Have you ever admired a sunflower? Just last week, I passed some during an evening stroll. Symbolizing adoration (notice they face the heavens), loyalty (sustained by a deep and complex root system) and longevity (tallest on record is over 30 feet high), they have a “happy” quality about them. Don’t you think? Rich in vitamins, sunflowers provide nutrients for skin and hair as well as a healthy diet. Their cheerful energy, history, growth process, and nutritional value are fascinating. For example, the sunflower plant contains menthol (apparently more even than peppermint). Huh!
Almost an ancient species (sources date them back as far as 3000 BC), sunflowers originated in North America (near present New Mexico). Native Americans grew them for food, medicine and dye. Around 1500 AD Spanish explorers brought the plant to Europe. Interestingly, Russia influenced their commercialism after catching the attention of Tsar Peter the Great who brought the plant to Russia. Sunflowers became popular when their oil was one of very few not banned by the Russian Orthodox Church during lent.
They’re certainly majestic; so big and bold. Yet, they are humble too. As a sunflower grows it looks to the sun, moving its center to follow the sun’s path across the sky from east to west, as if knowing and following the source of light, energy, and nutrition. The seemingly smiling flower faces the sky as if to praise its Creator, soak in the warm rays, and feast off the sun as literal nourishment for growth. I can’t help but notice how it does not choose its own path, run from, or attempt to hide from source energy. Instead it accepts what it was conceived to be; it’s only purpose to glorify its maker and beautify our world.
Humans tend to run from our Creator/God. At times we even fear Him. Although we believe ourselves to be good, we are both quite aware of and insecure in our own weakness. Without realizing, we often “lower” our faces in shame or denial; perhaps we work hard to justify our actions. After all, human life is complex! We have rules, relationships, and responsibilities. It’s not easy to go with the flow; accept who and what we are or all circumstances that come our way. We’d rather affect, control and direct our own path. We forget how simple the glory of creation can be. Why? What if we were able to be more open to going with the flow? Hmmmm….
What if instead, we put that effort into pausing and listening? Might we understand better whispers of insight, guidance, and above all, love? Being open to [any] new direction is not always comfortable. Most of the time, we don’t find life simple. We find the stirring God’s values into our own confusing and chaotic. Overall, we are good people who do good, who obey the law, who are kind, generous, and caring. Yet we pick and choose when, where, who, and how we carry out such.
For me, I plan to be more attentive and work to more directly follow the rays of the sun and whispers of the wind. It may mean choosing to let go some control, but by following source energy more completely, we give a true gift of love and faith. In doing so, I/we may be able to live more simply--or at least without as much chaos and complexity.
So for this month, let’s consider: when we hear the voice of the Holy Spirit urging us to turn toward Himself, to come to a different place or altered way of being, can we raise our faces and follow with a glow of delight? What if we could mimic the simplicity of the sunflower with less resistance... even some of the time?
“If you give God the right to yourself, He will make a holy experiment out of you.
God’s experiments always succeed.”
- Oswald Chambers
For I know the plans I have for you; plans for good and not disaster, to give you a
future of hope.
- Jeremiah 29:11
Listen to me, and you shall eat well, you shall delight in rich fare.
Pay attention and come to me; listen, that you may have life.
...It shall not return to me empty, but shall do what pleases me,
achieving the end for which I sent it.
Yes, in joy you shall go forth, in peace you shall be brought home.
- Isaiah 55: 2-3,11-12
Let your light shine, so others may see your good and glorify the Father
- Matthew 5:16
Lillian Corrigan uses writing to learn, inspire and encourage both others and herself. No stranger to devastating, life-altering hardship and loss, she's begun working as a motivational author.