The other day, my husband and I were talking about financial stress and he commented that it seems almost wrong to ask God for more when we already have so much.
Stressing about money is something I do a lot of and something I’d like to do less of this year. But money stuff is so stressful!
While I know God cares about all our stresses and provides for all our needs (Luke 12:7, Philippians 4:19), my husband’s comment sparked a thought.
What if I looked at my situation from a place of gratitude and trust? How would this change my stress?
It seems simple and maybe obvious but I’ve been so focused on asking God for things I haven’t paid attention to the abundance He has already provided for me.
This realization was humbling to say the least. I keep asking and asking and am never satisfied. Something has gone sideways in my prayer life and it’s time to get it back on track.
I want to do better this year. I don’t want to be filled with anxiety and worry about what tomorrow will bring—I want to trust that God will provide for all my needs and does care about every little detail in my life.
In order to do better, I have to stop trying to do everything in my own strength. Wishing and willing myself to stress less is obviously not getting me anywhere. I need to allow the Holy Spirit to have more say in my life by being open to His leading and guiding. And I need to be willing to change.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!Galatians 5:22-23
In Christianese, the Fruit of the Spirit is something we talk about in passing, assuming everyone knows what it means. Drawn from Galatians 5, the fruits (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control) are what we’re called to work towards.
But how do we develop these fruits in our own lives? We can’t will ourselves to be more loving or gentler in our own strength. We must allow the Holy Spirit to work within us.
Being led by the Holy Spirit is simple but not easy. There isn’t an audible voice telling us what to do or what to say but the more mindful we are of our inner promptings and the more we stay in touch with God through prayer and Bible reading, we’ll begin to feel His guidance.
This year I want the Holy Spirit to develop the Fruit of the Spirit in me and I want it to be obvious to everyone. I know it will be a process and I will make mistakes along the way but it’s time to refocus my mind and heart from what I need to how I can make a difference.
In essence I’m challenged to flip my prayers around. “God please take my stress away and give me all the things,” changes to “Thank you for all you’ve given me. Help me find ways to bless others. Work inside my heart to develop the Fruit of the Spirit in new and exciting ways. Show me how to love You more.”
Developing the Fruit of the Spirit traits isn’t a one-time thing, it’s a lifelong journey. And it’s something I’m paying more attention to now.