Five Traits of a Fruitful Life


Good morning, busy mom!

Last night I was visiting with a friend and we were talking about traits we have seen in “successful” people.

I’m not talking about strangers or movie stars or talk show personalities or TV preachers either.  It’s easy to assume things about people who might appear successful from the outside.

When I think of “success” I think of people that I have interacted with and whose lives I have watched unfold.

Those whose lives are bearing fruit.

As I thought about this more today, it occurred to me that they have five things in common, all these “fruit-bearers.”

  • They get up early.  I have noticed this in the past two years: almost every person I know who is effectively balancing motherhood and marriage is an early-riser. They recognize the value in getting up early and having an hour or two to nurture their body and spirit.
  • They’re self-disciplined.  Self-disciplined in what they eat, in taking care of their own bodies and in managing the tasks they take on.
  • They’re humble.  They recongize and bear witness to others that any success they have enjoyed in this life has come from the Lord.  God blesses humility.
  • They know how to work … and play. This balance is essential. I must admit, this is hard one for me. I’m more of a worker-bee—but I’m learning to relax.  It’s funny that relaxing is something most of us really have to work at!
  • They emphasize relationships. At the end of the day, they recognize that true worth is found in people, not things.

What traits do you see in the lives of those fruit-bearing friends of yours?

Plant with the Harvest in Mind,

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

Jeremiah 17:7-8

Heidi St John Guide to Daylight

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Heidi St. John
Heidi St. John has been married to her husband Jay since 1989. Together they have seven children from toddler to adult and have homeschooled all the way through high school. A favorite conference and radio speaker, Heidi approaches marriage and parenting with humor and grace. Her passion to encourage moms and set them free to be who God has created them to be will bless and encourage you.
Heidi St. John
Heidi St. John
Heidi St. John

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27 Responses to Five Traits of a Fruitful Life

  1. Interesting food for thought! And I get what you’re saying… but I think that is one type of fruitful mom! I could be wrong, but I think there are night owl, not-very-disciplined mamas that love God and are the rock in their children’s and husband’s lives. But I think they are not as obvious as the ones you describe. <3 (And again, I could be wrong! :) )

  2. Wanda says:

    I love everything you say here. I’m still working on #1. I try to keep the others in line as well. (I have no problem playing and having fun, but I understand the need for organization or I’d never get anything done.)

    I’d add “being filled with the Holy Spirit.” You cannot produce the fruit of the spirit (in your own life or the lives of those around you) if you are not truly being filled with the Holy Spirit.

    One teeny little thing, which has been my soapbox for the last little while. Philippians 4:13, the verse in your picture, is a wonderful verse, but so often taken out of context and misunderstood. Paul was never trying to say that he can do anything because Jesus is helping him. He was referring to the trials he was going through (verses 10-12) that the Church in Philippi had been praying about. What he’s really saying is, “I was able to get through all that stuff I just mentioned because Jesus was helping me. So thanks for the prayers.”

    Okay, I’m done. Soapbox is being dismantled and carried to another location.

  3. I agree…I also see those that feed their spirits and get in their relaxing balance time late at night, when the family has been taken care of and is asleep. I am striving for more self-discipline in my eating habits, and I could stand to be more grateful for what I have on a consistent, rather than wavering, basis. I see the fruit-bearers in my life full of gratitude and generosity.

  4. Connie Tracy says:

    Needed this today…Thank you.

  5. Lynn says:

    I agree. I have often seen these traits in people that do a good job balancing motherhood and life. And the know how to work and play thing is so hard for me. Yes, it is work to relax! Thanks for sharing this.

  6. Jackie says:

    You are very inspiring to me! I am now a grandmother and great-grand still facing lots of the same things in life! Just a little different! You help me to look at things in a different way. Just know that everyone is benefitting from the wisdom you are blessed with!

  7. hope says:

    I understand what you are saying, but this is ONE KIND of fruitful mom. I’m the kind of mom who stays up til 12 am and doesn’t get up early. I’m also not the healthiest eater. But do I live a fruitful and successful life? Yes. Just because someone doesn’t fit into this one type of person doesn’t mean they are wrong. I am not easily offended. However, you are implying that if you don’t do these things then you are not fruitful, not successful, and wrong. Just because we are different from you that doesn’t make us wrong. We need to be encouraging each other and lifting each other up. Not making each other feel “less than” just because we do things differently.

