Becoming a Fruit — Not a Burr

“Alright, what kind of title is that?!”  You’re all thinking it.  I know you are!  That’s alright though, I want you to be curious.  It was very strange to me when I first heard it — in fact, I didn’t want to hear it at all.  You will find out why very soon.  You are still thinking — “Why on EARTH would I want to be a fruit?  What are you talking about?!  You’re a fruitcake!”  Well, I am sure I have some fruitcake potential, but hear me out on this topic and I think you will be just as fruity as me in the end :-).

 I don’t know any of my blogging girlfriends personally, and they don’t know me, so I don’t know how many of you can relate to what I have to say here, but we shall see.  So much is lost in cyberspace when it comes to tone, expression and personality that while I know my girlfriends on the net, I don’t know them the way they may be in real life.  To understand this message then, you have to know how I came to have it myself.

I tend to be very outgoing; I love people, and I love social activities, outings, events, parties… anywhere I can talk to people and enjoy their company.  While this may be a nice asset on the job, and helps to get to know people at first, it has been my stumbling block in other areas.  The Bible says that a woman of God possesses something called a “meek and quiet spirit”.  This is very difficult for a personality like mine.  Uncontrolled, I not only dominate conversations, but with those who are willing, I tend to fall easily into full out debate.  This is obviously not what God has in mind for a woman — but it took my parents to finally sit down and tell me that.  Did I want to hear it? No.  Nobody likes to hear “bad news” about who they are.  But if you don’t, then when will you change?  As Oswald Chambers said, “If you never hear a hard word from Christ, I doubt that you know Him at all.”    My dad told me that I had become a “burr”.  Burrs force themselves on others, prick them, grate on them and hurt them.  Nobody wants a burr; it’s not pretty, and they try to avoid it.  But it sticks to them and won’t leave them alone. 

This wasn’t a nice thing to hear.  I knew it was true, though; and unbeknownst to my parents, just by chance my past two devotions had been on a woman’s ‘meek and quiet spirit’.  On top of that, my friend Andrew, a young man two years younger than me and wise beyond his years, had told me the true definition of ‘meek’ in a conversation we had.  “Meekness is not what people today say it is,” he told me. “It’s like a hidden strength…”  I later read in Anne Ortlund’s book Beautiful Woman  that “meekness is not weakness, but strength under control”.  As Andrew told me, the truest definition of “meek” would be Jesus’ actions in the temple against the moneylenders. 

So what was I to do?  How could I stop being a burr and become the meek person I felt I never could be?  Dad told me to be a fruit.  I stared at him blankly.  A fruit?  “A fruit does not push itself on people, like a burr,” Dad said.  “A fruit ripens on the vine, or the tree, and becomes soft and sweet.  It doesn’t have to attach itself to people because they come to it.  It is beautiful and enjoyable to have.  That is what you need to be.”

I am not sacrificing my personality by striving for the meekness that Christ has showed.  I am not going to become mousy; I will likely be just as outgoing as I have always been.  But the dependence on peers for assurance and approval, and my tendencies to force myself on those who would rather have a less vitriolic conversation will give way when my dependence is on Christ.   Being meek is taking action;  it is exerting the strength we have within us because of Christ.  Being quiet is keeping Christ in our hearts, inwardly resting in Him, and at peace with who we are in Him.  With this quietness we (and I) will not need to talk about ourselves in order to feel approved of, because Christ is our Approver.  

It was, and still is, a hard lesson.  Thank you for reading along — and perhaps you all will join me in becoming fruits for Christ.  And if you’re a fruitcake, like I have been, He always takes those too!

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4 Responses

  1. Wow. Great post. This is such a great encouragement. In this world, meekness and quietness in a woman is thought to be a sign of weakness, but really it is a sign of strength.

    I personally think it is harder to keep your mouth closed and have a meek spirit than it is to not. Meekness is one of the beauties of a woman. Men show their outward strength in their arms and will, and we show ours through our hidden power. Many woman these days don’t want that power, because the world has made it look as tho it were a weakness.

    Your dad is right – we all need to become fruits, not burrs. I have found many things, flaws, in my character that I could change. When I am not sure if what I am doing is wrong, I always go the Bible and seek what I can. Mostly I go to the Proverbs 31 Woman. And the Titus 2 Woman. They are both excellent example of what women should become.

    Thank for this great post. It is so hard for a girl to find encouragement in her beliefs without being criticized by others in this world. I am so glad you send out blog alerts!
    Love,
    Rachel
    http://dixonhomestead.com/rachel

  2. Hey Phylicia, I’m passing this tag thing on to you because it is about stuff you learned this year – like six things or so. Go to my blog to find it if you haven’t already done one of these yet.

  3. Dear Phylicia,
    When I first read your title Gelations 5:22-23 came to mind “but the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Against such things there is no law. ” As I meditate on this verse I realize that it is all intertwined and in order to have peace we will also grow in love and joy. I too am working on gentleness and a quite spirit and I am one who is known for speaking my mind, however blunt my thought may be. I used to try to be gentle when meeting someone new, but then my family attended a church that had a split due to a theological move made and defended by a book other the God’s word. Then we moved and tried several churches (where I was hoping to make new friends) and learned a lot. Now, when I meet people I tend to put my thoughts out there like I did in high school and decided God is the best friend I could ever have and if I am ment to have this person as a friend then God will open their ears to hear what I am saying not as a sword jumping out at them rather like a person who stands for something passionately. I won’t debate over a lot (that’s my sister) but when it comes to God and His word, I will stand up tall and tell you what I understand.

    This last weekend the Lord showed me the joy in being quiet and holding my toung and learning in silance. My husband and his mom were having a conversation and I wanted to jump in to add my two cents but God held my toung and let me tell you. When their conversation was over I felt amazing. Just seeing that I don’t have to speak up but to act on what I know. To hold my toung at times. It’s a long journey, but that was a very fun start!

    Since our move, as time has gone by, I am finding that I am more gentle about my oppinions or my understandings as I don’t want others to think I am out to get them. I want them to feel encouraged when we part not bogged down by our conversation. I, too, am growing in God…DAILY. 🙂

    Have a wonderful day. Remember to pray always.

  4. Thank you Phylicia! I am so glad you are back to blogging… everything you post is inspiring and really convicting.

    I can rather identify with you on this one. I do tend to dominate, whether or not I am with friends. Your message is quite timely and is one I will have to think about.

    The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

    -Maria

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