There's been a drought where I live. My yard is a dust farm. I was recently away for 8 days and during that time almost nothing new grew around the house. Only one new flower made a home in our garden while we were gone. A tall, skinny chicory stalk was basking by our mailbox on Saturday evening when we pulled into the driveway. I knew the rain wouldn't be coming for days yet, so I went out and cut the stalk. I put it in a mason jar of water with some early blackberries on the stem and other things. I started referring to this strange assemblage as the "drought bouquet."

Three mornings in a row I walked out onto the back porch with my coffee mug to find a different flower opening on my chicory stalk. A scrawny weed pulled from the front yard in the midst of the drought. Something about that was touching to me.

Image credit goes to . . . me! You can tell because it's obvious that I have no clue what I'm doing when I use Pixelmator. That's ok - I'll learn! Anyway - that is my bouquet changing itself over the course of 3 days.

Look at the Lillies of the Field.

Flowers bloom to perpetuate life - it's a job. It happens because that's what it's created to do. Flowers don't struggle to put their colors on. They just do it.

We struggle, don't we?

I was about to write a list of common struggles and then decided against it. You know what your struggles are. I know what mine are, too.

We can stop, though. I'm not sure that we're meant to be a whole lot different from flowers or anything else living. We wear ourselves out with all this trying to be . . . 

Successful. Fit. A "Good" Christian. Right. The Winner. Superior. Justified (a personal favorite of mine). I'm just gonna stop there.

God is with you, stranger. God is with you, friend. God is with you even if you're not my friend anymore. God is with you even if you never were my friend. God is with me. God is here where I'm sitting and also where you are.

So just breathe. Be still for a few minutes. God is with you. God is with you. God is with you.

You don't have anything to prove.

I've spent a lot of my life trying to prove to other people that I can be or achieve certain things. Or trying to prove that I'm smart enough or good enough to be included (mostly musically, but also in other ways).

The most freeing thing I've ever said to God or anybody else has been, "I'm broken and I'm afraid." 

After saying that, the answer comes rushing in - "You don't have to prove anything to me, Kid."

You know, before writing this I actually trashed 3 different attempts at writing blog posts about finding your voice with good technique, teaching voice students in a way that's emotionally healthy, and being a music minister or choir director or band leader and the way our words impact somebody else's ability to sing comfortably. I might still write about those things another day. But I can't write about them today. Because today I would be trying to prove something to you by writing them. Today I recognized that same old chip on that same shoulder . . . And I don't have anything to prove to anybody. So I'm going to take that to God instead of taking it to all of you nifty readers.

I am what God made me. And I'm broken. God and I are talking about this daily, and that is helping me. I encourage you to do the same. You're God's kid, too. God loves you.

Peace&Goodness,

OLL

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