(Cover art courtesy of B&H Publishing Group)
Bloom Where You’re Planted
Taken from You Be You by Jamie Ivey. Copyright © 2020 by Jamie Ivey. Used by permission of B&H Publishing Group. www.bhpublishinggroup.com.
There’s a lot of talk in our world today about choosing your destiny, about making yourself great, how if you don’t like your circumstances, you have the power to change them. And while I’m all about hard work and striving, I do want to scream when I hear such statements as these.
I recently came across a video of a woman giving a pep talk to her followers, and I found myself sucked in by it and hanging on every word she said. For two and a half minutes or more, before I snapped myself out of it, all I could seem to think about was how if I started doing the steps she was laying out, my life would maybe start to look a whole lot more like hers. She made me feel as though I could do really big things for the world, for my career, if I would just work harder, if I would do the things she was telling me to do.
The only problem with this pep talk is that my life looks nothing like hers. I have four kids, for one thing. And each one of them has his or her activities outside of school. I have a career that includes travel, and I work from a tiny house on my property with no office manager. My husband is a pastor and songwriter who happens to travel a good bit as well. We do our own laundry, get our own oil changes, and even cook our own food—probably unlike the lady in that video.
I truly do want to be successful like her. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. But can I be honest with you for a second? I think our culture has confused success with money. I think we’ve confused success with status. I think we’ve confused success with followers.
Can I be a bit more honest with you? I think I’ve con- fused success with some of those things myself, at certain times in my life.
I absolutely want to be successful at everything I do, whether in my parenting, my marriage, my career, or what- ever else. I have a feeling you do as well. I don’t want to fail at anything. I like putting my best foot forward in everything I do. But really, if I’m thinking more clearly and with less selfish ambition, all I actually want to do is “bloom where I am planted.” Or, to borrow a word I’ve used throughout this book, I want to be faithful. Faithful with what God has given me. Faithful where God has placed me. Faithful to the people that God has put in my life.
Can I tell you a few ways where I think we’re prone to confuse success and faithfulness?
Success = all your kids loving Jesus their whole lives because you raised them right
Faithfulness = pouring into your kids and understanding the result is not up to you
Success = creating a product that sells a lot and causes you to become “known”
Faithfulness = creating a product you’re proud of supporting and standing behind
Success = winning “Woman of the Year” in your industry or community
Faithfulness = showing up for your community in the ways God has gifted you
Success = marriage plus children before you turn forty
Faithfulness = serving God whether alone or with a family
Success = building a platform that gives you access to a wide audience
Faithfulness = serving the ones that God has already given you influence over
When we idolize another person and what their version of success looks like, we create a standard that is not only unreachable but, honestly, just doesn’t apply to us.