I just wanted to grow some sunflowers.
I don’t remember what else I tried to grow. Daisies, I think? And maybe some vegetables. But my main focus was sunflowers. Everything I read said they were so easy to grow, they practically raised themselves. So I put some seeds in some plastic containers with some soil. I watered them and put them in my windowsill and I watched them grow tall.
I was only supposed to grow them indoors for a certain amount of time and then I was supposed to slowly introduce them outdoors. But as silly as it seems, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I could control what happened to them if I kept them inside. But outside? What if the wind blew too hard and broke their stems? What if an animal came and ate them? What if I did it wrong and they died?
I could see them growing, could see signs of life, and I wasn’t willing to give that up. I didn’t want to risk it, so I kept them with me.
I quickly noticed that the stems were thin–much thinner than they were supposed to be. And flowers eventually bloomed, but they were a far cry from the beautiful behemoths of yellow I anticipated. These sunflowers didn’t live up to their potential.
I stunted their growth because I was afraid of what I couldn’t control.
I’ve thought about those sunflowers a lot, about how easy it would have been to just set them outside and give them a chance to do what they were made to do: seek the light, find the light, and grow.
And I think about how many things I’ve hindered in my own life, how many seasons or connections or gifts God’s attempted to bring forth only for my grubby little hands to reach for control. I wonder how many areas in my heart remain unsettled, how much territory I have yet to surrender because I can see growth. I can see signs of life. And I’m not willing to risk it if God asks for more from me.
I wonder if I stunt my growth because I’m afraid of what I can’t control.
I’m growing sunflowers again this year, but I decided to risk what could happen beyond my reach. Of all the ones I’ve planted, I’ve only lost two. Which seems fitting since loss is simply a part of this life; there is no avoiding or preventing it. I’ll never hold enough control to keep loss from happening, to keep hurt from happening.
My sunflowers aren’t too tall too quickly, so thirsty for sunlight that they stretch beyond their means to fill a deficiency they were never meant to experience. Their stems are thick and healthy, the sign of a slow but certain growing process.
And regardless of the wait and regardless of the unknown, I’m trusting the process. With my sunflowers. With my trembling heart in the steady hands of my Creator. I’m giving us the chance to do what we were made to do.
Seek the light. Find the light.