“We try to staple fruit on the tree to make it look healthy. You’ll do the right thing to make it look like you have a healthy tree. We all know what’s gonna happen…”Ryan Frederick, Fierce Marriage
Is the fruit in your life “stapled on a tree”? Good question, right?
This was one of my favorite takeaways that Ryan Frederick of Fierce Marriage shared in a recent conversation on the podcast. He and his wife, Selena, have been coming alongside other couples on their marriage journeys (and parenting, too) for the last 7 years. They currently run Fierce Marriage and have developed so many resources for marriages and parents alike.
I’ve been reflecting on this theme a lot in my own life recently, and not just as it relates to marriage. I’ve been asking myself whether or not I’m obsessing the “outcomes” almost to a forced fault, or instead focused on planting good seeds, growing deeper roots, and trusting God with the outcomes. The truth is, however, we will find ourselves feeling alone, empty, unfulfilled, and exhausted if we keep “stapling fruit on the tree” in our lives. We will miss the joy in planting and growing in obsessing over if, when, and what we will reap or what others will perceive we have falsely grown.
However you answer the question, it’s a question worth asking. It answers the underlying and more important question, “How are you, REALLY?”
Is the fruit in your life simply stapled on?
What if instead of:
Obsessing over the outcome, you obsessed over planting good seeds?
Caring what it looks like on the outside, you cared about building a strong foundation on the inside?
Focusing on bearing fruit, you focused on growing your roots deeper so you could weather the storm and produce long-lasting fruit and growth?
Fixating on perception, you fixated on grace?
Tending to the things in the life that don’t matter, you focused your energies on the things that did?
Perhaps, if we did a little less stapling and little more authentic living, we’d be happier. We’d create a brighter world around us. We’d feel less burned out and more fulfilled. Our relationships would grow deeper. We’d create the opportunity to help us grow as we allowed others into our vulnerabilities and came alongside of them in theirs. We’d live less distracted by the false realities around us and live more alive in the present. Perhaps when asked the question how we really are, we could really answer truthfully!
“He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” – Jeremiah 17:8