Poppies stand tall, you have permission to shine.
When my daughter was 3 years old, she drew people with ‘a developed sense of perspective for her age.’ An artist friend commented after seeing a picture she had drawn. I did not know it was special, it was just how she drew people.
Not long after, she started 3-year-old kindergarten, and her drawings changed.
One day she came home with a drawing of a person. It was a dramatically simplified. She had reduced her expression of how to draw people to accommodate the common denominator. She drew just like most of the other kids at kindy.
As her mother, I was sad. She had reduced her expression to match those around her. She had ‘towed the line.’ Indeed, I found out later, she had been ‘cut down’ to size. Others had made sure that she understood that her being fully herself was not acceptable. She needed to look (draw) just like everyone else. And she made sure she drew to the ‘average’ standard of her peers from that day forth.
I did not love her less because she had made the choice to be like all the rest. But I was sad. My daughter, who saw things differently, with great detail and even humour, had unwittingly bowed down to the ‘common’ denominator.
‘Average’ is not bad. We are all ‘average’ at something, but we also all shine at something.
The issue becomes when we reduce ourselves to meet other people’s standards of what ‘should be,’ and choose not to shine, not to stand tall.
It can start young – that pressure to step back in line. That thing that causes others to cut you down if you do things well, if you are different in any shape or form.
It’s called the ‘tall poppy syndrome’ here in Australia. It whispers, “never allow yourself to shine brighter than others in any field, because if you do, you will be ‘cut down to size.’”
Sounds awful, doesn’t it?
I can say with authority.
‘IT IS NOT KINGDOM!’
We are all called to look up, stand tall, step up, and step out.
Our Kingdom call is upwards and out.
I believe we are in a season where the Father is saying to the Body, especially here in Australia,
‘Stand tall, my Bride stand tall.’
Indeed, He has said through all millennia,
‘Stand tall, my Bride stand tall.’
There is room for us all to step fully into our sphere of influence, and it is the Father’s heart that we not shrink back into expected boxes, but to, in all our diversity, shine.
And so I call forth,
‘Poppies arise. Stand tall, stand tall. Poppies arise, and shine.’
Diverse tall ones are being called to the light. There is an encouragement from Heaven for a heart of unified diversity, in which tall poppies can flourish. Poppies in a field are different, but the same. Standing side by side, they support one another. Together, they create great beauty. One not worried, nor perturbed by the other. Instead, encouraging the next to stand.
A tall poppy in isolation will often bow down under the weight that they carry; but together, they support one another to stand tall, faces turned to the sun.
As poppies stand tall, side by side (in community) they create a support network one to the other in which all can stand tall. So too in Kingdom. If we will stand tall, and allow, even encourage, others to do the same, we will create a support network that will cause many more to arise and together do all that the Father desires.
And so it is time for the Aussie poppy to stand tall. It is time for tall poppies to encourage others to stand tall. There are fields of tall poppies that are called together who will reach and establish the Glory of the Lord. We must encourage one another as we stand tall turned to the Son.
We recognise and encourage those that have gone before us to continue to stand. We recognise and encourage the growth into fullness, those that follow, and we maintain a stance of acknowledging and supporting our peers.
In standing tall ourselves, while encouraging others to stand tall, we will all benefit, for in lifting others, we all rise.
So I say,
‘Stand tall, tall poppies, stand tall! No longer allow yourself to be reduced to the common denominator, but stand tall, and call others to your side to stand tall, too, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.’
So I say, ‘stand tall’
‘Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.’ Matthew 5:15
‘Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.’ Isaiah 60:1-3
©Beth Kennedy 2022
Many years ago I was convicted by a co-worker about the fact that I’d been storing my artwork under my bed, literally. He’d brought up the light under a bushel scripture (Matthew 5:14-16). Very helpful on days where I’m feeling less than or that my work is not important. (But to clarify the paintings were in a fragile medium and not secured so they needed a safe place to be stored so they wouldn’t accidentally get smeared in the day to day.) Tall poppy idea doesn’t make sense if you think about it. Look at celebrities in that we allow them to shine and not only that WE PAY THEM TO SHINE with our hard earned money AND we pay them to go around the world to different countries on tour to shine as well! So really we’re just cutting down those around us , the average Joe people types in the day to day aka our neighbor. I get that this is an Australian and a British thing, the tall poppy, but really there is the same thing under different names in different countries and it’s got to stop. It may be a way to “keep humble” or keep ego of others in check but it’s destroying people’s giftings that could be of great help to society. A young gifted relative of mine is very smart, to the point that they don’t have to study much for tests and assignments. Fellow classmates noticed their intelligence and instead of cheering them on would ask them questions like “Do you think you’re smarter than us?” or why did they have to be so smart? The point was silence my relative, to shame them to shut up. And so the relative did and tried to hide their intelligence in class so that the comments/bullying would stop. It was so sad. Thankfully though they’re still doing good in school grades wise and is on course for going to uni. There’s a difference between being prideful in a healthy and unhealthy manner. We should lift one another up when it comes to God’s giftings for each of us. He gives them to us to help not just the Body of Christ but the world in order to glorify Himself and draw men unto himself. I’m a little testy when it comes to this topic because as an artist I have heard so often over my life that art is useless, a waste of time, while seeing these same people benefit from the arts, for example someone’s artwork or clothing design, interior design, floral design, etc., but they don’t see it. So frustrating. I can see how the enemy uses this lack of understanding to cut people down and drive them away from using their gifts and not just art giftings. Love this post, Beth. Very encouraging. Thank you for sharing it. God bless you!
I hear you.
Arise and shine time for you my friend ✨
I understand the intelligence thing. I’m glad she’s still holding her own. I dumbed myself down at school to be accepted, didn’t work 🙈 I taught my children not to as they grew older.
We are a body, we want to say to the kidney, keep doing a great job because the body depends on you! Biggest of hugs and pull out that art work and cherish it. Get it finished and get it out there. A great seminar will be online too at Jubilee Church Sydney (Isi de Gersigny heads it up, psalmist, writer, prophet, apostle) called Create for artists etc. Also Dan McCollam has some great material on finishing and releasing our artwork and how important it is… Google and see if you can find some of his stuff it’s brilliant.