Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Fruit of My Life

The fact is:

I am not living my life around the people and things that I value the most. 

To be able to change I need to figure out where I am spending all of my focused time and energy.

So I made a list of what I spend my time doing.   

laundry, church, Bible study, dates with husband, playing with kids, reading to kids, quiet time with God, cleaning, changing diapers, running errands, cooking, shopping, talking on the phone, volunteering, side business, emailing, texting, blogging, Moms' group, girls' night out, coffee with a friend, play dates, hobbies (reading, crafting, restoring furniture etc.)

I sat back and took a look at this list.  This is the fruit of my life. 

I then decided to take a look at my values.

I took a piece of paper and drew a tree.  This would represent my values. 

I drew three large twigs hanging from it.  I wrote my values above each twig God, husband, and kids.  I added a bonus twig titled “Time for myself” because if I don’t have that then I end up going crazy. 

What I found out, when I looked at the fruit of my life, is that some of the “fruit of my life” did not fit under any of my values.     

I was attempting to place all of my fruit on my value tree.  But the problem was that it all couldn’t fit.  I found my tree to be so heavily weighed down that it left my tree at its breaking point.  It hung low, drooping over, nearly stroking the ground.  

I needed to do some pruning.  It isn’t that I am doing unnecessary things with my time.  Some of the things I am doing like laundry need to be done, can’t be cut, and don’t have a place under one of my values.  I came up with a name for these, the uncuttables:  laundry, cooking, cleaning, brushing teeth.   I don’t like them.  I don’t want to do them, but they need to be done.  I can’t cut them even if I want to. 

My husband and I evaluated our lists together.  According to our fruit, we were not living according to what we valued most.  And we were about to make decisions that would force us into spending our time doing things we didn’t value, like working for something we couldn’t afford.  We wanted to stay in Southern California.  We wanted to live in the best neighborhood to send our kids to the best schools.  We were about to buy a house that we could not afford.  Dan was going to just add another job onto the two he was doing all ready.  Would this decision allow us to live according to our values?  Would we have time to go to church, spend time with God, have time for family and family vacations?  How about time for our marriage?  This decision would have left my husband working all of the time or me having to go to work to keep up with the bills. 

Sure we value our kids, and we value them getting the best education, but is giving up time with them and time with the family to stretch ourselves to be able to afford this life worth the trade out?  What we value the most is our family.  If we have to give up time together as a family for a better education or a better neighborhood, well, then isn’t it better to sacrifice the latter to be able to spend more time together?  And what if there are other options where you can get the best of both worlds?

We decided it wasn’t worth the trade out. 

And so we determined the final answer to our dream neighborhood was a final, painstaking, nail in the coffin, NO.  We found this door to be closed tightly.  And we decided to dare not pry it open.

We saw that it was time to go through the “fruit of our life” and make the cuts that did not line up with our values. 

My dream neighborhood was the first to be cut.  Ah man.  That cut hurt a little.


  1. I have been learning a lot about gardening lately... about hacking back a beautiful plant in order to make it even more fruitful the next season. It isn't easy to do! It is painful. Man, the courage to lay down a dream!! Bless you in this. May you have boldness and continued courage to walk forward in faith. May you know His deep, lasting peace in this difficult decision! May His fruit increase as you prune this dream back...

  2. Just found your blog! wow, what an amazing post. I love that you and your hubby sat down and figured it out together to make the hard choices. Living in So Cal can be hard on one income but it's totally worth it to be with my kids. I look forward to reading more! Happy Easter!

  3. inspiring. thanks for sharing!

  4. oh wow this is soooo good. you are so gifted by the way. I love this reminder and can totally relate. its not worth the trade out. thanks for sharing!

  5. Thank you for sharing your journey with me.

    There are many who begin life's journey home without even arriving; being present to the journey, finding true meaning. Life is full of 'noises',distractions and attachments, remind us of the need of simplicity, detachment and simply be mindful about what matters to our true self - God - the Source of all life.

    Thomas Merton sums it up well, "Success, progress and all similar goals are examples of the world's expression of the false self. These social imperatives hold themselves up as absolutes to the extent that we are led to believe that life is nothing but these things."

    You truly take time to be quiet and contemplate your journey. Thanks.