Love, joy, peace, patience, etc. I know the drill. I love Jesus, and I’ve got the Spirit, so why does that list make me feel so bad? Good thing I’ve got it so firmly entrenched in my memory; there’s no need to think about what any of it really means. I’ll just spout it off when it’s important to look well-versed.
I want the fruits of the Spirit. I’m desperate for them. They are the nemeses of depression, anxiety and irritability. But when I try my best to feel them, I come up with this whole new category: tolerance, level-headedness, the ability to ignore worries, niceness, the ability to look busy, and sheer white-knuckle grit. Ah yes, the fruits of the independent woman. So delicious and nourishing, aren’t they?
They’re crap, and I’m tired of their mediocrity.
The fruits of the Spirit are fruits of the Spirit. Why do we expect ourselves to feel them independently of God’s power? Love, real agape lay-down-one’s-life-for-another love is not available to me apart from the Spirit. Real joy and peace are beyond my reach, unless He produces them in me. In every moment, I must yield to the Spirit in order to experience the emotional overhaul I desire.
So why be disappointed in myself when I fail to truly love someone? Why panic when I am stuck in anxiety? It’s not my job to feel better. It’s my job to take a second and “strive to surrender” (as my friend Erik put it so well). I can see how, in this way, life under grace might actually be a lighter burden.