As a child, I remember hearing the older folk say, "You'll know the tree by the fruit it bears."
Through the years of my growing and experiencing life, those insightful words have taken on several different meanings, at different times, depending on the situation. I think what is most fascinating about them though, is the simple truth they carry regardless of who you are or what the situation may be -- every time.
While the use of the wise words has its roots in a biblical connotation, there are examples relevant to almost every aspect of our lives. Think about the significant other who claims to love you, but never makes any effort to demonstrate this.
Think about if you work every day, but cannot account for where your earnings have gone. Then, sometimes we think that just because we are busy all of the time, we are being fruitful. What about those special talents and gifts you have been given, but have chosen to sit on them? There are those people who claim to be your friends, yet while you constantly invest, they are withdrawing. Think also about that person who exaggerated a laundry list of positive personal traits and qualities to get a job or to get you, only to learn that he or she was not at all the person you thought they were. Then, taking it back to the roots, there are the parishioners who attend worship services faithfully but nothing about their lives ever seem to change.
The barren branches of the trees of our lives take many forms, and there comes a time when we have to recognize them and cut them down.
If you had your money put away in a savings account and later saw that it did not bear any interest, what would you do about that? Well, I would start researching other options and get my money moved to an account that will produce some dividends.
You must approach any of the areas of your life that are barren branches on your particular tree in the same manner. If it does not serve you well and, that is, bearing good fruit, then you must get rid of it.
If your boyfriend's words never quite correlate with his actions, then cut him off. If your lady is always criticizing rather than uplifting, then cut her off. If your friends are making more withdrawals than deposits, "close the account." If you are not experiencing spiritual and personal growth in your place of worship, then leave.
And, watch this, it does not matter what the matter is because a complacent attitude does not lend itself to growth and will dry out the roots of the tree, which is you, and cause it to wither and die -- every time.
So, today, I challenge you to be proactive and take inventory of your trees. What fruit is being produced? Which branches are ushering you into your best self, mind, body and spirit? Which ones are merely taking up space and depleting your life of opportunities, prosperity, health and wholeness?
It is critical that you know your trees.
Contact columnist LaTonya Dunn at firstname.lastname@example.org.