Tuesday, December 31, 2013

365 Days to Fruitful (my One Word 2013 recap)

Last January I was introduced to a blogging project called "One Word 365." And I decided to try it.  My word for 2013 was "fruitful." (I explain my process for choosing this word here.) I thought it was fitting, on the eve of a new year, to reflect on this word and what I've learned over the last 365 days.

The word "fruitful" means to produce. And what is produced is meant to be good, useful, and abundant.

With any production comes a lot of pressure, responsibility, and an awful lot of doing. Or so I always thought.

But if that's all "fruitful" is then the ability to produce becomes all about me and what I do or don't do. Sounds like a trap, especially for someone like me, who has believed for a long time that my value comes from what I do.

I have thankfully come to see that fruitful is so much more.

When I think of something that is fruitful, I think of an apple tree. But an apple tree doesn't have to do anything special to be fruitful. It just has to be a tree. A healthy tree. It grows where it's planted. It weathers the seasons. And when it's time, it bears the fruit it was created to grow.

And then I read this, by Max Lucado:

"Your job is not to bear fruit. Your job is to cling to Jesus. He is the vine, you are the branch. Hold on to Him and fruit will happen."

Such a freeing statement. We may desire to live fruitful lives, but it is not our job to produce the fruit.

The fruit I was created to bear is already inside of me. I need only be me. The healthiest, best me I can be. And He will produce the fruit.

No pressure. Nothing I can do.

This is what I have learned this year. To stop trying so hard to achieve, to be found useful. And when I rest in Him, I care for myself better. I stop beating myself up for not being enough.

May we stop all our own doing so we are free to bear the fruit God created us to bear.

May we find contentment in our fruit, whether it's a shiny, golden apple or a juicy, red tomato, or a plum or a pear or an orange.

Linking today with…

Friday, December 6, 2013

Reflection (a five minute friday)

My Five Minute Friday on: Reflect

I spoke yesterday at a local MOPS group. I told them all about how to take better pictures. I grasped the sides of the podium, microphone poised and ready for my words and all I could think of was "how did I wind up here?"

I'm not a speaker, after all.

I told you once how I feel like a fraud. How I hesitate to claim, well, much of anything in my life for fear that someone might then expect something from me. And what if I can't deliver?

It's taken me the past year to see the flaw in that.

After throwing away the ruler and giving myself permission to be human, I have words being spoken into my heart of love and acceptance.

Why do I struggle to believe them?

It's confusing to a child when innocence is stolen, but it makes no more sense to me now. The betrayal defined me. It told me I didn't matter. That who I am was not valuable enough to not abuse.

So it's no wonder I don't deep down believe the weight of words telling me I am lovely and treasured. Because actions have always spoken louder.

But Light is breaking through all of that.

I stare in the mirror at my reflection and I catch a glimpse of someone familiar, but unknown.

And by grace I am starting to see the contradiction —

of who I thought I was and who I suppose I really am.

**This story doesn't end here. Visit me on Monday to read how I have used fiction to define myself and relationships and why I stopped writing it.

Linking today with Lisa-Jo…
Five Minute Friday
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