Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit
Updated: Apr 26, 2021
"I wish I could be more kind."
"I wish I could feel more joy."
"I wish I could feel peace instead of anxiety."
"I wish I could feel God's love."
If there is one thing I have learned in the last year of opening up myself and, subsequently, having more real conversations with other people, it's that we all feel inadequate, no matter our age or gender or job title or background. We may cover it up well with bluster or practiced confidence, or we may avoid and hide it, but either way, we are all walking around feeling flawed and worried and not enough, wishing we could be better people.
No matter what we try though, it seems, we never find a way to actually achieve this vision that we have in our mind of who we want to be. In the same way that going on a diet invariably fails and we just keep going back to our old habits of eating or, alternatively, become so rigid that we lose the joy of nourishing our bodies and sharing food with others, we endlessly struggle to find a point of wellbeing and wholeness, a place where we are living into our values in each moment, fully present and fully ourselves.
We can't actually really make ourselves kinder or more loving or more peaceful. All of the apps and charts and goals that are sold to us as self-help are only ever temporary fixes. And when we fail them anyway, we can fall into even greater helplessness and apathy. What does work, though, is calling on God to give those fruit through us.
When we allow ourselves to just rest and be in God's presence, the Spirit works through us, to love through us, to share joy through us, to help us to be more faithful, to help us to be more peaceful. But being in God's presence isn't like putting on your favorite podcast and listening while you do the dishes. Drawing close to God requires our active willingness and engagement. It requires us to awaken our own spirits out of all of the noise and chatter and everything else demanding our attention.
One way we can do that is by practicing the spiritual disciplines. To enter into the spiritual disciplines we must first accept that actually, the truth is, we are not enough and we can only be who we are meant to be by deepening our relationship with God and allowing God's grace to flow through us.
On this blog and in our spiritual disciplines group we will reflect on a handful of the disciplines, practice practicing them, and share about the impacts of that practice on our relationships with ourselves, with each other, and with God. As we approach Pentecost and then into the summer, we will explore together these disciplines as ways to allow the Spirit to move freely through us without being blocked.
So with that in mind, let's begin journeying with the spiritual disciplines. And whether you just follow the blog or whether you join our small group, I hope that you will find here a place to draw closer to peace, patience, joy, love, gentleness, faithfulness, and kindness for yourself and others by drawing closer to God.
P.S. I would love to know which spiritual disciplines you would like to reflect on together. Fill out the survey here. I imagine we will go through about ten disciplines total (over 20 weeks) so mark as many as you like!