This question is asked rhetorically where I work to everyone at some point. Initially someone may want to quickly give an answer, but it really causes for some deep thought and consideration about the truth. Not the truth that you really want and desire, but the truth that actually exists. If you are fortunate, then your desire and the actual truth will be in alignment. If not, you are bound to be driven crazy until something matches up.
So what does this mean?
To be POTTED
If you have ever gone and purchased a plant from anywhere, they typically come in a plastic pot of sorts. Then you take it home and you either plant it in a garden or in a more stable pot to be displayed in your home (your porch perhaps). This plant will only grow to be so large. It may even have a shorter lifespan. The reason is that its environment has a finite amount of space. The roots will only be able to spread so much before they reach the bottom or the sides of the pot, and then begin to recoil either stunting growth or starting death. It depends on the plant. Some vegetation will do just fine in a pot. They don’t have deep roots and just need sunlight and water. At least, that is what their tags say upon purchase.
To be PLANTED
Now take that same plant and providing that it will not be detrimental, place it in the ground giving it an expansive space to grow. Of course there are other elements such as other plants that may be surrounding the plant that can get in the way of roots and of course the general nutrition of that plant (sunlight, fertilizer, water). That plant has a potential to grow exponentially larger than the one that is in a pot. Why? Because it doesn’t have the same limitations of space. Have you ever seen a tree that was planted near a house or some other stable object. A lot of times the tree will grow around the object, and sometimes the roots will damage or even destroy whatever was placed in its way. Quite aggressive!
What does this matter? I believe that in the continual evaluation of our lives in every aspect, we have to ask if we are potted or planted. This goes for our relationships, jobs, homes, cities, churches, and extracurricular activities. To be potted means that you know you will be in that circumstance only for a short while. This can be contrived by our perspective of the activities in which we are involved, or it could be a limitation set up by circumstances beyond our control. To be planted means that you are there for the long haul (until you are re-positioned or die for lack of better words). The difference is the perspective. You can be involved in something for a long or a short while, but if you look at every experience and treat it as if it is the “forever” project, then the care you take with your actions will invoke a deeper commitment than “I will do this for a year and then I will move on” type of attitude.
Why is this important to me now? I have been in South Florida for about nine years now. I think after the second year I was incensed on moving as soon as possible. Looking at every opportunity as just a short sojourn until I could break free of what seemed like a long lasting jail of humidity and rude people. I did this so much that I began to loathe EVERYTHING. I would frequently look for opportunities in other states. A good friend told me one day recently that if I couldn’t find contentment here then I wasn’t going to find it somewhere else. I didn’t want to admit it, but she was right. Her wisdom stung me. Contentment isn’t a state of the physical or event circumstantial. It is a state of the mind. It can be closely compared to joy. Joy is based on fact, and as a Christian the fact of life for me is that my eternal destination is to be with God one day. The fact that I have been saved from the fiery chasm of hell is a miracle. So no matter what happens in life, nothing can change that fact for me. I could die tomorrow and be with Jesus in heaven, which is better than anything that I could ever imagine. Happiness on the other hand is circumstantial and based on what is satisfactory in my immediate sphere of influence. What my friend was reminding me was that if I couldn’t remember my joy and act positively and change my perspective of life in the place that I disliked the most, it would be only a fleeting happiness that I would experience in another place because eventually my mind would catch up with me no matter how fast I run away from it. The mind always finds fault somewhere.
So, the reminder of this is being asked by executives where I am employed if I am potted or planted. The culture there requires you to make that decision very quickly. It’s OK to be either, but you have to know where you fall. To answer that question for myself, I had to really look at my life. Because I was trying to be a potted plant in every other aspect, how could I be planted in my job? How could I not see it as a means to an end? That felt very wrong, and it caused for me to do some soul searching. The fact that I hate South Florida should have no bearing on whether or not I plant myself here for as long as God allows.
I realized that the critical flaw in my lifestyle was that I was living waiting to die, so to speak. I was doing just enough to try to get through my pitiful existence here in Florida until my golden ship came sailing into Port Everglades. I further realized that I didn’t want to live that way anymore. That perspective and attitude was preventing me from truly enjoying my life. I have experienced all of my adulthood here in South Florida. I am now a 31 year old female; when will I start living to live? That was what I asked myself at the end of last year when I was pondering 2014 and what it would mean for me. Then I realized that I had to give up on my plans, thoughts, dreams, and expectations of everything that represented adulthood for me.
I continue to say:
So here, I stand, with arms wide and heart abandoned. In awe, of the one who gave it all. I stand, my soul Lord to you surrendered. All I am is yours. I give up. I raise the white flag. Lord, take this life and show me how to plant it no matter where you place me. I want to live my best life today.