What the Fruits of the Spirit Can Tell Us

“Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

For the past twenty-four hours I’ve been trying to process what all has just transpired. I’ve been reading what people have shared on social media in the midst of their very real pain, anger, and fear. I’ve seen glimpses of hope in the art, quotes, and wisdom many of you have shared. It's helped. The above words, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control above have rattled around my head today and have also helped calm my nerves some.

Yeah, it’s from the Bible. And yeah, I get if the last thing you want to hear is something from the Bible after evangelicals handed the presidency to that guy. But perhaps they’ll ring true with you nonetheless as I've found them helpful.

Love. You know this one’s never been easy. And if it has been, maybe you weren’t doing it right. Jesus says to love your enemy. It means I’ve got to find ways to love some people that I find to be breathtakingly awful people. But humans nonetheless that deserve love even when they deny it to others. Not excited about this, but working on it.

Joy. I’ll find this in picking up my son and tossing him the air. He’ll giggle and squeal. Perhaps I can create some joy in others and indulge in it where I stumble upon it.

Peace. Peace not through saying everything’s okay. But peace in knowing that we’re in this together. A happy ending isn’t promised. Just know that you’re not alone. You’re not forgotten. Don’t despair. I’m going to do my best to be here for you. I know others are here too.

Patience. Take a deep breath. Seriously. Breathe in ... Hold it … are you holding it? … fine then ... breathe out. Repeat. Repeat again and this time really do it. Try to give a little extra grace today. God knows I need it.

Kindness. I think kindness is closely linked to being thoughtful. I’m pretty wrapped up in my own head most of the time. So perhaps it’s stopping that inner monologue and listening a little more. Ugh.

Goodness. You know what goodness is? Brownies and ice cream. Seriously. Go ahead and have a little extra dessert. I had like half a pan of brownies and a quart of ice cream last night. Embrace some radical self-care for a moment.

Faithfulness. Faithfully stick to what is true and right. When someone is wronged for their age, gender, race, sexuality, religion, or politics, don’t look the other way but get involved. Don’t just vote and walk away. Don't move to Canada. Be steadfast and resolute to offer encouragement at every opportunity and resistance when needed.

Gentleness. Things are tense. Let’s try our best to de-escalate things perhaps. The picture below comes to mind.

Self control. When I see that Facebook post that makes me want to reach through the screen and shake the person on the other side … self control. (Maybe unfollow if it’s truly heinous.) I remind myself I've never won a Facebook argument.

These things are things I can control. They’re things I’m still working on. Frankly, they’re things I’m not real good at. But I’m pretty convinced they’ll get me headed in the right direction. Perhaps get us all headed in a better direction.