  8. Cassie Davis says:

    I didn’t realize my life was so fruitful until i read this! Thanks for letting me know im working in the righr direction! 😉

  9. I think these are all true. The most successful people I have known have shown a commitment to memorizing scripture. People I admire and want to be like have a treasure trove of Scripture written upon their heart, and they share that with their children and others in a way that is a blessing.

  10. Let’s have grace, ladies. These are observations and even though I wholeheartedly agree, my life doesn’t line up with all these traits. It’s what I strive for though because I’ve noticed the same things in others I admire and who have mentored me. I hardly think she’s saying they’re the only fruitful traits or condemning anyone.

  11. STL says:

    I can see what you mean, because these are all helpful habits. On the other hand, I also think it’s a little shortsighted of individual differences. People tend to value and look up to people who are more like themselves or beat themselves up because of people who aren’t like themselves. I read your post and think of how short I’m falling of your fruit bearers. I know you didn’t intend it that way at all, but that’s how I feel when I read it. On the one hand, I have areas where I need to grow, that’s true. On the other, there are other qualities that I see in fruit bearers. When I think of the people I see as most wise and trusting in God, I think about their humility, as you say. I also think about how they really try to have a Jesus-focused worldview, filled with grace and not judgment toward others. They consider things carefully and don’t run away with the trend of the moment. They invest their time and gifts in areas that bless and encourage others. Honestly, I think they may struggle with food choices sometimes and I’m not sure what time they get up in the morning. But these are people I go to to ask for wisdom and prayer because I can see the fruit in their lives.

  12. This post is an observation not the inspired Word of God. Successful people know the difference.

  13. I agree that it’s an observation. However, I had to gently speak up because I felt that it was not up to Heidi’s usual . Yes, I even took it a little personally, since I’ve worked 7 pm to 3:30 am for years so that I could still help my husband provide while ensuring that at least one of us is always home with the kids. I’ve been homeschooling for 21 years and counting. I feel that a new mom who could be in a similar situation could feel like she doesn’t measure up after rea standards ding this post. It lacked… encouragement to be steadfast in whatever your situation is that God is calling a woman to walk. It is okay to express a differing viewpoint, isn’t it?

  14. Sorry for the typo I missed. I’m posting from a train.

  15. Marlana says:

    I will admit that rising early is the hardest one of these for me! I am one of those night-owl, not incredibly disciplined moms. If I got up super early I would be so tired at night that I would fall asleep and miss out on the alone time I get with my husband after the kids fall asleep. But, on the other hand, when my children wake up before me I feel like I am a step behind all day long and I know that it affects my “fruitfulness”. Finding a balance for this is probably my biggest struggle as a busy mom. If only I could get by with 4 hours of sleep! My problems would be solved! :) I could be wrong too but I don’t think Heidi is saying you cannot be fruitful unless you do these exact things, just that it is her observation that these things help people she knows to be fruitful and hopefully this observation helps someone out there. :)

  16. I agree with you Theresa. I’m a mom of 4 kids. I am trying to raise and teach my kids in a way that honors Jesus Christ. But by some of those characteristics I just don’t measure up. That’s discouraging for me so I’m sure it would be even more discouraging for a new mom. All fruitful/ successful / good moms are different. I’m pretty sure God doesn’t want us to all be the same or to follow the same formula. He wants us to be who He made us to be.

  17. *by some of those characteristics listed in her post

  18. Great post – while I don’t rise early, I like the quiet evenings, I know that I am much more effective when I do! Thanks!

  19. Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” Abide. The secret to all true success.

