Wasted Fruit

fruitOn my way to the mailbox everyday for the past few months, I’ve seen a pear tree and a grape vine in my neighbor’s yard. Both the tree and the vine were full of beautiful, ripe fruit ready to be picked. The days when the sun offered a nice autumn warmth, I could literally smell the grapes as the gentle breeze wafted the scent to my nose.

Each day, I expected to see that the tree had been picked. But each day as I walked by, the bushels of fruit would continue to hang there in almost a taunting fashion. Why weren’t these people picking that fruit? I’d ask myself.

What a waste?! I’d mumble as I passed. At one point, I was so upset over the fact that the fruit hadn’t been picked that I had debated going to the neighbors and asking them if I could pick the fruit. I figured they might think I was nuts for making such a request, so I decided against it.

As the days passed, the pears began dropping to the ground. One after another, sitting there rotting away. The grapes were being stolen by the occasional squirrel, but eventually our first heavy frost destroyed them as well.

We can be like that pear tree and grape vine. We’ve been given all these amazing gifts, talents, skills, and tools (fruit) but for some reason we just let them be. They just hang there unused when they could be bringing people pleasure and enjoyment.

Why do we do this? Well, some people feel disqualified. They look at their life, the things they’ve done in the past, and they decide they aren’t good enough. That somehow they’ve got to get their crap together before they can actually do something. Sometimes its fear that creeps in and debilitates us. Or insecurities screaming “You can’t possibly do that.”

And then there’s the excuses, which can include: I’m shy. I lack resources. I’m tired. I don’t have the time. I’ve got kids. I’m old. I’m broke. I’m too young. So-and-so can do it better than me. I’m feeling gassy today. My bangs are going through that awkward grow-out-phase. I didn’t go to college.

I’ve just got to ask you: Why NOT you? Why NOT now? All the fears, insecurities and excuses don’t measure up to the God that lives inside of you. The God that lavished you with the unique gifts and skills that you have. And even if I wanted to, I can’t come pick your fruit, you’ve got to do that for yourself. He gave them to YOU.

Please, don’t let your fruit get wasted. Share them with the world, or even just the person you meet at the grocery store. Either way, USE THEM.

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A perfect fit.

puzzle

Sitting in Youth Group, I noticed her staring at someone across the room. I knew the look well from personal experience. I could almost hear the voices in her head as she examined the other girl.

“Her skin is perfect. Not like mine all blotchy and dry. Is she even wearing any makeup?!”

“I wish my hair was like hers. Why didn’t I try and do something with this hair? Ugh.”

“She’s got such a pretty singing voice. I sound like a dying calf.”

I’ve been playing the comparison game as long as I could remember. Everyone had something I longed for. My sister had athletics and the ability to run long distances and not DIE. The girl sitting next to me in English had the skinny, lean body while my chins could be numbered. He learned languages easily and quickly while I couldn’t conjugate to save my life. She’s married and has a couple great kids while I’m VERY single and no where close to picking out little pink tutus or little jean overalls.

Comparing is breeding ground for pity and I was the Pity, Pity Princess.

I’ve come to learn that one of the problems with this mentality is that each time I play the comparison game I’m telling God : You didn’t do a good job on me.  I’m telling a perfect God that He made a mistake. And to top that, that my feeble human mind knows BETTER.

There are some Truths I believe about God. I believe He is perfect. That He is good. That He is all knowing. All powerful. But I was living as if He was one of those people who has to read the direction on how to make Pop-Tarts. Ya know what I mean? In revelatory fashion, it all clicked. If God is perfect and He made me than He made me perfectly. I’m not one of the “imperfects” marked down on the clearance shelf either.

I’ve got everything I was meant to have. Sure, I’m not musically gifted, my muscle is protected by layers of “cuddle” and I’d much rather run into a Starbucks than run in a marathon, but I’m me. And everything I am and have (in regards to gifts, passions, skills, talents) is exactly what I need.

I’m a unique puzzle piece, but I fit perfectly into MY spot in the big picture. There’s no sense trying to make myself fit in someone else’s spot. It won’t work, but if I understand that being me means that I can connect with the people God has placed around me for this time and for His purpose than I can finally find some peace. That means that even though there are 7 billion people in the world– I am still significant because God made only one me. And there may be over 240 million blogs on the internet– my blog is still important because it will reach and speak to people that other blogs won’t. And no other blog has me…so there’s that too.

Stop looking at everyone else. God did a good job on YOU. You are going to love people I’ll never know. You’re going to do things I could never do. And that’s awesome. We want and we NEED genuine you. Not some weird Frankenstein mash-up of who you think we need or want. Just you– the way God made you. In all your quirkiness. You.