The April sunshine was tipped with the faintest hint of chill – perfect weather for a brisk walk around the block. I laced up my tennis shoes and fell into step, noticing the friendly dandelions dotting the border of the road as I went. I breathed a silent prayer of gratitude for the simple joys in life as I rounded the corner. One of the details that thrilled my heart was seeing the clusters of demure violets that always seemed to grow in between the cracks of the pavement. It reminded me of a story I had read years ago in the treasured devotional, Streams in the Desert:
A story is told of a king who went into his garden one morning, and found everything withered and dying. He asked the oak that stood near the gate what the trouble was. He found it was sick of life … because it was not tall and beautiful like the pine. The pine was all out of heart because it could not bear grapes, like the vine … Coming to a violet, he found its bright face lifted as cheery as ever. “Well, Violet, I’m glad, amidst all this discouragement, to find one brave little flower. You do not seem to be the least disheartened.”
The violet replied, “No, I am not of much account, but I thought that if you wanted an oak, or a pine … you would have planted one; but as I knew you wanted a violet, I am determined to be the best little violet that I can.”
The modest flower wasn’t worried about being beautiful like the rose, as far reaching as the English ivy, or as fragrant as the lily of the valley. She was content – no, overjoyed – to be the best violet she could be. She realized that she had been planted with special purpose, and she couldn’t fulfill that purpose by trying to mimic another flower’s beauty, fragrance, or growth.
My heart smiled as I thought about the times I have blindly reasoned like the mighty oak in this story – pressing my face up against the glass of comparison; wishing I had her looks, or his speaking ability, or their innate hospitality – and desiring to be a bit more like them and a whole lot less like me. Have you been there?
Comparison does more than steal our joy, it is a subtle tactic of the enemy to tempt us to question God’s overarching purposes for planting us in the manner, place, and time that He wisely appointed.
Romans 8:29 reminds us that we are, “predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.”
Psalm 92:13 says, “Those who are planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God.”
And John 15:5 reads, “I [Jesus] am the vine, you are the branches…”
Allow me to phrase it this way … we are the violet and Jesus is the Husbandman. I say it’s high time we stop pressing ourselves in molds of our own making and begin abiding in His plan and His thoughts toward us. (Note: Read John 15 for Jesus’ thoughts on how to do this!) The bravest, most original course of action is to implicitly trust His good plan and embrace the pattern for godly living found in His Word.
Like the violet, you too will discover soul-freeing joy when you walk in the fact that you are, “His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that [you] should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). Understanding our position in Christ and our high calling as set apart women gives us vision to see the specific tasks that dot our paths, just like the dandelions did my spring walk.
I finished my circuit and returned to my computer to proceed forward with the tasks of the work day. But those violets reminded me that I was planted in God’s will, carrying out exactly what He had created me to do. And that brought my heart to full bloom! I pray yours does as well.
If you are looking for lasting happiness and purpose, Leslie will be going into this topic in her session True Happiness: How to Find What Everyone Else is Searching For at our upcoming Set Apart ConferenceMay 25-26th! I hope to see you there!