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Analogy of a Sunflower

Analogy of a Sunflower. How to avoid wilting in your spiritual life.

God certainly built into His creation many lessons that we can apply to our spiritual lives.  I'd like to share what the Lord taught me about the spiritual life as I observed the life of a sunflower.

Look at Those Sunflowers Grow!

One of the many joys of  homeownership, is having a yard, making it your own with your taste in shrubbery and flowers.

One particular year my husband bought little peat pots for planting mammoth sunflower seeds.  He watered them every day and within 8-10 days, those little seeds started to burst forth.  I think all but maybe two successfully germinated.

Two weeks ago, before our vacation, the sunflower plants were about 5 inches tall and still pretty spindly.  We left them on the rail of our deck, to soak up the warm sunshine and to receive any rains that might come when we were unable to water them.

When we came home, my husband called for me with astonishment in his voice telling me to come look at the sunflowers.   When I looked out the window, I was amazed!  They had grown at least three times their size and were now hardy, two foot tall, strong looking plants.   If we were home, I think we might have actually seen them grow right before our eyes!  lol.

This weekend my husband transplanted those sunflower plants into the ground next to the back of our house.    He uprooted each sunflower from the barrel which had been their home for the past month and transplanted them into the hard dirt - the sunflowers still looking strong and healthy in the process.

Despite this, my husband did question whether the sunflowers would take.  I responded very confidently, "Just look at them, they are so hardy looking.  They will be just fine!"

How soon I had forgotten...  In a matter of minutes, one by one, all seven of them began to wilt.  The leaves hanging their, looking dead and lifeless...

Analogy of a Sunflower. How to avoid wilting in your spiritual life.

Again, I marveled at how quickly a plant could look so lifeless, minutes after being uprooted...

My husband watered the transplanted sunflowers and by the morning, they were happy once again. But as the sun rose higher in the sky later that day, beating down on the newly transplanted sunflowers, they began to wilt again...

When the sunflower plants were rooted in their original potted homes,  the sun's heat served to strengthen them, and they grew exponentially.  Now, those same sunflowers were suffering and wilting in the heat of the day.  The sun becoming too much for them after being uprooted...

Once the sunflower plant's roots seek refuge deep in the soil of the ground again, they will begin to thrive, as sunflowers always do, reaching toward the sun, unaffected by the heat, growing higher and higher, with bright yellow flowers showing a cheerful display.

The Wilted Sunflower and the Spiritual Life

I started to think of my own Spiritual life of late....  Looking much like the wilted sunflower above...

As often happens in life, we go through peaks and valleys in our activities, and our distractions...

Our families and homes are a top priority.  We have obligations, moments to cherish and heartaches to bear...

Some of us have jobs which we may find either quite fulfilling and rewarding, or stressful and burdensome.

And then there are the hours spent blogging...

We wouldn't blog if we didn't enjoy writing or being part of a community where wonderful relationships are formed, where iron sharpens iron, and encouragement is a constant.

But lately, though,  I am allowing life to take away from my Life in Jesus.

None of my day to day activities are bad things in and of themselves, but when they take away from my Bible reading, in the entirety of a day, every day, I have failed to put God in a place of priority and honor.  A God who is ALWAYS desiring to spend time with me and who died for me!

Leaving me feeling spiritually wilted and dead... 

Much like the uprooted sunflower looking lifeless, when I am not rooted in the Word of God each day, everything about life seems unsatisfactory, and everything about my efforts feels like a losing battle - failing everyone - especially my Heavenly Father...   {If you too struggle with feeling like a failure, please check out my post, The Antidote for Feeling Like a Failure which you can read HERE.}

Instead of rooting myself in the Word of God, I am unwittingly rooting myself into the activities of the day, which as days go will find me disappointed and frustrated.  When the heat of situations threaten, I wilt like the sunflower, my anxiety and bad mood evident to all - far from a testimony of contentment in Jesus.


When I saw how quickly the sunflower plant failed soon after it was uprooted, it was such a profound analogy to me of how quickly I can sink into sin and despair when I uproot myself from the Word of God for an extended period of time.

Even more profound was to watch the sunflower plant react so differently to the heat of the sun while deeply rooted and after it had been uprooted.

The deeply rooted sunflower grew rapidly, gaining strength from the sun.

How true is that in life, when we are deeply rooted in the Word of God, fiery trials may come our way, but instead of being defeated, the trials actually strengthen us, growing our faith further.

Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed...
Colossians 2:7

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.   And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat  on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.
Matthew 7:24-25

So that the tested genuineness of your faith  - more precious than gold
 that perishes though it is tested by fire - may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 
1 Peter 1:7

But when the uprooted sunflower plant was initially transplanted into the hard ground, the hot sun caused it to become distressed with an appearance of dying...

When we have been out of the Word of God for a period of time, fiery trials elicit responses of dismay, anxiety and even disobedience - giving the appearance of spiritual death.

And everyone who hears these Words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.
Matthew 7:26-27

The Analogy of a Sunflower Applied Practically

In my years walking with the Lord, I have tried adapting to my circumstances, making sure that I have found time to spend in the study of God's Word.  

