Daffodils—I have always loved them—the first brilliant yellow that scares away the winter gloom. Yellow is my favorite color—the color of the sun. Well, didn’t we always color the sun yellow when we were kids?
On a gloomy day last April when I was feeling depressed, I picked a bunch of daffodils, so that, as I gazed on them, I could remember God’s promise that spring would come.
As I picked them, I was reminded of something I had recently read about caring for the plants after the flowers had faded. Firstly, pick all the flowers so the plant doesn't use energy to try to make seeds. That makes sense. Then, I knew that you shouldn’t cut the foliage off, but this article said not to tie the leaves together or even to braid them. Apparently, that reduces the area of leaf available to the sun to make the energy that's then stored in the bulb for the year ahead. To get the maximum energy stored for the best blooms, leave the leaves as they are.
I thought about why we like to minimize the presence of the daffodil leaves. They are so ugly after the flowers have gone. They spoil the look of the unfolding summer garden! They hide the tender plants that are beginning to respond to the sun. I even discovered almost buried under the leaves a hebe plant I had planted last summer long after the daffodils had disappeared! Poor hebe. She needs the sun too!
I wonder what God’s invitation to me is in this picture. What is going on in my life at present that feels ugly, annoying, unnecessary? The things I would like to just get rid of, the things I hide from others, but are real in my life? My friend Michael Simmons pictures our dragging by the ankle a bag into which we have throughout our life stuffed the things that people have suggested by word or look are unacceptable. These things don’t go away, as we wish they would. They become our shadow self. And we work hard at hiding them! They spoil the picture I present to my world of who I am. For me, one of my hidden, ugly pieces continues to be my sense of inadequacy…my “I can’t”, which becomes procrastination and avoidance of situations where I feel unsure of myself. Or I go very quiet, in case my sharing what I think will not sound acceptable to others.
Yet, as I allowed God’s light to shine on this, He showed me a new perspective, a different way of looking at it, and that in ways it is a gift. My inadequacy causes me to rely on Him; it is His energy that is released through me, His beauty shown to my world. That’s a wow right there!
I think back to that day in April when I allowed the greyness of the weather to pull me into a low place. Yet even though I could not see it, the sun was still shining beyond the clouds. And the God who said, “I will never leave you or forsake you,” was obviously still there with me.
God, present. It is enough.
What is it you are wrestling with in the secret of your being? What are you noticing about God’s presence and His invitation to you? What pieces of yourself have you stuffed in that bag that are dragging you down from being all God has for you? Is it time to allow something out, to bring it into the open? You may find it is not as ugly or unnecessary to life as you have thought it was. Befriend these scary things. Talk to God about them. Find a trusted friend and share. Trust God to open your eyes to new ways of looking at yourself and your life.