During this time of social distancing, I acquired habits that came easy. Are these new behaviors simply natural inclinations being afforded the occasion to unearth themselves, or am I budding new blooms? Perhaps both.

I feel like a perennial flower, returning to itself time after time, growing in ways seen and unseen. There is a paradox in returning to self while growing. We often think of returning as going backward and growing as evolving. And yet, both are required to fully mature. Often in the space between returning and growing, peace calls our name and stems roots to blooms. We become connected to Jesus as our True Vine. In doing so, we connect to our truest selves.

“‘Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing’” (John 15:4-5).

With spiritual maturity, we grow deeper as we rise – a cycle of nourishment pulsating eternity into the fragility of the now. Pulsating and remaining may see like counter movements. However, we must keep our identity actively rooted in Christ to bloom for Him in full color, with full fragrance. In these efforts, action is required for both – a stretching of self and faith – working together to glorify God.

In growing, through trying and triumphant seasons, some will draw near and wonder how we continue with such trust and focus. Coming closer, they will see the vine and know God is the gardener. There will be some who cross our path who do not understand our hope; yet, they recognize something different abides in us. And this difference makes all the difference.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Created in Christ. What comfort these words bring! Freedom to reach high, knowing Christ’s hand steadies us while His unchanging Word grounds us. Knowing God has prepared a path takes away so much of the worry that attempts to cloud the view.

To walk with God is to walk where He leads. What place could be more lovely and secure than remaining in His company? His leading will never lead us astray.

Return to self – your truest self – by remaining connected to the True Vine. In doing so, you will notice the Son parting clouds anticipating your awaited blooms.

SGLY, dear reader.

(Smile, God Loves You.)

Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian author and opinion columnist. Submit feedback and connect for more soul lifts on Facebook: Tiffany Kaye Chartier; Instagram:@tiffanysgly; and Twitter: @tiffanychartier. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Texoma Marketing and Media Group.