As a new believer, I couldn't get enough of the Word.  I was involved in a small group Bible study, and also independently spent time daily in the Scriptures.

When my children were small, a sister in the Lord spurred me on to read my Bible before my feet hit the floor in the morning.  She encouraged me to set my alarm to allow for time in God's Word.

During my homeschooling and home business years, I had a Bible on the kitchen table where I would read it during my breakfast and lunchtime.  I also had a Bible in the bathroom, and well, you get the gist of that.  lol.  I also attended Sunday evening services and Sunday School, each of which went through a separate book of the Bible.  That was such a rich time in my life where I grew exponentially in my knowledge of Scripture and my understanding of my God and Father.

During my brief empty nest stage, I was able to devote entire afternoons to the Word and in prayer.  I cherish those days...

I'm not sure why in this season of my life, it has taken me so long to establish a new study and prayer time that works for me.  Many excuses are popping into my head as to why, but this isn't about excuses, it is about how I will move forward to ensure meaningful time in the Word.

I have found that the more water I drink, the more thirsty I become.  I have also found this true of God's Word, the more time I spend in the Scriptures, the more I crave it!

But he answered and said,  It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
Matthew 4:4

If you abide in my Word you are truly my disciples, and you will know
 the Truth and the Truth will set you free.
John 8:31-32

Analogy of a Sunflower.  How to avoid wilting in your spiritual life.

Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly..
Colossians 3:16

{For more spiritual lessons from my garden, please head over to my post Gardens and Groundhogs, which you can read HERE, where I answer the question, "How do I work out my salvation?"}

May we all be like the sunflower, deeply rooted, reaching for the Son.

You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eLivefree Thursday,Everyday JesusSDG GatheringInspire Me Monday Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me GraceA Little R&RTestimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryBlessings Counter Link-up Party,Faith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe SaltyMonday's MusingsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTuesday TalkWaiting on Wednesday,Dance with Jesus,Looking Up Link-UpReflect His Love & GloryFriend Sharpens Friend Link-UpWholehearted Wednesdays


  1. Sweet analogy, Karen. :)
    I love how you pointed out that the sunflower gains strength from the sun when it's deeply rooted, but is wilted by the sun when its roots are shallow. Love that insight.
    Thank you for sharing. :)

    1. Brenda, Thank you for blessing me with such kind words. :-)

      I'm so glad you visited!

  2. This is so true, Karen. Oh, how we NEED God and to stay close to Him and keep rooted in His Word in these trying times! I find I need Him more and more. So thankful for you and this wonderful post. :)

    1. Cheryl, thank you for your sweet words of encouragement. Your visits always bless me.

      Rooted together in the Word of God. :-)

  3. Karen, I love sunflowers and I love this post. I'm reminded of Isaiah's words to Israel about becoming and remaining "a watered garden." If I'm feeling scorched (or droopy like those poor sunflowers), I know it's because I'm not being watered by the Word. Thank you for your words here.

    1. Michele, The verse you mentioned from Isaiah was one of the very first ones I memorized as a new believer! Thank you for reminding me! :-)

      Indeed! The Word truly does sustain us.

      Thank you for your kinds words. So glad you visited!

  4. I enjoy the spiritual analogy of a sunflower as well!

  5. Thank you Karen for sharing this great post with us at Good Morning Mondays. I appreciate the analogy and the encouragement to not let life take me from God. Blessings

    1. Terri, Thank you for your encouraging words.

      It's always a blessing to have you visit. :-)

  6. I just love this analogy. I have felt the same way and have lately come back into the habit of bible reading every morning. It has put me in a good way againl.

    1. The Lord never ceases to amaze me as I write for His Glory. It was in the midst of praying and writing through this post that the Lord showed me the analogy and how profound it truly is.

      I'm glad you have found your way back to daily Bible reading and are reaping the blessings. :-)

      Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Such a cool analogy. I totally identify and appreciate that you shared it with me! (I have a spot in my heart for Sunflowers-- esp as a Kansas girl. :-) Thanks!

    1. Sharita, Thank you for your words of appreciation.

      When I was 16 our family drove cross-country. The fields and fields of sunflowers as we drove through Kansas are such a stand-out memory for me! Thanks for the reminder! :-)

  8. Such a beautiful analogy. I have a tendency to get wrapped up in blogging and on line community and forget that I need to be spending more time at His feet. Thank you for sharing at The Weekend Brew!

    1. Barbie, Thank you for your kind words.

      Yes, it happens to the best of us.

      I enjoy being part of the Weekend Brew community. :-)

      So glad you visited.

  9. Thank you for sharing at Waiting on...Wednesday! What a perfect analogy! Hope you'll visit us again tomorrow!

    Holly @

  10. So very true! I often find myself falling into that rut of making life more important that my life in Jesus! It takes such intentionality and when life falls into seasons of extreme busyness, I forget to be intentional! Thank you for the beautiful vision of the sunflower. It will stay in my mind as a reminder!
    So glad I stopped by from #DanceWithJesus!
    Blessings and smiles,

    1. Lori, Yes, "intentional" has been my word of late, in all aspects of life and most especially toward Jesus.

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I have been blessed by our visit. :-)

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