When Life Isn't Fruitful

I love to encourage others through written and spoken words. What could beat a day of crafting inspirational messages or sculpting fantastic worlds for a novel? By all accounts, I have my dream job. The sun should rise to find me hammering away at my keyboard, immersed in my work’s delight. Every hour ought to be welcomed with a grin and chorus of praises. My sleep ought to overflow with peaceful dreams reflecting my contentment.
So, why does my life look nothing like this joy-dazzled picture right now?
I am grateful. I do love my Creator. But the ambitious, passionate horsepower which once drove me to succeed has galloped off into the sunset without me. I had to let her go some time ago, since she didn’t belong in this sacred field. There just hasn’t been a consistent source of vigor to replace her since then.
Sometimes, a spark kindles my enthusiasm. Like last spring, when I wrote two thousand words each day and drafted two novels. Or during preparations for a speaking event last year, as I bubbled with eagerness to share a story I hoped would lift the hearts of women at my church.
And then, there are other times. Days, perhaps even seasons, when life seems utterly fruitless. I barely muster the motivation to get up by noon. After struggling to put out a few hundred words, I stare in horror at the unsightly tangle of prose I planted. Thoughts darken and swirl like stormclouds. I doubt myself at every inching step. Assess where I have failed to plow. What I have not produced. And worse, who I have not become for the owner of my land. I apologize to God for letting him down as my work grinds to halt.
Here I stand today. I lean on a plow, gazing at crooked lines in the dirt. And in the blur of my despair, I see so little fruit from my work. Perhaps this seems an odd place to share this kind of transparency. But, I know I must be honest. Because I’ve been here before, and I suspect I’m not the only one.
Have you ever wrestled with temptations to give up? Maybe you’ve wondered whether your calling ends in a moment like this. Or tussled with doubts about God’s grace, your worth, even your ability to get through one more day.
In all the questions thundering across the open field, one seems worth addressing right now. What can I do when life seems fruitless?
In my past seasons of discouragement, I found a few things which help me get through the drought.

  • Bee honest.
  • Pull weeds.
  • Turn the soil and let the plot rest.
  • Reorient the work for maximum sunshine.
  • Waste not. Fertilize.
  • Soak with water.
  • Sing over your field. Before it sprouts. As it grows. And always.

I pray you find some hope in these words today–if not in applying these tips, at least from the understanding you’re not alone when sighing at your plow. If you have been here before, feel free to share other ways to cling onto the hope of your calling. As in 1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
Be Encouraged,
I’m giving away a copy of Breaking the Chains, in hopes the book will bless someone who needs a boost to their soul. All who comment on this post today will be entered to win.

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