I know what you’re thinking, what in the world does germination have to do with leadership? In a word, EVERYTHING. Just like you, seeds have everything they need to sprout when the time is right built inside their shells. And when you look at the science behind seed germination, the focus is all about the environment in which the seed is planted; what is the status of the soil, water and temperature? In fact, when a planted seed doesn’t germinate, the main reason is the environmental factors where it was planted. If everything is ideal, then the seed begins to show its first signs of life through the producing of a root.
Leadership is a lot like that seed. We each have everything we need built inside of us ready to sprout when the time is right. But, for our leadership to grow and develop, it takes being planted in the right conditions, the right environment. When we are given the chance to be planted in a nutrient rich soil or environment, then our roots will grow deep to sustain us as we begin to sprout new life and show the first growth of leadership. But what if we haven’t had the ideal conditions or the right environment for our leadership seed to germinate, what then?
The good news is that each of us was born with a unique seed in us. Regardless of our past environments; it’s never too late; it’s never too old; it’s never impossible for the seed to germinate. It does, however, take time. All it requires is for us to CHOOSE to plant it, to nourish it with life-giving sustenance and then watch as the first thing it produces are our roots. Those roots will reach deep into the ground and help sustain us and support us as we grow to into the leader God has called us to be. Allowing God to produce roots in us, will allow ourselves to have the support structure needed during stormy times in life; allow us to have the depth of wisdom needed to make decisions about what to do/where to go; will allow our seed to grow so that it can provide shade for others growing under us; and will allow our seed to remain healthy and strong so that it produces great fruit. Eventually, producing more seeds to be planted.
We are each called to be leaders in our own unique way within the unique circles in which we live. However, to live the abundant life we were designed for takes work. We have to choose to plant our seed in the ground-buried in the dark-with our true, authentic self, seemingly vanished from the naked eye and give it time to germinate. Oftentimes, that period can look a lot like failure. Cynthia Occelli said,
“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.” However, once this process has been completed, the change is undeniable.
Being planted where we are is crucial. God often starts with where we are right now and what is already in our hands. Levi Lusko says, “God almost always gets what’s in our hearts into the world through what’s already in our hands.” There are multiple examples of this throughout the Bible. Study King David who was first anointed while he was busy tending his sheep; or Nehemiah who God called while he was serving the king. It’s important to not skip the planting stage or to try to plant yourself elsewhere. Oftentimes, God will plant a dream in our heart while we wait building our roots..our character..our skillset where we’ve ALREADY been planted before allowing that dream-that seed to sprout life above ground for others to see.
Jeremiah 12:5 says, “The Lord rebukes Jeremiah for his impatience, saying ‘If you have raced with men on foot and they have tired you out, then how can you compete with horses? If you fall down in a land of peace (where you feel secured), then how will you do (among the lions) in the (flooded) thicket besides the Jordan?” I love this reminder about the importance of being planted right where you are. If you cannot grow where you are planted, how can you be expected to bloom somewhere else? Many of us have BIG dreams or callings on our lives. We want to skip the day in and day out little stuff and jump to the front of the line to receive our big dream. However, it doesn’t work like that. Big things start small. When God does something big, He often uses small things. Leadership that’s effective, always begins at home. Like it or not, the adage of ‘you have to bloom where you’re planted’ is true.
Now, we have a choice to make. Are we willing to do the hard work, the long-suffering work, of being planted, of waiting, of nourishing our seed so that deep roots will grow long before any evident change breaks the surface? It may require us to be uncomfortable-real change almost always does. Are we willing to be patient and wait in the dark-where we can’t easily see any change with the naked eye to know that growth is happening? Are we willing to trust and stay planted; patient and keep nourishing our seed? …
It’s an active choice. A farmer cannot passively plant new crops. He can’t look at the fields and wish they’d produce. He can’t pray to God and expect crops to grow from seeds that he never planted and worked to cultivate. Only once the farmer has done the labor of cultivating the ground, planting the seeds, watering and caring for his work can he trust God to germinate the work and for the fruit to come to life. The same is true for us. If we want to live the life God created us to live or become the leader we have the potential to be, we must first choose to do the work and grow our roots…to allow our leadership to germinate.