As 2018 began, I decided to choose a word for the year. The word I chose was "fruitful," and the reasoning behind it was this: too often, the things I sow in my life are neither good nor bad, but apathetic, unintentional, and accidental. I resolved to carefully steward my time and resources only to things that have the capacity to be "fruitful" - productive and good.
Let me be more specific. For a little over a year, I've been pouring my heart and soul into drafting out a book, despite having no potential interested publishers or looming contracts. For two years, I've been devoted to this blog and website, seeing only slow growth in readership and ZERO monetization. For about five years, I've been dabbling with a couple of instruments and synth music/vocals, only to have a choppy selection of clips taking up storage on my iPhone. For almost a decade, I've been painting with acrylics, having not sold or publicly displayed a single painting to date. For two decades now I've been experimenting with photography, to have only sold a handful of photos at some point about halfway through that journey.
Since the bloom of social media, it seems that I've watched blogger after blogger and freelancer after freelancer bloom into success, seemingly overnight. As someone who dreams big and always has, it's become increasingly trying to watch what appears to be the rest of the world reaching their dreams, mean-whilst constantly pouring my own heart into living my best life and seeing minimal results, or "fruit."
So, as I began this new year, I decided I was done dabbling. I decided that if what I'd been doing for years has yet to work, I clearly needed to change the way I'd been doing things all together. I resolved to quit pouring into passions until I could figure out a new way to do things, a way that could be fruitful. I felt enormous self-imposed pressure to explore what worked for everyone else, what everyone else did, quick-fix tricks and fail-proof methods. And here I am now - two weeks into the new year... absolutely frozen.
I've been frozen, afraid of failing, and afraid of messing up. But oftentimes, the biggest masterpieces come out of the messiest mistakes. After all, fruit can't grow without a little bit of rain and dirt.
So maybe this whole "fruitful" mindset just isn't right.
Maybe it's the wrong aim.
Maybe the joy is the process, not just the product.
Maybe my "word" just needs to be FREE.
Free to create.
Free to dawdle and dabble.
Free to experiment.
Free to mess up.
Instead of putting myself in a little cage of how I THINK things have to be, how I THINK things will get done, how I THINK other people found success, how I THINK it will all work out for me, I just need to EMBRACE THE SPACE and play in the dirt.
God's way is through the sea, and His footprints aren't always seen (Psalm 77:19). Just because something worked for someone else doesn't mean it will work for you or me.
God patterns together our lives in intricate and unique patterns; the fabric of my life and yours are as unique as our fingerprints. No two journeys are the same, and that is the beauty of this life. His ways are higher, and it might not always make sense why things do or don't work out, nor the timing of it all - but that's okay. That's the essence of what it means to have faith.
So, two weeks into this new year, I'm letting go of my resolutions - this time, I'm deciding to be INTENTIONALLY UNINTENTIONAL.
I'm going to continue to embrace my passions.
I'm going to continue letting myself freely pour into them with the risk of nothing "fruitful" coming from my pursuits.
If doing what I love draws me nearer to my Creator and closer to fulfillment, if it brings me joy and a sense of purpose, then that is enough satisfaction and fruit for me.
I'm going to follow Him one step at a time and TRUST that He will make something beautiful out of the dust - because that's exactly what He does.
I'm throwing off the pressure and putting His GRACE on instead. There's always fruit in that, and IT IS ENOUGH.
But he said to me, "My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."