You would think that a Beth Moore Bible Study on the Fruits of the Spirit would leave you feeling warm and fuzzy inside. Or at least that's what I mistakenly thought.
This is the study my two best friends and I moved onto after wrapping up our study on James.
The first 2 weeks, she lay the foundation affirming the kind of intimate parent-child relationship that God desires with us, the many roles of the Holy Spirit within us, deciphering His voice and the importance of submitting to, and not quenching or grieving, His Spirit.
She also gave an important reminder. We are not enemies with each other. According to scripture, our enemies fall under three categories: 1. The world 2. Satan 3. Our own sinful natures. Those 3 enemies are constantly at work against us. To attempt to possess the Spirit's fruits on our own is futile and allowing our circumstances to dictate our reactions is a recipe for disaster. Therefore, intentionally and continuously submitting yourself to the Holy Spirit is vital.
Sounds good, right? I'm a person of action, so I entered week 3 with a game plan: Submit.
The Fruit: Love....5 days later, I drove to Bible Study with tears streaming down my cheeks on the heels of an emotionally devastating week with my husband, arguing with the Holy Spirit. It wasn't a matter of deciphering His voice. I could hear Him plain as day. He was just wrong. Because do you know what He was telling me to do about the situation?!? Do Nothing.
What?!? Noooo!!! I want to fight this out!!
Ok, let's compromise. I'll call my husband and tell him that the Holy Spirit told me to "Do nothing" so that's why I'm gonna take the high road and stay silent.
And then God gave me one of these:
Week 4. The Fruit: Joy. On the heels of being Spirit-ordered to keep my big mouth shut? Not cool...5 days later I ended up sitting on my friend's couch crying over coffee.
I'm currently on Week 5. The Fruit: Peace. A week that kicked off with our annual Easter celebration at chaotic Chuckie Cheese, perfectly coinciding with PMS. Yes, God has a sense of humor. The good news is, my marriage isn't the target this week. The bad news is, it appears to be my sanity...and my gag reflex.
(Skip straight to the bottom if you have a weak stomach.)
Tuesday morning when I let our small Llassapoo puppy in from outside, she brought something with her. At first I thought it was poop. Yeah, she's gross like that. But upon closer inspection, the thing protruding from her mouth had toenails. (Cue the gagging.) What followed was a chase through the house while I screamed her name between dry heaves. (I would normally make a joke referencing my 'dramatic side' here, but in this case it was totally justified.) Because, what I removed from her mouth was the complete leg of a small animal and I'll spare you any further details. You're welcome.
Skip ahead to yesterday afternoon when Z casually entered our freshly cleaned house, caked in mud from the waist down and smelling like a swamp after "disc golf got legit." Whatever that means.
And this morning as the girls were getting ready to leave for school, Z let the dogs in from outside. The puppy had something in her mouth. (Insert a prayer that God has probably never heard before...please, Lord, let it be poop...) As my children and I watched, she dropped what was clearly the fully intact spine of a medium size animal onto the carpet. Long story short. The phrase "All hell broke loose" is the exact opposite of Peace.
I'm scared. I have 2 lessons still to do on Peace and who knows how many pieces of that mystery animal left to be delivered into this house. And I'm not even halfway through these stinkin fruits. So I guess this is a good time to remind myself exactly who my enemies are....or rather who they're not... My husband is not my enemy, nor is my swamp smelly son, and as hard as it is to believe at this moment, my 13 pound carcass-carrying Llassapoo isn't either.
The Fruits change. The circumstances change. But, like it or not, the game plan doesn't change. Submit.
And hold on tight because Week 6 is comin. The Fruit: Patience.
*Dramatic Music of Doom here...duh duh duhhhhh....*
Llassa-Poo by day,
Llassa-Killer by night.