Tonight I lost my temper.
I got angry at my teenager. Granted, teenagers know how to leach out the worst in the best of us, but my sudden outburst surprised even myself. I had to take a moment to evaluate my actions and routine of late. What I found was an immediate answer and conviction to my spirit. I hadn’t spent time in prayer and God’s Word the way I needed to. My relationship with Him was faltering from neglect, and it began to show in my word and deed. For days I had put Jesus on the back burner, thinking that eventually I would find time to nourish my hungry heart. I hadn’t stopped to make time for Him the way I should have. Time spent with God won’t happen spontaneously. I must be intentional with my time, always making space for Him in my life and on my calendar.
I see many quotes and passages about self-care and it’s importance in our lives, especially for women and moms. While I believe taking care of yourself is important, some upkeep can’t be found at the spa or gym. It can be found only at the feet of Jesus.
The Bible refers many times to trees and the fruit they bear, whether they be good or bad. Luke 6:43 says “For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” If my heart was an orchard and planted with trees to produce fruit, how well I maintain my heart will be revealed in how I speak and act. If I ignore the upkeep the fruit trees of my heart require, I find myself having days like today, beginning to produce stinky fruit that’s not at all appealing.
A few verses later, verse 45 reminds us that “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” To bear good fruit, I need to nourish my heart with the Word of God and give it exposure to the Son. When my heart doesn’t receive these basic necessities, it doesn’t take long to affect the fruit I produce. Then I start bearing sour fruit and owe my teenager an apology and need a moment of repentance.
Fellow moms, I know we wade through some hard days sometimes. Toddlers and teenagers test the strength of our Jesus and coffee. Nothing checks our heart and reveals our lack of maintenance quite like a headstrong child! Even on those hard days, we can come through them with healthy fruit if we keep up our heart maintenance. The maintenance schedule we started last week may be what gets us through today or tomorrow or the next day. Every day we must put in the good and remove the bad from our hearts. We must prune back the rotten fruit that managed to sneak in and let those parts die off and begin to grow again.
There’s a saying that we can’t control how other people act, only how we react.
Recently I’ve tried to remember that motto and make steps to live by it. This past week God helped me to understand that simply reacting can be thoughtless in itself. Sometimes the enemy throws things in our path to cause us to react. Granted, some things in life are just that: life. But the enemy will often take those life things and cause a landslide to trip us up. I don’t want to just ‘react’ to the things that life or hell may send my way. I want to have my heart so well maintained and fed that I afford myself the time and wisdom it takes to act in a way that becomes my Savior, that brings Him glory.
I don’t want my words and deeds to be haphazard reactions, but intentional reflections of the precious Jesus that I serve. I want to live each day intentionally, striving to maintain the trees of my heart so that I may produce fruit worthy of being called ‘good’.
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