I’m a people person. For the most part. Well, I’m a people person as far as introverts go. My best friend once told me “you collect people like other people collect stamps.” It’s true, I guess. I still maintain relationships with people across many different seasons of my life and try to connect with new ones whenever I get the chance. I find people fascinating. I also find fascinating what people know, what they have experienced in this life and what that experience has taught them. You really can’t judge a book by its cover, that’s for sure.
I have also learned that people can be a wealth of knowledge and wisdom. I am lucky to have mentors in my life, people I can call when things get a little too lifey, for some wise counsel and a healthy dose of perspective. They have been in the trenches of life and have the battle scars to prove it. They have street cred, but they also have something else. They have fruit.
I look for people who have fruit in their lives as evidence that the things they are telling me are true. So who do I call when I need help with parenting? My friend who has already raised 5 amazing humans. What about when my husband has made me wanna run head first into a brick wall? I call my lovely who has managed to stay married for over 20 years and happy for most of it. Or when my business seems to have stalled and feels like a rock I am pushing uphill? Sister friend who’s biz makes a hundred grand a month is who I ring. These fine folks have planted seeds and reaped a harvest in their own lives. Their roots are deep and their fruit is evident.
Matthew 7:17 says
“Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.”
Fruity. We all need fruity people in our lives. Look for people who have what you want and ask them what it took to get there. Give them permission to speak the truth in love and share with you what they see and what they know. Don’t just assume that your bestie for the restie is the best place to go for all wisdom on all the adulting that has to happen in your world. She should always be a good shoulder to cry on, but she might not have walked this part of the journey yet. No one person knows all the things for all the things you need answers for.
Except Jesus. He’s really the best place for all of it. The source of all fruit. And He’s always available to listen and impart just what we need for any situation. But sometimes, He feels far away or silent on the matter at hand. Plus, we might have a nasty little habit of getting in our own way and need a sweet sister to just hear us out and point us back to Him. Sometimes, we need help finding Jesus thru the clutter and confusion and big feelings. That’s why He tells us in His word that the people in this world who have fruit are the ones connected to the Tree of Life. Connected to Him. And those connected to Him will produce good fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit. It is impossible.
Take a look around. Don’t just assume that because someone is on the platform or in a position of leadership that there is fruit present in their lives. Stop and pay attention. Observe. How do they treat their spouse? How do they treat others? How do their kids respond to them? How do they treat themselves? How do they respond in moments of praise AND moments of criticism?
Listen, don’t ask me for parenting advice. My kids are young and the jury is still out. I’m also not your girl if you need wisdom for your marriage as I am currently paying a professional $600/month to teach me all the crap I STILL don’t know after 10 years. But if you need help on finding freedom and the process it takes to get there, I know a thing or two about that. I’ve walked the walk and have done the work for over 14 years now and there is a little fruit in my life as a result. I don’t even pretend to know it all, but this is one area where I understand the process.
Consistency over time is the way you build trust in relationships and the way you uncover fruit. You wouldn’t go to Cousin Eddie for financial advice, so don’t give just anyone permission to speak into the other areas of your life. (Yes, that was a bible verse and a National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation reference in the same space. Quality content here, people.) The point is this: be intentional. Before you take action or advice, consider the source. Be sure the seeds you are planting will bring the harvest you are hoping for.