Fuel Your Walk Friday

Fuel your walk with some Jesus and Joe.

I love Jesus and I love me an iced cuppa fresh cold brew halved with vanilla almond milk. What better way to combine the two and perk up the beginning of your weekend, than to “Fuel Your Walk” with some Jesus and Joe. Once a week, I will be posting a little snippet, thought, quote or question to ponder in relation to your walk with Christ. So grab your favorite mug, pour yourself a delicious cuppa Joe and get comfy as you let this question percolate in your mind:

“When we’re planted in Christ, we can grow into a person who is bearing fruit.” -Lynn Cowell

Are your roots growing down deep in Christ or are they planted elsewhere? What is one step you can take today to cultivate your relationship with Jesus?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. -Galatians‬ ‭5‬:‭22‬-‭23‬ ‭NIV

Their roots will be firm in the house of the Lord. They will grow strong and healthy in the courtyards of our God. When they get old, they will still bear fruit. Like young trees they will stay fresh and strong.
‭-Psalm‬ ‭92‬:‭13‬-‭14‬ ‭NIRV‬‬

Clothe Yourselves in Patience

Being a type A person, patience is definitely not my strong suit. I’m a pretty impatient person (my husband would laugh, saying that ‘pretty impatient’ is an understatement). I truly don’t understand how those B types work. My younger brother, however, is a type B personality to a T-one of the most laid-back people I know. Here’s how we differ. When I was on the phone with him one night, he was sitting in the Walmart parking lot and he told me that my fifteen-year-old niece just came back to the car from shopping and had lost his debit card. In the most peaceful, nonchalant way, he tells her “well, Jordan, that’s why I didn’t want you to take my card” and then remaining completely calm and unhurried, tells me he’s going to have to go inside and look for it. There was not an ounce of anger or frustration in his bones. I laughed when I got off the phone with him, thinking wow, I so would not do that. I’d be kinda freaking out. My impatient self would have been in the store already frantically running all over the place looking for it. We are total opposites, as you can see. I am not patient like that, but I’m really trying.

It’s a weakness God has been working with me on for quite awhile now and I’m definitely seeing the fruit of it, just not as quickly as I’d like (haha). I really don’t like waiting, but it seems that the more I hate it, the longer I have to wait, because God is going to teach me this lesson. And it’s not so much about the actual wait, as it is my attitude in the waiting. That’s even more difficult. And as for learning this lesson, it’s just a matter of how long it will actually take due to my willingness. So, I try to roll with it and accept it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard. Since I’m more aware of my impatient nature than ever, I thought I’d dive into the Bible and see what He has to say about it. He tells us how to be patient. Here are 10 things we can learn about patience from His Word:

*Be patient in affliction

We will have trouble in this world, but He says to be patient in affliction, so when we are experiencing distress, we endure it and we accept it for the time being. It doesn’t mean it will be easy, or that it will last forever, but patiently accepting our suffering, will help us grow to be more like Him.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. -Romans 12:12

*Be patient, bearing with one another in love

Be patient with family members, friends, the grocery store worker scanning groceries at a sloth’s pace, the guy flying past you on the road flipping the bird, the neighbor that drives you absolutely bonkers, your worst enemy. Let’s look at each person who crosses our paths, as there to teach and grow us. Be patient with everyone you come into contact with, so you can show the love of Christ. This will glorify Him and it will help us to live more peaceable lives.

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. -Ephesians 4:2

*Love endures with patience

Love is an action and one way we can love on people, is to show patience. Patience isn’t needed when life is easy, it’s the stressful times and under some of the toughest circumstances, where we are given chances to show love by being tolerant. Let’s look at our stressful moments as opportunities to live more like Christ, rather than just struggles to wade through while getting to the other side.

Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. -1 Corinthians 13:4 (AMP)

*Wait patiently for Him

We quiet ourselves before the Lord, and in the waiting, we put every piece of ourselves and others into His care. Then without worry, we trust Him to move in His time.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways,when they carry out their wicked schemes. -Psalm 37:7

*Patience brings peace

Will you be a peace-maker or will you stir up strife? Will you put the fire out or will you fuel it? A calm attitude with self-restraint will help bring about peace, rather than stoke the flames.