  20. KRA says:

    I think it depends on what “fruit” you are referring to. If you mean fruitful in a get lots of stuff done, have smart,obedient kids, always have a smoothly run home, etc sort of way (the “fruit” that we moms tend to kill ourselves to produce and beat ourselves up over when we don’t), then, yeah, this is a great list. But if you are referring to the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy,peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self control–then I’m not sure how most of this list develops these fruitful character qualities. I don’t think getting up early and eating right and trying to be humble will make me loving, kind, patient, gentle, etc. Rather trusting the Lord to do His work in you, and cooperating and being obedient to the instruction of the Holy Spirit as He gently teaches and corrects us to transform our character and show us how to love others like He loves us.I think your list reflects the life of a person who has already developed the fruit of the Spirit,but I hope it is not taken as a list of helpful hints for HOW to develop good fruit in your life. I think it’s an important distinction, because otherwise so many will be trying their hardest and becoming discouraged to have the above described fruitful life without going thru the process of allowing God to transform them in the details of their life and how they treat their family and others.

    The only exception I see is with #1, getting up early. I don’t think God requires us to wake up by any certain time, but rather wants us to be sure we are loving our family and sacrificially meeting their needs, which looks different for each family. But we (I, I’m talking to myself here!) can’t use that as an excuse to be lazy, I do need to be sure I’m obeying the Lord in what he wants me to do, which might be to get up earlier!

  21. The Busy Mom says:

    Moms—this has been my observation. Not an indictment against those who don’t possess all these traits. I know that in my own life, I grow when I observe others. Take what God has for you, discard what doesn’t apply. Walk in freedom.

  22. Tammy says:

    :) Heidi, thanks for giving this insight. I think it causes us to pause and consider what we value.
    If we were to tear apart Proverbs 31, verse fifteen states “She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.”
    Your point that I took away is that successful women intentionally set aside time to be with Jesus and ask Him to guide them through their day.

    Truly, our focus can be many places and our reward will be according. Self-control or discipline is a fruit of the Spirit and the longer we walk with God, the more we can develop those traits.

    We are persevering toward completion in Christ Jesus until that day where all He set out to do through our lives has been accomplished.

    Thank you for your insights and your time spent encouraging others while working out your own faith and wifehood and motherhood. :)

    I appreciate you.

  23. thank you for sharing Heidi!! I have started getting up earlier because I realized I’m more effective for my family and in achieving my personal goals for the day if I start my day well before my children do. I’m a die hard night owl but honestly…this change has made a huge difference in a positive direction for our whole fam.

  24. Ashley says:

    I love, Love, LOVE this article Heidi! This is exactly what I have needed to read/ hear. Thank you!

  25. Marilyn Melgar says:

    Heidy, this is the first time I am visiting your blog. I don’t have any of the characteristics outlined on your post, but I do appreciate that you wrote it because it helps me try to think about what I can improve on. I know one size does not fit all, we all have different circumstances and different seasons in our lives, but it is always good to have a reminder of what I would like my life to look like, accepting that it will never be perfect.

    Walking in freedom!!

  26. Amy says:

    The Lord had been prompting me that it was time to start rising early again, which I had not done since my 2nd was born almost 2 years ago. (Well, he woke up screaming at 5:00 for at least a year…so I was up early but not “earlier” and not at all prepared for the day.) It was a gentle prompting to spend more time alone with him and I knew 100 percent that his love for me and acceptance of me did not depend on it in any way. But I was HUNGRY for Him. Desperate. And for my schedule/life right now, the only way for me to have more time alone with him would have to be mornings. I felt prompted in March that it was time and then was suddenly assailed with serious health issues and sleepless nights, but also during this time my kids actually started sleeping (or at least staying in bed without relentless screams) until 6:30 or 7:00. After the sleeplessness and health improved I was struggling to get up, I read this post, and was like,”This is it, Lord. It’s time. PLEASE HELP ME!” I just knew it in my spirit. And the next morning he got me up at 5, and has done so more or less ever since. I say “He got me up” because I’m telling you…my life heretofore is proof that I’m incapable of it. I cannot take the credit in the the least for what He does. Anyway, it has been PRICELESS. Thank you for the timeliness of this post. It was “the final word” and the perfect time! I love how He gently leads his children. Thank you for being used! I agree that it doesn’t have to be mornings, but I know this is what He wants for me right now and I’m so thankful and excited. He is able!

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