Maybe I just haven’t been paying attention in all my years, but I have never heard of this phrase before this past weekend. So when I heard this phrase spoken during a sermon on Sunday I was intrigued and after like one google search I discovered that this was actually a very common phrase. After wondering where this phrase had been all my life I began thinking about why it, out of all the things that were preached during that sermon, was the thing that had stuck with me.“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and hope.” Jeremiah 29:11I’m sure most of us have heard of this verse at one time or another, but it was really interesting for me to look at the context of this verse and how it applied to the “bloom where you are planted” idea. Basically, during this time, Israel had been exiled to Babylon. They were forced to be in this new place and culture, and under new leadership and they weren’t exactly happy about it. They were bummed. They were sad that they had to be in this place that they didn’t choose and longed to be back in their homeland.

Perhaps you’ve experienced a kind of "exile" of your own at one time in your life. Maybe you’ve had to live somewhere that wasn’t your top choice. Maybe you're in a position at work when you would rather be somewhere else. Or maybe you feel like you’re stuck at a school that wasn’t first on your list. We’ve all been there. Wondering why we're even in the places, jobs, houses, etc. that we’re in. Longing to be somewhere else. Overall being discontent with the things in our lives and always looking ahead to the next best thing/stage in life.

When we’re in our “exile” or situations that we wish were different, we become like the Israelites. Bummed and longing for what we truly want. We lose sight of the fact that God wants to use us right now, exactly where we’re at. We get complacent in our responsibilities because we're so focused on getting to that “next big thing."

Jeremiah 29:4-14 is God encouraging the Israelites to settle into their new environment. To become content with where He had them at that time. He tells them to build houses, plant gardens, marry, and have children because they were going to be there for 70 years. He wanted them to be participants in their new culture instead of just wishing for something else.

So what would happen if we were thankful for every job, every living situation, every class or community we were in with the understanding that God wants to use us in every situation He leads us into? What if we began to fully participate in life in every situation or environment regardless of how we felt about it or how we wished things were? Instead of wallowing in the fact that this may not be the place or situation we want to be in and constantly longing for something different, lets have an attitude of being content with where God has us right now and keeping our hearts open to however He wants to use us right in this moment. God has placed you here for a reason so bloom where you’re planted.