When I was a year and a half old, my family moved from the Orlando, Florida area to Moorhead, Minnesota. I don’t remember the move. In fact, my earliest childhood memory is of my fourth birthday. Just months later, in the summer before I was about to turn five, my parents took me to get some testing to see if I could enroll in kindergarten that fall.
The issue was that I was born on September 6th and the school district in Minnesota required you to be five years old by September 1st. I know, what’s five days? Well, apparently in Minnesota, it was a big deal. The only way I was going to be allowed to enter kindergarten that fall was to take a test and achieve a certain score to prove that I was ready. (Like, how ready do you have to be? It’s kindergarten… you know, the time in life when we learn shapes and colors, learn how to play together nicely, take naps and eat snacks.) How tough could this test be?
Well apparently, the test was different from what I expected because I missed a couple of questions that kept me from being allowed to enter kindergarten. Interestingly, I knew the correct answers, but just refused to give them. For example, I knew what the picture of the little red wagon was that they showed me, but I wouldn’t tell them because I wanted one and my parents had not gotten it for me. (I know, spoiled brat.)
But in the end, the leaders who decided if little kids will get to go to kindergarten because their birthday was five days too late determined that it wasn’t my season. And so I spent the next year at home, hanging out with Mom and having fun. Funny, though… those people thought they could determine my season of life for me. (Granted, I was five and might have needed a little help from those who love me, but my parents knew I could handle it.)
Our winter season has been unseasonably warm here in Louisiana this year. We typically hope for snow, though we know it’s a rarity. And while December may not be super cold, January and February usually bring some pretty brisk temperatures for those of us who are Southerners.
So, it has been odd to see the azalea bushes in our yard (like the one pictured above) in full bloom during the first week of February. Usually, these beauties don’t bloom until March or April. They are blooming at least a full month or two before what I would consider to be their season. And yet, there they are… arrayed in all their glory… with bees and butterflies buzzing around them, gathering nectar.
There’s a part of me that wants to shout at the bushes, “What are you doing?! It’s too early to bloom. You’re not supposed to be doing this. It’s not your season to bloom!” And then I sit back and have to laugh at myself. Who am I to tell them when it is their season to bloom? Did I create those bushes? No, I didn’t even plant these particular ones. Do I fully understand how they gather nutrients, process light energy using photosynthesis, create pollen which bees use to make honey, absorb carbon dioxide that I breathe out and produce oxygen that I breathe in? No. No, I do not.
Quite honestly, I’m no better than Job in the Bible, who was trying to explain to God that it wasn’t right he was having to go through all the problems he was facing. When God had heard enough from Job about how smart Job thought he was, God began to ask him where he was when God began to create the world out of nothing. Suddenly, Job understood that he was “speaking out of school,” or trying to talk about something which was far beyond his base of knowledge.
Perhaps you sense that you are supposed to be doing something great in life. Perhaps God is opening doors for you to walk through that you can’t even fully understand yourself, let alone explain to others. And perhaps there are people around you in your life who look at what you are attempting and say to you the kind of things I started to say to the azaleas… “What are you doing? It’s not your season to bloom.”
But it’s not up to them when you bloom. It’s up to God. He created you. He designed you. He knows what makes you tick… they don’t. So ignore those naysayers. Joseph’s brothers (in the Old Testament times) didn’t believe it was his season to bloom, but he bloomed anyway and became the second command of a foreign nation. Joseph (in the New Testament times) didn’t believe it was Mary’s time to bloom, but she bloomed anyway and gave birth to the Messiah.
When it’s your time to bloom, it’s your time to bloom. God determines our seasons. He doesn’t wait to check with everyone around us and see if it would be okay with them if we go ahead and bloom now. He just changes the atmosphere and the temperature and lets the buds turn into blossoms. So, if He’s okay with you blooming, then it really doesn’t matter what others think about it. Just bloom.
I decided that, since I don’t really control the azaleas or their seasons anymore than I control mine or anyone else’s, I should just sit back, relax, enjoy the beauty they are bringing to life right now and snap a few pictures to remember how beautiful they really are.
It’s your season… It’s your time… The beauty inside you is ready to bless the world around around you. Bloom, baby, bloom!