This is (one of) my week(s) off from Esther. While I was not looking forward to it, it ended up being a nice break this week as I've been feeling (just a little) overwhelmed. (What? You noticed from my poor quality of blogging and worse than usual returning of messages? Sorry!)
So while on my Esther hiatus, I picked up my "Life Above the Negativity" book again. One of my favorite pieces from the book is:
"I am not my own. I am bought with a price. I belong to God. I choose to grow in and put on love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. I recognize the opportunities God gives me to grow in these areas."
The opportunities? That's a nice way to put it. You know the kind. When a family member hurts your feelings, a coworker says something discouraging, your stuck in traffic, a friend says something about you, an unexpected bill, a poor doctor's report, and on and on and on.
There are opportunities all around us to grow in love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. But how do we do it?
I've been working on first recognizing the opportunities. If you are feeling frustrated, upset, or annoyed, it's a pretty good indicator there's an opportunity for you to grow in that area (and believe me, I have a LOT of room to grow in a lot of areas!).
Sometimes I'm upset about something and feel like talking about it. Sometimes that talking turns into complaining, grumbling, whining, even gossip (gasp!*). Society calls this "venting" and tells us this is okay.
But God says it's not.
"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." -Ephesians 4:29
In fact, He tells us to avoid those who do it.
"A gossip goes around telling secrets, so don't hang around with chatterers." -Proverbs 20:19
I came across this quote today, "When you are tempted to complain, think of it as an invitation from God to give thanks."
An opportunity to go to God in thanksgiving.
So after recognizing the opportunities that come my way, I take them to Him. I talk to Him about them and seek guidance. Sometimes it's an opportunity to give Him thanks that I even have the problem I'm having in the first place (giving thanks for having a job, rather than complaining about the job I have). Sometimes the answer is to simply be still. Be quiet. Sometimes I have a really hard time finding what the answer is and I just lay it in His hands.
Whatever the answer, He is trusting me with a lot of opportunities to grow and I am definitely a
What opportunities has He trusted you with lately? How do you recognize them and what do you do to grow in the fruits of the spirit?
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." -Galatians 5:22-23
*"Life Above the Negativity" defines gossip has something you are talking about but are neither a part of the problem or the solution. Sounds like a whole new post for another day.....