Monday, January 2, 2017

Project Intentional Fruit


I don't need a new year to know that I begin strong and have a tendency not to finish what I've started. Especially if it gets hard or I get bored--which happens more frequently than I'd like to admit. Except that I just did. So I stay away from things like New Year's resolutions.

I tried the word thing one year when it was the "in" thing. I didn't want to feel left out, so I asked God to give me a word too. I waited for His booming voice to inform me of His choice. 

But, like Yukon Cornelius--the guy from Rudolph who chopped at the ice, looking for gold and kept coming up empty, I tasted (aka listened), then replied, "Nothin'!" (view video)



Then as if by magic, a word popped into my head. I'm not entirely sure it was God, but I went with it. Maybe I was nervous. After all, if I didn't "get" a word from God, where would that leave me? I think I may have induced it. The word was mentor

"Could I have a different word, please?" I asked nicely

I didn't like that word. So, maybe it really was from God. If I were to manufacture my own word, I'd prefer something like rest or play.

I tried to find a suitable young woman to mentor. Again, I tasted (stalked sought out young women in my church). I had to have a connection with someone.

"Nothin'!" 

I thought, Maybe it wasn't God. Or maybe I failed...again.

I can't even remember last year's word, phrase or resolution. I think I sort of gave up on all of that. Ironically, it turned out to be a pretty productive year. I got healthy. I wrote a novel. I even discovered that a young woman was plopped into my life who has become a sort of spiritual daughter. 

So, going into the end of this past December, I had no expectations. No intention of choosing a word or a phrase. No lofty resolutions to make and break.

Then I got somethin'! I hadn't even struck my pick to the ice. I hadn't asked or prayed. It just appeared in my brain. Could it be God?

Intentional fruit.

Huh?

What would happen if you exhibited one fruit a month? 

Oh, I thought. That's interesting. That might be kind of cool. Maybe even fun!

Then I realized that it might not be as easy as I think. Exhibit love or joy? Piece of cake. Exhibit gentleness? Well, that'll be a stretch, since I'm not exactly Mary Full of Grace. Self-control? Okay, now we've gone to meddlin'!

It would have to be intentional.

Oooh...now I get it.

God works in mysterious sneaky ways. See, He knew me before I was in my mother's womb (Jer 1:5). I'm no surprise to Him. He knows that I don't like resolutions. He knows that I start things and fizzle out. 

So, He gives me this project instead. I like projects. And the great thing is that it's really not about me. Well, it sort of is, but mostly isn't. 

Exhibiting intentional fruit means I have to give. And some amount of thought has to go into it. After all, fruit is meant to be consumed.

Give love.
Give joy.
Give peace.
Give patience.
Give kindness.
Give goodness.
Give gentleness.
Give faithfulness.
Give self-control.

Yes, I realize there are only nine fruits and twelve months. I've got it covered. 

See, we can't give unless we first receive. How can I give the fruit of Spirit of God that is love unless I first accept that God loves me? How can I love my neighbor unless I first love myself? And how can I love myself unless I accept God's love for me?

How can I know what the fruit of the spirit even is unless I first understand what it isn't? 

And what about intention? I cannot exhibit intentional fruit unless I first know what it means to be intentional.

So, since this seems to be my "project" for the year, you (my dear reader) get to be part of it! 

I "intend" to devote January's blogs to intention. What does it mean? How does it fit in to our daily living? How is it different from resolution?

Since February is the "love" month, that will start the ball rolling with the intentional fruits. One fruit a month. 

I know I said I had the whole year covered. I lied. Sort of. I have some ideas that I'm sure will come together as the year progresses and the fruits flourish. Besides, a good writer always holds onto a little secret, right?

See, there's a little catch. I don't think these fruits stand alone, like the cheese in the game, The Farmer in the Dell (watch video).

No, I think it is God's intention (hey, there's that word again!) that each fruit builds off the previous one. Like the Twelve Days of Christmas (Don't worry, I won't make you watch that video).

Trust me. I know what I'm doing. as I trust God. He knows what He's doing.

I hope you'll join me in my journey. What would our sphere of influence look like if we all exhibited one fruit for the whole month? Do you think we'd have it down by the end of the month, like something we could check off our to-do list? 

My guess is that we'll discover that it's more difficult than we realize, and that no matter how hard we try, we'll always come up short.

But God...

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil 4:13).

Blessings Along the Path,
Mary

sharing this post with some of these lovelies

4 comments:

  1. Hi Mary,
    Nice to meet you. What a great project :-) What encourages me is to know that as I abide in Christ, the fruit will naturally flow (John 15:1-5) because of His life working in me and as I cooperate intentionally :-)

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  2. You made me laugh and inspired me! I'd say that's a win! I, too, struggle with gentleness... Blessings on your 2017!!

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  3. Love your "project." I usually like to break down my One Word into manageable chunks throughout the year, but it's not come to me that way yet for 2017. Hope you have a fruitful year! :)

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  4. Ah yes... Jehovah Sneaky... I know Him, too! ;)

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