I have a compulsion to buy houseplants. I suppose it’s better than being impetuous with kittens, but I’m now watering plants for an hour every Friday.

It’s an hour well spent.

Last week, while fussing over my begonias and checking the soil on my succulents, I started pondering this little obsession of mine. I’ve never considered myself having a green thumb — quite often what I bring home doesn’t make it.

Hand reaching for plants symbolizing God's care for us.

But it’s not for lack of trying. And learning. And thinking about them.

Each plant presents a little quirk I have to decipher, and offers a reward if I’m right. It’s like a game to me: where is this one going to be happiest? How much water is it going to need? Will it need a bigger pot? Will it ever bloom? What will it look like as it grows?

I expect my aloe plant to continue growing into the monster it’s promising to be — it may have to have it’s own room some day. My orchids bloom once a year; the cyclamen should only bloom through the winter, but has surprised me with four months of continuous flowers. My jade is a slow-grower while my anthurium is rapidly turning into a bush. Note to self: it’s going to need to rest in a few weeks to encourage reblooming.

My goal is always to bring out the best in them by providing the kind of care each individual plant needs.

It’s a pretty straight-forward goal — kind of a no-brainer.

Multiple plants on a window symbolizing our individuality in God.

And that got me thinking . . . .

If it’s a no-brainer for plants, why is it so hard to apply the same care to the people in our lives–to society in general? What would happen if we saw everyone as we do houseplants, with individual beauty and needs — and our goal was to bring out the best in them? And accept them for what they are?

What would happen if we saw everyone as we do houseplants, with individual beauty and needs -- and our goal was to bring out the best in them? And accept them for what they are? Click To Tweet
Cactus in bloom

Would we become more understanding? More forgiving? More tolerant? Would we see a child growing in an unstable household as a rose with too little light–that they’re simply focused on surviving and unable to flourish? Would we accept that God made some people like a cactus, with deeply buried roots searching for water, and prickly on the outside? (By the way, when those cacti bloom, you’re in for an amazing show)

And what if we internalized that attitude for ourselves? So many of us are trying to be something we’re not because we like the look of someone else’s bloom. We end up nurturing and pushing ourselves in ways that don’t encourage our own growth.

No amount of training will make a China Doll creep like a philodendron. Our envy keeps us from walking the path the Lord needs us to fulfill.

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

Ephesians 5:15-16

Let’s let God fuss over us. He is the Master Gardener after all.

Trust Him to give us the right amount of water, put us in the proper place for sun, and let us rest when we need to. If we accept each other’s (and our own) quirks, we will grow up into Him and be built as one body in love.


When we invite the Lord into our everyday lives, He teaches us lessons from the small things. And lessons learned first-hand lead to deep spiritual transformation. Slow down and learn to turn to Him throughout your day with scriptural meditation. Begin your journey here.


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Houseplants that taught me a lesson from God.