So I was listening to a podcast today that asked an interesting question. Where were you 20 years ago and what were you doing? And good. grief. I'm old enough to count 20 years back and not be an infant. That's too bad.
So for the past few weeks I've been diving into the fruit of the Spirit. You know, those character qualities that Christ develops in us. If we belong to him.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
So far we've looked at Self Control, Gentleness and Faithfulness.
God keeps bringing up verses that speak to these attributes. For example:
A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls. Prov 25:28
I've never thought of self control as a defensive quality. But I guess it is. If you let your emotions and your desires rule you then you are quickly and easily swayed from one emotion to the next. Situations affect your heart more than they should because you have no set standard of behavior.
Someone says something mean, snarky or incorrect to me.
I lash out at them in anger. They retaliate. The situation spirals down.
Self control wall. No matter what is said to me I will not last out. This wall allows me to walk away. Not respond. Diffuse the situation instead of escalate it.
I really want to scarf a whole pack of Oreos.
I go for it. Feel guilt. Gain pounds. Feel shame.
Self control wall: I will not eat them. I feel no guilt. No shame. Don't add pounds and calories.
The character qualities that God calls us to are not surface. The reasons and the benefits of practicing what Christ calls us to in obedience are so rich and deep. These fruit snacks are turning into meals. And like anything else character is developed over time and with continued practice. The more you choose self control, the easier it becomes the more we are like Christ.
Sometimes I feel like 3 people.
There's the photographer/artist/businesswoman.
The girl who likes to laugh with her best friends, snuggle her husband, dance on Friday nights, eat guacamole and read good books.
Being in my mid 30s I guess has precipitated a mid life crisis. Who do I want to be? This was my first 30 years. What will the next 30 look like? What do I want them to look like? I'm taking this year to pray through it a little bit. To ask God for direction and to not make impulsive decisions.
Most of all I want to be afraid not to try. I feel at my most comfortable in my own skin right now. I know who I am, what I'm good at, and I want to be fearless. Lest you think this is all taken from various Taylor Swift songs, let's be clear.
Fearless means when I fail I look at why and try again, or make a wise decision about not trying again.
Comfortable means confident, less concerned with what other people think about my choices and more interested in being my best for Jesus.