Don't just survive...Thrive!


Wisteria. I love the look and the scent of it. So much so, that I planted four vines around my deck out back. But, it’s been four years, and it still won’t bloom. Talk about frustrating. I prune, I weed, I nurture; I even put up with listening to my husband grumble that it’s taken over and in his way, and the destruction it has caused. And all for seemingly nothing. Nothing but hope that one day it will blossom like it’s supposed to. It has grown like crazy, new leaves and vine branches sprout out daily. It’s taking over much of my decking. But no flowers!

I did some research on how to cultivate it properly to get it to bloom. See, I’ve heard that it can be easy to care for, requiring little work (which is partly why I got it- I don’t have a green thumb). But after some digging (no pun intended), I discovered that while it is hardy and fast-growing, it is also temperamental to acclimating and producing. It doesn’t bloom when there is excessive fertilizer and it doesn’t bloom until it is considered mature (which could take decades). The interesting thing to note about maturation in wisteria is that it can forced, by means of root pruning, drought stress and by literally chopping at the main trunk. Sounds like a good way to kill it, if you ask me…but again, no green thumb…

And then I realized that Christians are like wisteria to God. (I’m not usually big on comparisons like this—but hang in there with me for a few moments). When we’re blooming properly (mature), we are beautiful and cast an enticing aroma. But when we’re just a seedling? Our Faithful Patient Gardner has to tend to us, pruning, nurturing, and training us which direction to grow. But our lives aren’t as simple as taking root and blooming (or at least we certainly don’t allow them to be). We often have planted ourselves amongst manure, latching on to anything we can grasp to attempt to grow, but missing our whole purpose: to bloom. We become so complacent with ourselves and our Christian walk that we don’t really thrive in it. And maybe that’s where God is forced to physically stress our trunks.

Sometimes He allows some pain to snap us out of our contentment. But that pain is not to harm us, it’s to grow us. (Jeremiah 29:11) It’s merely a blip of anguish to reap the eternal reward. (1 Corinthians 4:17-18) Once we’ve matured in our Christianity, we’re ready to fully bloom. We can start spreading and growing, entwining everything around us; choking out the bad and sprouting the good. (Matthew 28:19-20)

When I think of the frustration I have that my wisteria, despite all of my nurturing attempts and desire for it to blossom, refuses to bloom, I am saddened at the sorrow I in turn cause my Father, despite His own nurturing and desire for me. I didn’t plant my wisteria so it could just be an entangled vine; just as God didn’t plant me here to be caught up in this world. I envisioned beautiful blooms cascading around my deck. He wants us to be beautiful blooms, gushing all over as well. (Philippians 2:13) He wants us to thrive, not just survive.