I’ve had a week. I mean, one of those weeks.
A hormonal, pre-teen, an almost two year old who made it his mission in life to scream through every square inch of Walmart when he saw the M&Ms, homeschooling frustrations, recuperating from illness, looming deadlines and a string of speaking engagements to prepare for. Worst of all, no chocolate. Yes, this past week I was Allyson from Mom’s Night Out.
Despite, having one of those weeks, I was determined to stay close to Jesus. I made it a priority to saturate each morning with Bible study and prayer. And finally, finally we had an afternoon where the frazzle eased into a measure of calm.
With the children happily playing, I sat down to study the fruits of the Spirit for an upcoming retreat I’ve been asked to speak at.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…”
Love. That’s the hinge that it all hangs on, I thought. 1 Corinthians 13 is the perfect place to go. Just as I started to flip through the thin pages, blood-curdling shrieks exploded as all three kids came tearing into my office, covered in marker smears, dog barking on their heels, and leaving a string of crushed crackers in their wake.
My last nerve finally snapped. Turning away from my Bible, I yelled, “Hey! Knock! It! Off! I’m trying to study the fruits of the Spirit over here! What’s wrong with you?” In the blink of an eye, I transformed from Beth Moore to Frankie Heck from The Middle.
I glanced back down at my Bible, huffing in frustration, to see the convicting words from 1 Corinthians 13 staring back at me: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered…”
I blinked once, twice then burst out laughing. God caught my attention. The very fruits I was determined to master turned out to be a bit sour when dealing with the day to day stuff that makes up life. Oh, we try to do right but still end up missing the point. Sometimes our fruit is there but it’s a little sour, a little mushy, a little bruised. Why?
I sat back in my chair and blew out a long breath. I had gotten so caught up in the stress of the past week, my time with God had become nothing more than a check on my to-do list. I was reading His Word but wasn’t allowing it to change me.
That afternoon, as the little tornadoes’ shrieks of mirth died away, He pressed these simple words into my soul. Just sit at my feet, little one. Listen. Rest. I love you and my burden is light. Learn of Me.”
How many of us are consumed with the world’s battle cry to do more, achieve more, ‘be your best you’, accomplish, succeed? Yet the voice of Jesus says, “Be still and know that I am God.”
For this day, throw out your to-do list. Push away all thoughts of guilt, all voices screaming that you need to give more and just sit at the feet of Jesus. At His feet, there is joy, abundance, serenity and peace…and that exhausting list of ‘to-dos’ loses it’s iron-clad grip.
My fruit is a lot less sour when I do.