Mums the Word

I was eating dinner with my in-laws this evening when someone asked Grandma about her flowers. They were Chrysanthemums, also known as mums, that had green petals. While mums come in many colors, it doesn’t seem that green is one of them. As the conversation went on, it turns out that the petals were died green. What I found to be interesting was that in order to dye the petals, you simply place the stem of the white flower in water colored with the food coloring of your choice, and in 24 hours or less, your mums’ petals are dyed to a new color.

I’m not going to attempt to explain the science as there are plenty of articles that you can read to learn about how it works but, suffice it to say, the dye is sucked up through the stem with the water and distributed through the petals. Some readers may be giving me the side eye here thinking this is simple horticulture and for the most part, I agree. What I found to be most fascinating was how little time it takes to change the color of the petal simply by altering its environment. This flower, that takes up to four months to grow from seed to bloom, in just 24 hours, can be drastically changed with a simple drop of color.

It got me thinking about how quickly our environments can affect our lives. When we are in an environment that encourages growth, connection, and creativity, we grow, connect, and create. When we are in an environment that is indifferent, or even worse, in opposition to these attributes, we quickly shrink back, disengage, and give up.

As someone who has thrived in the former and barely survived the latter, I know the importance of fighting to find an encouraging, growth-oriented, environment. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” God has created and purposed us for greatness; the only way to accomplish all that He has called us to is to grow and develop into the person he created us to be.

So what kind of environment are you living in? Is it one that provides the encouragement and connection that you need to grow? Or is it an environment that has been colored and tainted to turn you into something you were never created to be? Fight for growth, fight for connection, fight for creativity. It’s worth it!

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