Tuesday, July 1, 2014

It's Okay to Be You

Overgrown perennial Geranium & Lamb's Ear
Last spring I was really into my garden. Since I also work for a landscaper, I set out to learn all I could about perennials. I've always had perennial gardens, but they never looked like the ones in magazines. They still don't. They probably never will. And that's okay.

I didn't memorize every perennial plant and flower out there (but I tried!). I planted a lot of things that came up again that I don't remember planting. And I don't quite remember what they are. And I planted a few things too close together because it seemed so sparse at the time. There is a reason the directions say, "Plant 12 inches apart." Because when they come up again, they will be huge and every plant will be fighting for valuable space. I learned that I enjoy creating and building the garden more than I do maintaining it.

This year I took a break from gardening (as you can tell from the above picture). Instead, I got all into hiking. I love the woods; just tying my boots, binding my feet up thrills me. I don't love climbing uphill, but I do love being on the trail, in the midst of nature. It draws me closer to my

Instead of gardening magazines, I turned to backpacking magazines. In the last month I've read about someone who was attacked by a grizzly bear, another person who was washed over a cliff in a flash flood and a strange woman who hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in a record 60 days---she averaged 45-50 miles a day (that's walking, remember).
Someone I do not aspire to be

I have learned how to survive falling in a 50' crevice, how to avoid getting caught in a watershed while hiking a canyon (the flash flood survivor) and I know the best camping gear to buy. I hate camping, don't do overnights, have no desire to hike a canyon (I prefer the woods) and don't plan on hiking 45-50 miles a day (I'm still trying to figure that one out). I have a bit of vertigo, and while I love the views from the summit, I have no desire to conquer that fear by hiking across a tall mountain with nothing to hold on to or stand at the edge of a cliff looking out at the horizon.  

I guess I'm not a hard-core gardener, and I'm certainly not a hard-core hiker. I'm no expert. I'm no professional. I just like what I like and do what I can do. Anything more would take the enjoyment out of it. Sure, it's always good to push yourself to a higher level, and to learn more. I like learning. But at this point in my life, there's only so much space left in my brain, and I need it for immediate needs; things I'll need to call up readily, like how to print a two sided copy and make it flip over on the short edge and not the long edge. I don't need to have flash flood facts at my fingertips at the landscaping office. 

There may be times when we get intimidated by those who know their bible from front to back. They can call up verses at a moment's notice. When they pray, they sound so eloquent; they don't fumble for words. They know just the right thing to say to the lost, the hurting, the sick, the dying. They seem to "pray without ceasing." They're the ones who get up at 5am and intercede for their family, friends, church, leaders and nation. They may even get speaking engagements and lead bible studies and know the Greek and Hebrew meanings of many words. They've probably traveled to Israel and visited all the holy places. They understand end-times and can even explain it to us.They can also explain salvation in an easy to understand format and in a compassionate manner, and they seem to just ooze kindness. They feed the hungry, clothe the homeless and give to the needy. They always tithe at least 10%, but also support other ministries. 

They're the experts on Christianity, while we feel like the gardener with the overgrown garden, the hiker who won't hike to the summit because of vertigo. We don't do half of those things, and the things we might do, we don't do half as well as those people. 
Mary on the A.T. in
non-regulation hiking attire,
but with very cool gear

But you know what? It's okay.It's okay that they do what they do and know what they know and that we don't. It's okay that I don't get up at 5am and intercede, but that I intercede through music. When I'm worshiping during a song, someone might come to mind and I pray through music. Or while I'm walking in the woods, during the silence of the hike. It's okay that I don't do what you do and that you don't do what I do. It's okay that we all have our own style, our own methods, our own desires. Our own strengths as well as our own weaknesses. Our own uniqueness.

Stop comparing yourself with everyone else. Give yourself permission NOT to be who someone else is because you never will be. You can only be you. And if your garden isn't perfect, if some of your plants are a little overgrown, and some didn't grow as much as you'd like, that okay. Stop comparing your growth with your neighbor's. Embrace who you are. You are unique and so am I. That is not something to be ashamed of. That's something to celebrate. Celebrate You!

Blessings Along the Path,

Song of the Day
You Are Special (Grover from Sesame Street)

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