The more time we spend in the garden the more we realize having fruitfulness in our faith is a lot like growing strawberries. We aren’t like strawberries in the physical sense, but certainly as we age and gain life experience, our hearts, character and spirit changes based on life events.
Often times circumstances beyond our control change us to our core and we struggle to know who we are and what our purpose is. We are stuck. Perhaps it’s because we don’t have strong roots. Perhaps it’s because we don’t know how to get better. But whatever the reason, fruitfulness eludes us.
One of the things we love most about strawberry plants is that they need time to grow into their fruits. They grow in three stages. When you first plant strawberries the soil must be a specific type. Otherwise, they won’t grow. They prefer acidic soil and need a lot of drainage. If you don’t provide these two things, they don’t get proper nutrients or they drown and grow mold. They simply die.
Once planted in the proper soil they need time to build a strong root system. The first year we go through and clip any runners that develop and pinch off all of the flowers. This tells the plant to focus on root development and growth.
If we don’t have strong roots, we won’t be fruitful.
We need strong roots to withstand the storm of life. When the going gets tough our roots keep us stable. One of the ways we grow strong spiritual roots is by reading scripture, going to church and asking questions. This is a season of searching for answers and learning all we can about living a righteous life.
During the second year of growing strawberries, we fertilize the soil and allow the plants to grow freely. They have strong roots and are ready for growth. In life this means we become involved in programs, enjoy fellowship and making many connections within our communities. Our lives are intertwined with others, just like in the strawberry patch. Each plant grows under, over and through the patch of other plants. They draw their strength from the same garden bed. Berries start to appear, but they are small and often times tart rather than sweet.
And once that third year gets here, the fruit is large, sweet and plentiful. At this point in our lives we are producing such grand fruit that others can’t help but see it, want to touch it and taste it for it looks absolutely heavenly. And this is where the purest of joy is felt. The place where we love the life we live because we are being fed, watered, fertilized, growing and continuously bearing fruit.
However, each year fruitfulness gets a bit easier and easier.
Strawberries are resilient to storms and weather and are easy to care for once you get past their first year. You simply water, fertilize and keep them warm in the winter with hay. Each spring they bounce back and do their thing. And then you get great healthy fruit that you can eat, share or make jam with!
If you feel like your faith is stunted and you’ve stopped growing you may need a little pruning and fertilizing. You could simply be thirsty. And a good watering can do wonders for your spirit!
You could also be planted in the wrong bed of soil. Hanging with people who aren’t healthy for you, who don’t want to grow or bear fruit can stunt your growth as well. If this is the case, we recommend you read lots of scripture to determine what type of soil you need to flourish and who you need to surround yourself with. Reaching growth may require extreme measures.
When your growth is stunted here are some ways to flourish.
- Read that Bible that’s been sitting on your bookshelf collecting dust.
- Listen to those podcasts in your player. Some of our favorites are below.
- The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans
- John Eldridge & Ransomed Heart
- Glorious in the Mundane with Christy Nockles
- Journal your thoughts or prayers and get back into connection with God.
- Find a great notebook and start scribbling
- Journal Bible
- Take a walk and be amazed at how creation is so perfect and beautiful.
- Connect with someone who has walked your path and come out of it being fruitful.
- Read a spiritually based book (fiction or non-fiction) Here’s some people I personally know who are great writers and inspirations when you’re stuck.
- Listen to Christian radio on iHeart radio or Pandora
If you do these things, before you know it, you’ll be just like that strawberry patch growing like crazy and bearing more fruit than any one person can eat!
What ways do you prune and fertilize to create fruitfulness in your life?