The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Last night I picked my daughter up at a friend’s house. She’d had a great time and was in a good mood.
But when we arrived home, her mood deteriorated after a quick succession of negatives—like being asked to carry something large and awkward from the trunk to the front door and then ringing the doorbell and no one answering and then watching me fumble for my key without finding it and then words with her sister when she finally answered the door and then nothing interesting to eat in the kitchen and then being told that it was late and she had to get to bed right now. In rapid succession, the incidents piled on, helping to morph my cheerful child into a whiny, angry one.
As I tucked her in and we said goodnight, I talked to her about her frustration, trying to help her identify the incidents that had made her so upset. I did this because I have found that understanding the causes of my own emotional reactions often helps me calm down and handle life better. Taken one by one, little challenges seem more manageable.
Some of us are moving so fast that we simply react without fully understanding what has set us off. Most of the time it’s small things piling up. Someone hogging the remote. Children not doing chores. A husband’s insensitive comments. A driver cutting us off. We’ve all heard about the straw that finally breaks the camel’s back. I like the way an Amish proverb puts it: “It isn’t the mountains that wear you out, it’s the grain of sand in your shoe.”
The next time you feel frustrated, whiny, or angry, take a moment to review what’s transpired in the last few hours. Are little things piling on? If so, try to unpack them one by one, asking God to help you deal with them in a way that displays his wisdom and grace.
Father, help me to understand myself better so that I can gain more self-control—not the kind that comes from rigidly repressing my feelings, but the kind that comes as a fruit of being filled with your Spirit.
This is an excerpt from:
Becoming a Woman at Peace