On a recent weekend trip to Midland, Michigan to see my daughter and son-on-law, we decided to “stop and smell the dahlias.” I realize I’m taking some creative license with the original expression to “stop and smell the roses.” In our culture, it means to relax; to take time out of our busy schedule and worries and appreciate the beauty of life. That’s what my wife, Alisa, and I were trying to do. I discovered that Midland has a quaint little public garden, called, “Dahlia Hill.”
Getting Back To Nature
People can “get away from it all” and/or feel close to God in different ways. Personally, I like getting back to nature. Therefore, I love seeing new places and landscapes on a vacation and thinking about God’s creation. I’m almost hypnotized with the beauty of sunrises, sunsets, cloud formations and the change of seasons. I also love a peaceful walk in the woods or even the serenity of landscaping with the amazing variety of plants and flowers in my own garden. And on this day – combined with a love of photography – we enjoyed the dahlias.
Life Challenges and Worry
In our mission, we see a lot of pain and suffering of all kinds from all walks of life. We do our best to support our participants, volunteers, other contributors and all their loved ones. We teach that worry isn’t productive but it seems like there’s a lot more to worry about these days. Faith is a key factor in coping and healing, no matter what the challenge. I saw a connection between faith, my own self-care, the flower garden and the struggles we all face.
Flowers and Worry
Read these comforting words from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, using the more contemporary or lay-person, Message Bible translation: (Matthew 6:25-34)
25 “If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. 26 Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds. 27 Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? 28 All this time and money wasted on fashion – do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, 29 but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.
30 If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers – most of which are never even seen – don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?
(continued) 31 What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. 32 People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. 33 Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. 34 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”
These are possibly the best lines about worry in the entire bible. I find these words – from the Lord himself – incredibly comforting and inspiring. Hopefully, you do, too! I love the comparisons that Jesus makes, to help our life perspective, especially in verses 26 and 30. God cares for everything in incredible detail, but we mean the most of all to him. We may feel out of control, but he is always in control. He will help us handle anything that comes along.
Watch this light-hearted video of “Smell The Roses” by Cecily. I hope you’ll be “praising . . . in the middle of the crazy . . .”
What do you do to relax, unwind and enjoy the beauty of life around you? People-watch at a park? Fellowship with friends and family? Take in some art, music or nature? What can you plan to do today or this week that would help? Can you also recognize and seize the impromptu moments of daily life to “stop and smell the dahlias?”
Lord, thank you for speaking to us and listening to us at any moment of any day. Thank you for the beauty of your creation and the daily reminder it gives us of you, the Creator. Between every sunrise and sunset, we will face highs and lows. Help us remember to “stop and smell the dahlias.” Thank you for walking with us and loving us, no matter what. And bless the person reading this, right now and whatever they may be going through. I pray that they feel your presence and your comfort and your peace. Amen!
Thanks for joining us on this self-care and faith break! Let us know your thoughts. Please like, comment, and share with others on social media, and/or use the space below!
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