Recently I was given a bag full of peaches.
A coworker of mine has a peach tree in his yard, and when it got full he decided to pick the fruit and hand them out to friends and family.
The bag I was given contained a large amount of peaches, and I brought them home with my mind already running and trying to decide what to use them for.
Due to a busy schedule, I didn’t have time to experiment with peach flavored desserts, so I organized them in a bowl and told my family they were more than welcome to have some.
My brother grabbed a peach, commented on its fuzzy exterior before stating he wanted to crush it and see what happens.
My youngest brother has always had a curious mind, taking things apart to see how they work. And this time was no different.
It did, however, make me laugh, because why would you want to crush a peach? Obviously peach juice would shoot out and make a mess. It was a juicy peach. So when you crush it, what’s inside will obviously come out.
But this thought really stuck with me, because crushing a peach would bring out what’s inside.
Just like if you were to crush a computer, you would be faced with hard drives and wires and a motherboard.
And if you were to crush a tube of toothpaste, toothpaste comes out.
Whatever is inside comes out in the crushing process, and this applies to our life too.
I don’t have to look very far in my past to find a time where I felt crushed.
There have been many moments in life where I felt like the world was weighing on me, everything was going wrong, and life was a mess.
I’m sure you don’t have to think too hard about a time in your life that was like this.
But my question today is this: what did that crushing produce?
Just like if you were to crush a peach, peach juice would come out; what do the crushing moments in life bring out of you?
As I said before, crushing something brings out what’s on the inside.
So that means that whatever is inside of you is going to come out in these moments.
Sometimes that’s a good thing, and sometimes… not so much.
Proverbs 23:7 says this: “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”
What this means is that what’s inside of you — what you think of — is who you are.
Luke 6:45 also addresses this matter saying, “…for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Another version says “the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
Again, what’s inside is what comes out.
So what’s inside you? In those hard seasons of life, what comes out?
Is it anger and bitterness? Is it resentment? Is it depression and feelings of unworthiness? Is it negativity? Is it jealousy?
Or is it faith? Is it joy? Is it peace? Is it trust and hope in a loving God? Is it positivity? Is it worship?
What is it that comes out of you?
Really think about that. Think back to the last time you were faced with a hard or stressful situation. How did you react? What came out?
If it was something negative or not so good, don’t be so hard on yourself. I think we’ve all been there.
I heard someone say “give yourself some space for grace” and I think that’s good advice.
Give yourself space for grace, but don’t make excuses or stall out.
When you look back and recognize that in the crushing, something not so good came out, you need to address that pronto!
Luke 6:45 says that a good person stores up good in their heart, meaning that it is possible to fill it with bad things.
Letting anger, bitterness, jealousy, and things of this nature sit in your heart is not good! In fact, it is corrosive and will definitely impact the outcome of your crushing.
But if we instead invite the presence of the Holy Spirit into our hearts and lives daily, spend time in the Word, pray, worship, and learn and grow, we will begin to store up good things.
And when crushing comes, good things will come out.
On another note, I want to acknowledge this: times when we feel crushed are some of the hardest times. But, it isn’t just pain with no gain.
In a song by Hillsong Worship called “New Wine” there’s a lyric that says “In the crushing, in the pressing, You are making new wine.”
In order to make wine, grapes have to be crushed and pressed. It’s a necessary part of the process in making wine.
Sometimes, I think that our hard times — although not ideal and not at all caused by God — are a point of growth for us.
Sometimes they teach us life’s best lessons, and give us the ability to better understand and help people.
Sometimes they give us a new perspective on life, a new appreciation.
While I wish I could have avoided some of my crushing times, I can say that in hindsight I do appreciate them.
I have a better understanding of certain situations, a greater love for people, and have a story to share. I have an appreciation for things I wouldn’t if I hadn’t gone through them.
So while I wouldn’t choose them, I’m, in a way, thankful for them.
So I want to encourage you, if you feel like you’re going through a time of crushing, make sure to remember these two things: (1) what comes out is what’s inside of you, so make sure to store up good things. (2) it won’t last, and you’ll come out stronger and better than ever. You’ve got this.
Maddisen Sauls is the smile and voice behind the Everyday Joy blog as well as the author of the Word of the Week posts and the editor of by leaps and bounds. Throughout her life, Maddisen has worked as a reporter for small town newspapers, a School Age and Preschool teacher, and has acquired her ministerial license.
An avid book reader and lover of the written word, Maddisen is passionate about using her favorite medium to reach the lost and the hurting, and to offer encouragement and hope to those struggling through life.
Following her battle with depression, Maddisen has made it her mission to help other people through this journey and to bring joy to the lives of the people around her.
You can find Maddisen on Instagram @maddisen.paige