About Fallow Ground

Last week was a bad week.

It had been raining for days on end and I think I was suffering from a variation of seasonal affective disorder from not seeing the sun for any length of time in so long.  I was also overtired from traveling back and forth from Pennsylvania for the holiday festivities and didn’t allow myself an ounce of downtime.  I was sad to leave my friends and family to return to a place that, while it’s getting easier, still isn’t “home” to me.

I was straight up discouraged and feeling like I wasn’t making any kind of difference in my own world, let alone anyone else’s and in my overtired state, I truly was starting to believe that that was that.  Maybe my time of serving with students was over.  Maybe I was just meant to lead a quiet, unassuming (ahem) life from here on out.  Who was I to feel that it should be different?  Why did I even think I should being doing anything or making a difference?

The sun came out.  I got a little teensy bit of sleep.  I walked over two miles at training Saturday and was proud of myself.  I wasn’t “there” yet but I was starting to feel a bit better and more like myself.

After my dog rescuing adventure, I made it over to church for the women’s luncheon (30 minutes late and smelling of wet dog!)  The theme of the event was “Bloom Where You’re Planted”, which has been a favorite saying of mine for many years, and they had arranged for the leader of our health ministry to speak.  She had an object lesson using a plant and various size pots to show us how we best grown where we are planted.  It wasn’t anything I didn’t know already or hadn’t heard but one thing she said really struck a cord in my discontented spirit:

Just because the ground is fallow, doesn’t mean it’s barren.

I kept replaying this over and over in my head.  Growing up in a somewhat rural area of Pennsylvania, I learned early on about how farmers rotate crops.  For instance, a farmer might alternate corn one year with wheat the next, to keep the ground alive and fertile. And sometimes, a field is tilled but not planted for a season so the ground can rest.  The ground is at greater risk for erosion during this time and it needs to be broken up, turned over, smoothed out and cultivated before you can replant but hopefully when you do, what you plant will grow and flourish.

Just because I don’t feel like God is using me right now, doesn’t mean my usefulness has ended.  Just because I feel discouraged and want things to be different, doesn’t mean something isn’t happening in my life. Maybe this is a period of rest, where my life got turned upside down so something beautiful can grow.

Just because the ground is fallow, doesn’t mean it’s barren.

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