Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Are You Producing Someone Else's Fruit?

I have been relishing Priscilla Shirer's The Resolution for Women, which I'm reading for a biweekly women's Bible study group I attend. In her section entitled "Authentically Me," Shirer urges women to stop beating themselves up for who they aren't and to start figuring out who they truly are. Underneath the layers and layers of "what I should be" and "who I wish I were" is a woman with strengths and unique qualities that endear her to her husband, children, and friends. That is the woman Shirer urges us as women to rediscover and hold on to. 

But all too often we as women become blind to the God-given traits we possess, seeing only our weaknesses and trouble spots. We focus on our flaws, comparing our looks, our clothes, our possessions, even our children to those of other women. Instead of being content with who we are and being happy for others in their unique God-given qualities, we are in constant competition. Even friends "compete," vying for top prize in the game of life. 
But what is the point?

We were created, chosen, set apart by a God who has a perfect plan for us. A God in whose image we have been made. A God who expects us to "go out and produce fruit" (John 15:16). 
“Apple seeds are supposed to grow apple trees. Radish seeds are supposed to grow radishes. Likewise, your seeds are designed to produce a crop that’s uniquely yours. So there’s no point in trying to produce fruit that is someone else’s to grow. Your job at any given moment is to bring all your gifts, all your talents, all your propensities, and all your passions into this thing called life and believe that they are good enough to produce the fruit that is expected of you.”
                        Priscilla Shirer, The Resolution for Women, p. 59

We have a job to do, and that job involves the special talents and gifts God has granted us. It also involves encouraging other women in their walks. 

As women we need to begin by rediscovering who we are--our strengths, weaknesses, skills, idiosyncrasies and all. We need to start taking pride in ourselves as products of a wise and perfect Creator. We also need to abandon the petty competitions and start working together as women in Christ to accomplish the specific plans the Lord has laid out for each of us. 

An easy way to begin doing this is by giving sincere compliments to one another. I know personally that when a sister compliments me--whether it is on the behavior of my children, my appearance, or a post I've recently written--my heart bubbles with pride, and I am encouraged to persevere. Those "[p]leasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones" {Proverbs 16:24} When I feel discouraged, I remember them, and they provide sweet peace to my soul. 

What about you? Do you struggle with being authentically you?  How can you resolve today to change?

I'm praying for you, sister. Know that there is a God who created you as a part of His perfect plan and that you are "fearfully and wonderfully made."

Blessings to you,

For comments or questions, contact me at: growinginhisglory@gmail.com

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