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Lately I’ve been wrestling with some existential questions, such as, “What does it look like to be healthy and bear fruit for the kingdom of God?” This question leads to other questions, including:

What does fruit look like?

Does working for the kingdom always lead to fruit?

What kind of spiritual disciplines help develop fruit?

There is one question, however, that I really want to dive into here with you and it is, “Are we supposed to bear fruit in every season?”

At the end of each December I usually contemplate a word for the new year. However, this year, instead of finding a word for the year, the Lord gave me a word picture instead. As a counselor and story-lover, I am a fan of analogies and imagery! Very often, God speaks to me in just these ways.

The word picture the Lord gave me this year related to gardening. I love gardening, but it turns out that Christ is a big fan of garden imagery too. He used a lot of farming analogies in his parables.

A few months ago, as I was listening to a pastor on a podcast speak about seasons of life and farming analogies, some things clicked into place for me. Specifically, related to the question about if we should be producing fruit in every season. The pastor spoke about how farming looks different depending on the season of the year. As he spoke, I got a vision in my head of cold, resting soil. The Lord impressed on my spirit that this year was to be one of lying fallow. He said that the soil of my life and heart was to rest. It was not time for much productivity or content creation, but for lying fallow.


  1. of farmland plowed and harrowed but left unsown for a period in order to restore its fertility as part of a crop rotation or to avoid surplus production.
  2. of a period of time characterized by inaction; unproductive. 
from Oxford Languages

Farming requires paying attention to the season. If I tried to grow tomatoes in January, I would fail. Terribly. No, there are specific seasons that farmers pay attention to if they want their crops to succeed. Each season of the year does not result in a harvest. There is a season for planting and a season for growing, watering, and weed-pulling. Then, and only then, comes the season for harvest.

However, there’s also another season. A season where nothing is happening. A season where the ground lies fallow and the soil itself rests. This too is necessary for the best farming results, both for the land and for the farmer. The land needs to rest and regain nutrients and equilibrium, and the farmer also needs to rest. He must go inside for the winter and regain strength to begin again in the spring.

Another idea to consider is crop rotation. If a farmer were to continue to plant the same crop in the same soil without giving it rest, the land would fail. It needs different plants rotated through the soil and time to rest between plantings so that the soil does not lose all of its nutrients. So, there may be a time for a field to lie fallow while crops are being planted in a different field.

For me, in this season, I have fields which are not lying fallow and that require my attention: specifically, motherhood and work. However, some of the other things that I have said yes to in the past, the Lord is telling me now to let rest in fallow fields.

Now juxtapose this picture of fallow ground with what you think you know about the Christian life and working for the kingdom. How does it challenge your previous ideas and inclinations?

I’ll tell you how the Lord, in his great mercy (and discipline), is challenging my own ideas and inclinations about work and bearing fruit in His kingdom.

As a helper, a people-lover, and people-pleaser, I have spent much of my life chasing approval. Some of that has been healthy and beneficial, and some of it has not been so healthy. This inclination has often resulted in saying yes to more things than I had energy for and resulted in my feeling resentful, fatigued, and unappreciated.

In the past several years, life circumstances have not afforded me the emotional, mental, or physical bandwidth to offer myself in the ways I once did. As a counselor, I can attest that people will continue with lifelong patterns until they either no longer physically can continue in those patterns or find that those patterns no longer serve them. I have certainly found that to be the case for myself.

So, in a season of burnout, the Lord is teaching me the necessity of choosing my yeses wisely and showing me how limited my own strength actually is. With his strength, I am renewed day by day, but I am learning the limits of my own abilities and strength.

It is here in this place the Lord whispers to me that it is also blessed to be fallow ground.

I am learning that being a member of God’s kingdom doesn’t mean working without end. (Even if many ministries make you feel guilty for saying no!) It doesn’t mean constant content-creation to stay relevant. (Even if social media or the hustle of life pushes us towards productivity and algorithms!)

Rest is a part of the cycle of growth. It doesn’t mean that we’re failing, even if we see other people raking in their harvests by the truckload. It also doesn’t mean that there won’t be planting and harvest again in the future. The season will change.

So, whatever season you find yourself in right now, friend, be wise about how you go about caring for your soil and your soul. You are a valuable member of God’s kingdom whether you’re in spring, summer, fall, or winter. May the Lord meet you in your season and accomplish His purposes in His timing. When your fruit comes in, may it surprise you with its abundance, and may it glorify Him.

Pause, Renew, Next: If you have a few minutes to reflect, notice what season of life you find yourself in. Are you in a planting season of preparation? Are you in a productive work season of managing the things God has entrusted to you and overseeing their growth? Are you in a season of bringing in the harvest that you have been waiting for? Are you in a season of letting the soil rest for the winter? Remember that there may be fields you are still managing, but other areas of life that are lying fallow. If this imagery is helpful for you, take time to pray and journal about what this means for you and your spiritual journey.