By Design

A preacher once said to me, “If you are planted in the right environment, you will flourish.” He was speaking metaphorically, of course, comparing our lives with those of trees. The preacher suggested that different types of trees require different environments, different soils, different exposure to light and so on, in order to grow into a healthy and proportionate tree.

I find this true of our lives. The more healthy our environment, the faster we will grow into our full height, as it were. There may be some environments that are naturally a better fit. In these natural environments we feel as though we are one with the environment by design, like a custom-made glove.

I’ve been thinking about this notion of “better fit” due to a recent change in my environment. Isn’t it funny how we don’t realise that one environment is a bad fit for us until we find a new environment that fits us better? I have found my new environment to be a vast improvement on the old, not necessarily because the last one was bad, but because the new one is a far better fit.

It can take a while to work out what actually fits us. For me, I’ve worked out that an environment which is just a little bit cooky is better than one that is, um, well, beige. I have worked out that I do better when I am around people who are just a bit nutty, just a bit creative, just a bit strange (in the nicest possible way). You can make of that what you will.

Many people struggle to find an environment that fits them. Single people can find it hard to fit in an environment of marrieds. Childless people may have difficulty fitting into an environment of parents and children. The disabled and chronically ill may feel out of place among the healthy.

Alternatively, what a joy it is to find that place of good fit. It is like coming home.

The ultimate good fit for us, of course, is heaven. We were made for heaven, designed for heavenly air and soil and light, created to crave nothing less and nothing else. God made us for Himself and for heaven by design so that we would seek Him, and in coming to heaven, we would be coming home.

If you have ever felt that strange cosmic niggling of discontentment with this world, that vague sense of this present life being insufficient, that distant and indefinable longing for more, it is because this world is not quite the right fit for us. This world is a beautiful place. But it is only temporary.

I know it is countercultural to think of this world as not being our home when it is the only home we have ever known. It can be weird, even foreign, to imagine a different and eternal home unlike anything we have ever seen. But it will happen. One of these days, we’ll be uprooted from this soil and transplanted in our new environment. Then we will recognise the better fit. We’ll be home.

Do you have a story of finding your fit? What places and people are a good fit for you? Where do you naturally flourish? Do you ever find yourself longing for more than this world has to offer?

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