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I’ve been taught the Fruits of the Spirit most of my life. I learned as a child that they aren’t like coconuts, they are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. I can list them and name them and pray about them, but in my Bible study this week, I was challenged that these “fruits” are way more than just words.

I like changing up which Bible translation I use in my study. This week I was reading in The Message and came across a more interesting angle on the Fruits.

Galatians 5:22-24: “But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified.”

The take-home

In the past week or so, I’ve been bombarded with writing and speaking requests like I’ve never had before. The only thing I’ve really done differently is that I’ve focused on a specific area of writing that I’d avoided for awhile. I’d been so headstrong (I prefer that to stubborn unless it is pointed towards someone else) about taking my writing career into fiction that I had decided to drop the nonfiction. Much of this comes from the guidance of an agent a few years ago that told me my voice was ideal for fiction, but if I’m honest, some of it was also my personal admiration for people who can make a living making up stories that other people enjoy reading.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve had a lot of close friends ask me what I really wanted. Even though I’ve been writing, I still wasn’t truly happy. I wasn’t fulfilled. After a lot of prayer and soul-searching, I realized that my real joy comes in writing things that impact or influence people. I want to do more than entertain; I want to inform.

Since October is Dyslexia Awareness month, I decided to write an article to break down a lot of what I’ve learned about dyslexia while advocating for my daughter. The first article turned into two articles. The second article took off like wildfire, and that one has since opened the door for lots more articles and even speaking opportunities.

As I reflected on how this new-found readership hit so fast, I read these verses in The Message and it hit me just how true it is. I had gotten caught up in the legalistic idea that “real” authors write fiction. But the truth is that, for me, the Fruits flourish in MY spirit when I am focusing on the nonfiction that impacts other people’s lives. Helping people brings me peace and joy. When I’m breaking down big concepts into bite-size, edible morsels of information, I feel like I’m sharing my love. It is an act of kindness and an act of my faithfulness. Sure, fiction can still fit in there–ain’t no way I’m putting down my love for short stories– but I need to focus more energy on where I can make the biggest impact.

Call it a calling, a fate, or a design, but I think all of us have something that, when we use it, helps our orchard of Fruit trees to flourish. Maybe it’s teaching, maybe it’s parenting, maybe it’s leading, but for me, it’s helping people. 

What is it for you?

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