As we are almost at the end of 2015, and we begin to look back on what we achieved, failed at, started, did and did not finish; and what we can do better in the next year and beyond, I thought it would be a good idea to post something which may help us with how we can start right or continue growing into 2016. To be fruitful (i.e. successful, producing good fruit and avoiding bad fruit as well as growing and multiplying) does not only refer to possessing a lot of money; we can be fruitful in our creative ideas and projects, our relations and relationships, spiritual walk, professional profile, our health (physically and mentally) and emotions (positive attitudes and behaviour). I believe that, so long as we are sowing, reaping and harvesting good fruit in at least one area of our lives, we can be successful in other ways than being rich but unhappy. So let us take a look at a few points to get us thinking about how we ought to go about producing good fruit…
Choose Your Fruit
Brainstorm; Plan; Create
Know what seed to plant by choosing what fruit you hope to produce… that’s exactly it, know where to start by planning where/how you wish to finish… For me, which means my opinion is only one of many, being fruitful or how to become fruitful is starting how you mean to go on. The outcome of what one hopes to achieve or where one plans to be by a certain time is usually the stimulus for how or where one starts. But, in order to know where we wish to be by the end of it all, or knowing how much time we’d need to reach there, we need to plan. As it is said, fail to plan and you plan to fail. I have a habit of writing things down so that ideas and thoughts are not clustered in my mind without making logical sense. This is the same with projects and even UNFXP; I brainstorm, I organise, I cross out and I rewrite, I pounder, I question and I weigh up the pros, cons, risks and likely outcomes. We need to put pen to paper and start joining up the dots of our ideas, mapping out our journey and sketching the substance to our ideas…
Plant in Good Soil
Build a Solid Foundation; Invest; Long/Short-term Plans
Before we see any plants or fruits blossom from the ground, a lot takes place in the soil that we do not see. It is important, therefore, to choose the right soil for the plant or fruit we hope to produce, and we need to be willing to make sensible investments which, in good time and in the right season, will contribute towards something good growing out of our soil.
Our soil supports the stem of our fruit and its branches, as well as the roots (see Strong Roots) so having a platform which holds up our plans, our goals and our ideas is necessary so that, no matter what or how much we produce, the ladder of our achievements or journey does not come tumbling down. With most investments (investment being time, energy, effort, money/shares etc.), we do not see the profits immediately so we need to make sure that what we contribute is worth the risk of a loss or the chance of a gain.
Having either a long-term or short-term plan effectively determines what soil we choose to plant our seeds in; we become selective with how much we invest in our long or short-term plan because we judge how far we plan to take it, that is, if we can control this. Let us take the example of starting and running a business (long-term). The soil may include a network with partners built on communication and trust; long days and short nights, less time invested in relationships yet more time spent on attending events for market research and promotion; and buying materials, equipment and resources whilst trying to remain stable and sane. The business (seed) has been planted with the foundation (soil) of networks, dedication, sacrifices and money but because the outcome (fruits) is yet to sprout, one must ensure that they have chosen the correct foundations to support what one wishes to produce in a few months or year(s) time.
8It was planted in good soil by many waters, To bring forth branches, bear fruit, And become a majestic vine.”
~Ezekiel 17: 8, NKJV~
Pull Out the Weeds
Remove Negative Surroundings; Ignore the “What If’s?”
Weeds will grow; it is inevitable! But what we can choose to do is remove or reduce these weeds. Have you realised that whenever you are planning something big or have something great going on for yourself, there’s a great sense of fear which suddenly tries to convince you on that you are no longer “good enough” to do what you were planning to do? Or getting questioned “why do you want to do that?” and “but do you really think this is going to work?” and ultimately feeling as though your ideas and your plans don’t seem as great as they first did? I reckon that if we can look at this feeling of fear or people’s inability to see our plans through our eyes, as an indicator of how great our fruits will be, we will be greatly encouraged to remove negative thoughts and influences around us. Think about it like this; that feeling of fear only grows from being intimated by having visualised the size of how big our fruit/plant will be, when looking at how small the seed we have started with is. Because we are yet to see the final product, we and others begin to question if we’ll ever reach our ultimate goal; if we’ll ever get as big as we envision; if, as they ask, this will really work. In order to remove the negativity, we need to put our back into it and pull out the weeds; we need to get to work and make space for that plant coming through!
We can gain the courage to ignore that voice and use people’s lack of faith as a stepping stone to proving them and our doubts wrong.
33Do not be deceived:“Evil company corrupts good habits.”
~1 Corinthians 15: 33, NKJV~
Process of Growth; Trials and Tribulations; Breakthroughs; Positivity
Just like plants, we need to go through the process of photosynthesis – for those of us who cannot remember this, and believe me, I had to double-check the equation before putting this in…
carbon dioxide + water food/glucose + oxygen
In relation to being successful, we will go through storms, trials and tribulations (carbon dioxide) before enjoying what we sow. Rather than running away from the hurdles and trying to take shortcuts, we need to experience these in order to grow and really appreciate the fruits of our labour. No one said that the journey will be easy, but if we can learn to get past the pain, we can learn the true meaning of praise. This is why it is important not to stop praising God, especially when the struggle becomes real; absorb God’s love (sunlight) and let Him bring light of hope during these times of hardship and misery. We also need to accept that it is okay to make mistakes along the way so long as we pick ourselves up and learn how to do things differently – this is all a necessary step in the process of growth. Just because the clouds block the sun, does not mean that the sun has stopped working – just because we do not feel His love and support, does not mean that He has forgotten us.
We need to learn to “breathe in the bad air but breathe out the good air”; if we stand through the tribulations, we will be flying in victory of success. Although progress will be slow at some points, on the other side of that mountain, on the other side of that wall, our fruits (food) await us and in abundance.
6“The Lord our God spoke to us in Horeb, saying: ‘You have dwelt long enough at this mountain. 7Turn and take your journey, and go to the mountains of the Amorites, to all the neighboring places in the plain, in the mountains and in the lowland, in the South and on the seacoast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the River Euphrates.8See, I have set the land before you; go in and possess the land which theLord swore to your fathers—to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—to give to them and their descendants after them.’
~Deuteronomy ; 6-8, NKJV~
Perseverance; Faith; Self-belief, Self-motivation
Fruitfulness requires strong roots which withstand all seasons to come. Because our roots are embedded in our soil, (see Plant in Good Soil), having strong roots means that despite what happens above the ground, there is still hope for growth to come. If we take, as discussed, our soil being our foundation, i.e. investments and our plans in action, then our roots is faith and self-belief in that what we have planted will grow. And not only that, but when the ground becomes dry and we’re not seeing much change, we are determined to continue pushing knowing that we will soon enter a new season. Also, when the wind blows and the floods come, we remain rooted in the ways of God, knowing that this erratic period is only temporary – He is in control and is taking care of things. Although our leaves and petals may fall, remaining fruitful (or ready for the next season at least,) comes down to our attitude and conduct when progress is dormant. Our stem (ladder of achievements and progress, holding the branches of our health, relationships, businesses, etc.) may be weak in the winter, following the loss of our leaves in the autumn, but have faith that you will reap good fruit. Remain committed to what you have started because spring follows winter and that means summer will come and you will soon see the fruits of your labour.
47I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. 48It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built.
~Luke 6:47-48, NLT~
Photo Source: http://www.aerialtreeservices.co.uk/?page_id=91