A Golden Opportunity
to Share God's Word
(God Has a PLAN for Our Gunk!)
Fall holidays are approaching, and it's hard not to notice the seasonal decorations popping up everywhere. One commonly used decoration is the pumpkin. Not only does it add a touch of autumn to our homes, but it also serves as a beautiful metaphor for our spiritual growth. Beneath their hard exterior, pumpkins start as tiny seeds, which, as they grow, become saddled with a lot of "gunk," but eventually are gutted out and transformed into something magnificent. In the same way, we all start small and carry our baggage. However, God has a plan for our gunk, and we can find inspiration from pumpkins to embrace our imperfections, let go of our doubts, and become the best version of ourselves.
We All Begin as Seeds
But you, friends, are well-warned. Be on guard lest you lose your footing and get swept off your feet by these lawless and loose-talking teachers. Grow in grace and understanding of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 3:18, MSG)
Inside every pumpkin is thousands of seeds, ready to become something great. Just like each seed is unique, each of us is born with our own strengths and weaknesses. Although we cannot control the circumstances of our birth, we have the freedom to choose how we respond to life and nurture the seeds God has planted inside of us. As we go through life, it's easy to get sidetracked by the worries and distractions that consume us, but it's important to remember that those seeds have an inherent potential to become something great. Whether dealing with personal struggles, identity crises, or difficult circumstances, we can trust that every experience is a part of our transformation and that nothing happens by accident.
As We Grow, We Also Grow the Gunk Inside
Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. (Matthew 16:24-26, MSG)
Despite our best intentions, life throws curveballs that challenge our faith and personal growth. Our struggles and disappointments often manifest into attitudes, expectations, and behaviours that hinder rather than help us. When we allow these things to take root, we grow the "gunk" inside us. This term represents the negative thoughts, beliefs, and habits that keep us from becoming our best selves. The good news is that just as pumpkin guts are removed so that we can carve creations, God knows how to get out our gunk. By turning to Him and remaining vigilant in self-awareness, we can identify and surrender our weaknesses to God, be strengthened by His grace, and make room for growth and transformation.
God Knows How to Gut Out Our Gunk
I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. (Jeremiah 29:11, MSG)
God has a unique, individualized plan for our lives. He intends for us to surrender our worries, fears, and doubts and allow him to work within us to guide us towards the potential He sees in us. Yet, sometimes, it's hard to see beyond our fears and inadequacies. We can trust, however, that God knows exactly what needs to be removed from our lives so that we can reach our full potential. He promises in Jeremiah 29:11 that His plans for us are good and that He desires to prosper and not harm us. Even when things don't go our way, or we feel stuck in a rut, God is working behind the scenes, helping us to grow and reach our potential.
We Can All Be a Light
I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16, MSG)
Finally, the pumpkin teaches us that beauty can arise from the darkest and most inappropriate places. By allowing ourselves to be stripped of our gunk, we can be a light to others. As we grow in faith and confidence in God, we are empowered to help others do the same. In Matthew 5:16, Jesus reminds us to let our light shine before others so that they can see our good works and give glory to God. Through small acts of kindness or large-scale endeavours, we can be a light to others, inspiring them to grow and embrace their God-given potential.
Halloween and pumpkins can actually be a great reminder of the transformative power of GROWTH. We start as seeds with our unique potential; as we grow, we become burdened with gunk. Yet, ultimately, God has a plan for that gunk, and by surrendering it to Him and remaining vigilant in our self-awareness, we can embrace our imperfections and become the best version of ourselves. Through it all, we can all be a light to others, reminding them of the transformative power of faith in God.
God knows our true character and understands our struggles with the day-to-day "life" stuff. We can never hide from Him, but His desire is to come into our lives and be a light to guide and encourage us. Remember, He is a light that will never burn out. So go out into the world and be a light, knowing that God is with you every step of the way.
As you prepare your pumpkins for this season, take a moment to reflect on your personal growth. Allow God to work in you, remove the gunk, and shine a light on your beauty and potential.