2 Simple Steps to Increase Your Fruitfulness

coffee-690421_640Read With Me Book Club: Shopping for Time by Carolyn Mahaney
Chapter 4: The Third Tip – Sit and Plan

Are you being fruitful in your current season?
I’ve been experiencing a strange phenomenon – although my days seem long and slow, especially the afternoon hours between 2-7 pm, time is whipping by faster than I’ve ever known.  Change is slow but constant.  For some reason, the seasons creep up on me and before I realize it, I’m in the middle of a new season.

Members of my household are constantly growing. They are growing out of old things – clothes, toys, habits, skills, etc., and sprouting into new ones. With each growth spurt comes new challenges and new character qualities to be developed. Unaware of the changing seasons, I find myself trying to deal with new things in old ways and being unproductive and not as fruitful as I should be.

How to increase your fruitfulness.
Chapter 4 in our book has a great solution if you find yourself spinning your wheels and wondering why you aren’t getting anywhere. Maybe, like me, you are trying to do the right thing the wrong way, or focusing on the wrong thing but approaching it the right way. The solution: a personal retreat.  A retreat allows you to take a break from all the busyness and get a clear perspective of what your priorities should be.  Sometimes it’s hard to see what is truly important when you’re constantly bombarded by lesser, but urgent matters. A time out gives you a chance to get a grip on what the real challenges are and discern the best way to tackle them.

Step 1: Sit and Evaluate
Set aside time alone – a couple of hours, half a day, overnight, with a Bible, and pen and paper or computer. During this time, sit down and list your priorities.  Carolyn listed her’s below:
woman in red reading
Grow in godliness
Love my family
Serve in the church
Fellowship with Christians
Evangelize non-Christians
Attend to my work
Care for my physical health

Once you have your priorities down. Pray through them and evaluate yourself. How are you doing? What is going well? What needs to change? Consider how you can grow in that key area of your life.

You can use the evaluation questions from chapter 4:
1. Grow in godliness: How can I make my devotions more fruitful? What is one area where I believe God is calling me to grow in godliness?
2. Love my family: What is one relationship I want to give more attention to in this season? How can I intentionally show love to this person?
3. Serve in the church: Am I using my gifts to serve in the local church? Am I serving in the most effective way I can?
4. Fellowship with Christians: Is there a relationship I need to prioritize for the purpose of fellowship? Are there relationships that are hindering my fellowship and how do they need to change?
5. Evangelize non-Christians: Who is one person I can develop a friendship with for the purpose of sharing the gospel? What would be the best way to develop the friendship?
6. Attend to my work: Am I doing the right work? What is one way I can be more effective or efficient in the work God has called me to do?

Step 2: Plan
Evaluating all these priorities can quickly become overwhelming. Don’t freak out! Just aim to work on a couple or even one at a time. Pick the top one or two and create a game plan to tackle these areas. Keep it simple. Write down a specific action plan with a to do list.

The most important step in planning is writing down your action steps in your calendar. For example, say after reviewing, you discern that you need to grow in the area of contentment. You’ve settled into your career, your finances are going well, but your personal life seems to be at a standstill. It’s hard waiting for the “next thing.” You find yourself envying those around you who seem to be going somewhere or have a better social life than you.

Here is a sample game plan:
Your first action step will be to visit the church book store on Sunday and look for a book on contentment. Second, you find a friend to read the book with you. You will cover a chapter a week and meet up every Tuesday night, for 6 weeks, to discuss and pray about what you learned from the chapter.  You decide you will read your book at night for 10 minutes before you go to sleep. Lastly, you want to cultivate a grateful heart, by writing in a thanksgiving journal. Every night for 5 minutes you will review the day and jot down what you’re thankful for.

Remember keep it simple. Don’t get overwhelmed. Change takes time. It’s better to work on a little at a time. Change in one area will affect every other area of life.

Please Share:  What area do you want to work on?

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