I took my kids berry picking today. 

In my head, I envisioned frolicking in a lush berry patch, but my kids complained about flying bugs, wet grass, and imagined poison ivy. My oldest declared the activity a great idea for a farmer, but since she wasn’t a farmer, well, you know.

Anyway, this isn’t about my kids because after a while, I snuck one row over and pretended to be alone. Side note: This tactic also works in the grocery store. Don’t judge.

Back to the berries.

When picking blackberries, you give the berry a little tug. If it falls into your hand, it’s ripe. If there is resistance, it isn’t. Simple.

Simple, except many berries looked black, full, plump, and ready to be yanked off the vine, but they weren’t. I gently tugged and then left what looked like perfect berries hanging because they didn’t drop into my hand. They weren’t ready.

And maybe it was because of the flying bugs or wet grass or the imagined poison ivy, but I started thinking about how our lives relate to berry picking.

Sometimes we think ourselves ready to be picked. Picked for the promotion. Picked for the medal. Picked to be overall champion of _______________________ (insert word). Picked.

But we aren’t picked, and we aren’t picked because we aren’t ready.

We need to grow, take in nutrients, and bask in sunshine. We think ourselves ripe, but God thinks we just look ripe, and therefore, we continue to hang on a vine.

Hanging on a vine isn’t fun. It involves waiting, and I hate waiting. It involves wondering, and I like sure things. It involves doubting, and doubt scares me, but I wait on the vine.

You know this because you sit next to me on a vine of your own, and I’m grateful you sit there because you make waiting more fun. See, even though I don’t know what you are waiting for, I think you are going to turn out just like the berries that filled our dirty, white buckets today, perfect.

Amy Sullivan

Amy writes for both print and online publications. She is currently writing a non-fiction book about practical ways for families to serve others. Amy spends her mornings teaching sassy, high school students in Western North Carolina, and her afternoons attempting to correct her two daughters’ newly acquired Southern accents. You can find out more about Amy at her site: http://www.amylsullivan1.com/