"God, is this from you? Show me this is from you."
Sometimes it's difficult to hear God's voice over my own. I tend to get overwhelmed and bogged down in my own thoughts.
WE all have a deep longing to know we matter.
Last week, we were blessed enough to be able to attend a retreat as a church staff. A priest led the retreat and spent time going over various stages of prayer. He encouraged us to bring to God everything we hold back. He guided us to not step outside the self when we come to pray, showing a squeaky-clean exterior to Christ, but to reveal the entire self - including the ugliness that we so often avoid. He also told us to question whether the answers we might receive and perceive are truly from God or from our own desires. Discerning God's voice is sometimes the most difficult for me, as my mind seems so full of distraction.
After the lesson, we were given a half hour to sit, reflect, ponder, and pray. The retreat happened to be on a fully-functioning farm and I found a covered garden in which to sit. There, I started listing my distractions: the sound of a wood chipper in the background, the smell of cat poop nearby, but more importantly, the things I hold within me but don't often hand over to God. These 30 minutes were an intense time of prayer, a purging of sorts, yet when I stood, I still felt as though I was confused about my own purpose - one of those things I tend to try and control myself instead of giving it to God.
What is it that I am uniquely qualified to do in my life?
Standing, I look around the garden. There are plants of various types. Some have a distinct purpose: basil, oregano, thyme - each has an easily discernible reason for being in a garden. Beside them, I saw ordinary flowers. They were beautiful of course, but I questioned why they would belong in a garden when they don't seem to have any real purpose. Then came the whisper- the still small voice I had heard seldom before:
"Even the flowers aid in pollination."
The environmentalist in me instantly understood: those flowers were planted because they helped the others do their job and fulfill their purpose. The flowers that seemed so meaningless suddenly became so vital. Without the aid of these seemingly simple flowers, the basil, the oregano, and the thyme would simply die off. The flower that appeared not to bear any visible fruit was able to help ensure that others bore fruit that would last.
Just as flowers aid in the pollination of one another and help keep each other alive, so should one person support another. My daily tasks can bear fruit, even in their subtlety or imperfection. My helping with a simple chore may free another person to better fulfill their purpose, therefore furthering the ability of both people to accomplish their given roles.
Don't ever fear if you can't find your purpose. In time and with prayer, it may come. Or, it could be that you, too, are meant to be a flower and help others bloom.