The Parable of the Pineapple

Folks that haven’t known me real long will probably be surprised by this, but I promise it’s true. 

I haven’t always had a backbone.

I’m pretty sure that I was born with one.  My parents tell me that I, the youngest child, was the screamer in the house.  I knew what I wanted and wasn’t afraid to screech and howl until I got it.

I don’t remember when I realized that I’d lost my backbone.  Perhaps it was when I was about ten years old and started a new school.  I wanted to make lots of new friends, but didn’t really know how.  I studied the other kids around me so that when they asked me about myself, I could tell them what I thought they wanted to hear.  In the beginning, it didn’t work so well, but eventually, with plenty of practice (maybe by the time I got to my fourth or fifth school) I got pretty good at it.  I just wanted to be loved. 

Being a pastor’s daughter helped me to nurture my spinelessness.  When we would go to a new church, I would earn the love of the people by doing everything that they wanted done.  Do you need a Sunday School secretary?  I’ll do it.  Do you need a nursery worker?  I’ll do it.  Do you need someone to bake brownies for the bake sale?  I’ll do it.  Do you need someone to sing a solo on Easter Sunday?  I’ll do it.  Do you need someone to scrub the coffee grounds out of the inside of the industrial-sized coffee pot?  I’ll do it.  I had a motto: “Never Say No!”

When I was 18, I met the man that I thought was the finest, most wonderful man on earth.  We began to date and then got engaged.  I set out to earn his love by making him the most happy, comfortable man on earth.  It worked.  I cooked his meals, cleaned his house, and did everything that he ever asked of me.  I never told him no.  After two and half years of relationship and six months of engagement, this man that I had built my life on admitted to me that he wasn’t in love with me, but that he just loved how I took care of him. 

I’d like to say that I immediately realized my sins, repented of them, and turned away from them forever.  But that’s just not so.  I didn’t get this way over night and I didn’t get “fixed” over night, either.  But I started on the right track when I finally realized that I was believing lies.  It took me years to recognize all of the lies that I’d been hanging onto: You have to earn love.  If you tell people what they want to hear, then they’ll be happy.  If you love people, you’ll keep them happy.  If you say no, then you’re not loving people.  When I began to wake up to the lies, then I was able to get real—with myself and with others.

My friend, Rick, used to call me “The Spineless Wonder.”  He would get so frustrated with me because I would know that I needed to tell someone something that they wouldn’t like, but I wouldn’t do it because I was so afraid that they wouldn’t love me or that they would feel rejected by me.  For six months during college, I dated a guy that I didn’t like and couldn’t get along with, but I was afraid to break up with him because I didn’t want him to be hurt or upset by me.  (Rick, thank you for not shooting me!  ‘Cause I really deserved it!) 

The truth that helped me the most during this time was a Joyce Meyer quote: “Do it scared.”  Basically, she said that we’re all scared sometimes, but when you know that something is right, you do it no matter how scared you are.  I learned how when I was scared, I should speak to myself: “Just do it, Sarah.  Do it scared.  God hasn’t given you a spirit of fear!”  And eventually, it started to sink in.

After I started getting real, God started putting me into situations where I had to speak into peoples’ lives.  Some of them would be in Bible studies with me.  Some of them would seek me out for advice.  Some of them would simply cross my path and get into a conversation with me and I would feel compelled to share something with them.  EVERY time, the old fear would rise up inside of me and say, “Who are you to say this to them?”  But I would also hear the Holy Spirit inside of me saying, “Just say it, Sarah.  Say it scared.  God hasn’t given you a spirit of fear!”  I wasn’t always well-received, but I was always at peace, because I knew that God was pleased with me.

I always find it a little funny how people that know me now think that I’m really opinionated and open with my feelings.  (And it really made me laugh the day that Rick called me and asked me if he could “borrow my backbone.” HA!)  If they only knew how far God had to bring me!

Today, I find myself having to weigh what I say (and write) very carefully.  There are times that I can overcompensate and speak too much and actually bruise people.  Recently, God reminded me of an object lesson from my own life.

I love pineapple.  ALL pineapple.  I don’t care if it comes from a can or is fresh.  I love it all with a passion.  (Well, as much passion as you can have for fruit.)  A few years ago, a friend came to visit and brought me a fresh pineapple as a gift.  I took that delectable treat into the kitchen, carved it up into juicy little slices, and dove into the plate head first.  I had eaten about four slices when I realized that my mouth felt sort of strange.  My lips sort of tingled and burned.  Well, I am totally willing to suffer for pineapple!  I went back for another piece and had just polished it off when another friend walked into the room and said, “Sarah!  What’s wrong with you?!  Go look in the mirror!”  When I did, I saw that my lips had turned red and that a large, raw, red, raccoon-like circle had formed around my mouth.  My lips were now completely numb, but when I looked at them, I realized that they were bleeding.

Oh, Sweet Pineapple!  What did you do to me?!

Well, it turns out that I was allergic to an insecticide that had been sprayed on the pineapple.  (If I’d been allergic to the actual fruit, my heart would have broken for sure!)  But what God taught me through the trauma was this:

Just like pineapple is good, the truth is good.  When truth is told in love and in a healthy amount, it is sweet and good for the spirit, soul, and body.  But when we abuse truth and don’t tell it in love or lace it with poison (like wrong intentions, malice, manipulation, or to hurt feelings), then we hurt others.  They may start out by being numb, but eventually, they will bleed and we will be held responsible for that.

I know that God does everything for a reason.  I thank God that this blog isn’t just a marketing tool or a ploy to catch readers.  Instead, it’s an opportunity for me to be real, to be open, and to share the truth that God gives me.  And I welcome the truth that you have to share as well. 

“A man has joy by the answer of his mouth; and a word spoken in due season, how good it is!”  — Proverbs 15:23

About Sarah Salter


  1. Kimae-Pie says:

    You know….you are amazing with your words and say it at just the right time for me. I am without backbone about something right now and God has just spoken to me about it…thank you for listening and following His lead!

  2. Barbara says:

    Amen.. I wish that ALL people knew that things don’t happen over night and that healing takes time.. To me the key is to really do and say what you have to say in LOVE.. real love not just to say”I am telling you this in love” but to really mean it.. Instant fix isn’t always there.. But God is and He will give us the truth to share in love…

  3. Amen to that last paragraph. For the record, you’d best be yourself when dealing with me or I’m coming after you, got it, kiddo? lol

    Remind me to loan you Vonda’s book. You’ll really, really appreciate it.

  4. Sarah, what an awesome analogy! Sure glad you didn’t have anything worse happen to you.

  5. Sarah, what a powerful story and a powerful way of sharing how God refined you, as he does all of us, and gives us courage to grow so that we can produce more fruit. I’m thankful that He saves me from myself at times because I can do more harm to me than others can. Now that the Lord has strengthened you, you are better able to do God’s Kingdom work that helps others to be free as well. What an awesome God we serve!

  6. Eliza Garrison says:

    Sarah, I Love you. I also so love our Lord, How He use us while we are on the potters wheel, braking us and making us over again. Most of the time we know God as Savior, not as Lord, or Father, or Friend, or Master, or Healer, or Deliver etc. but my favorite one is Father, this I see, in your analogy, of the, “spineless wonder” how the Father is teaching His Child (Sarah), how He wants her to become. Believe, me Sarah, our Father dose not have natch back Love or any of those worldly terms the world call love. 1John 4 says God Is Love!!!


  7. Sarah, girl, you do have such a gift with words.

    Shwew!! Thank goodness you weren’t allergic to the pineapple! LOL.

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