or not. Being forced to work and forced to do your best will breed in you temperance and self-control, diligence and strength of will, cheerfulness and content, and a hundred virtues which the idle will never know."
-- Basil Carpenter
Action Step: Whether we're doing laundry, changing diapers, studying for exams, cleaning the church, helping with homework, or ___________________________ (fill in that blank!), our attitude toward the task sends a message! Blooming is more than just poking our head above the soil. Blooming is engaging everything within us to emerge with strength, to face the challenge, and to open beautifully.