Hot tempers cause arguments, but patience brings peace. -Proverbs 15:18

*We wait patiently in hope

I love how the amplified Bible translates Romans 8:25-we wait eagerly with composure-eagerly meaning we wait expectantly. And when we can’t see what’s ahead, we still hope with anticipation, while using self-control and not allowing our worry or emotions to run amuck.

But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait eagerly for it with patience and composure. -Romans 8:25 (AMP)

*Whoever is patient has great understanding

The wise are slow to anger and keep their emotions in check, showing self-control. Don’t be a fool and fly off the handle. Before I homeschooled, my daughter’s fourth grade teacher taught her something invaluable that I, in turn, learned as well. She taught her class a saying that she lives by and I just cherish this teaching! Whenever frustration, anger or impatience arises, let’s remind ourselves to: PAUSE*BREATH*LOVE.

Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly. -Proverbs 14:29

*Better a patient person than a warrior

Again, this is about having self-control. And for some of us that grew up fighting our way through life, this may be harder to do than others, especially if we’ve endured trauma. Letting anger take over though, will defeat us in the end. It is better to step back and show self-restraint, than soldier on.

Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city. -Proverbs 16:32

*As God’s Chosen people, clothe yourselves in patience

As believers in Jesus, we were chosen to glorify Him and so we need to suit up, wearing the traits he instructs us to put on-compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. And if we struggle with some of these? He tells us in His Word that when we remain in the Vine, we will bear much fruit-these traits He calls us to clothe ourselves with. And all of these traits really work together. Being patient can be a humble act and a form of kindness. And in showing patience, a gentle answer or attitude can go a long way in keeping the peace. So, let’s become more like Him, by remaining in Him, and in doing so, we can fulfill the duty we’ve been given.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. -Colossians 3:12

*Patience is better than pride

Pride causes more damage than good. Let’s therefore set aside our pride, ending matters before they start by patiently humbling ourselves.

The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. -Ecclesiastes 7:8

Snipped and Pruned

He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. -John 15:2-6

When I was younger, I hated my hair. Then, I grew to love it. It was usually long, and always curly. Growing up, I’d hear the typical straight-haired comments- “Do you know how much money I spend at the salon to get hair like yours, getting a permanent?” or “You’re so lucky to have that kind of hair.” After I got married, and because we were trying to be frugal, I began letting my husband cut my hair-yes, I know-pretty shocking. I previously spent an upward of $65-not including a tip, just for a decent cut. Realizing my husband could do a better job than most stylists, I slowly began to trust him with my precious curls.

Well, about a week ago, I decided I wanted it a few inches shorter. I was tired of washing it, tired of styling it. It always ended up in a messy bun anyhow.

Sitting on the stool, he began hacking away like Edward Scissorhands. I realized I didn’t even care if he chopped too much off. This was pretty huge for me. Any other time and I would be constantly feeling and looking to make sure he didn’t cut an extra millimeter more than what I had instructed him. Tonight was different though. As the ringlets fell to the ground, it was as if a weight was dropping off of me and I just let it happen-without the worry, without the control. I let go and let whatever happen, happen.

Then, it dawned on me. This was symbolic of me dropping the weight of my life-my will, my ideas about how I think I should live, how we should raise our family, and instead, surrender to His will and what He wants for me and my family. It was about acceptance, surrendering to what is and where He has placed our family temporarily. That simple moment was about letting go and accepting right now for exactly what it is.

And as I sat there, I began thinking about how I’m in this season of pruning. God is in the process of trimming all of the dead branches to make way for the new shoots, the new fruit that he is beginning to produce in me. As He does this, I’m feeling a bit empty and bare. He’s stripping me of all I thought I was, in order to become more Christlike. It’s as though I’m being stripped of the bark to allow the good clean wood underneath to be used. Like when a log cabin is built, if the logs aren’t peeled first, the wood will begin to rot. It will decay. My life was once like this. It was in a state of decay because I wasn’t abiding in Him. and I didn’t even realize it. I was swimming up stream, getting caught in a vortex, and I couldn’t get out. I was getting nowhere, but I continued to live like I thought I knew best. This is self-will, my friends. And self-will never got me to where I truly wanted to be.

What I thought made me me, maybe wasn’t really me at all. Once, this social worker with a career that I worked so hard to obtain, running in this perpetual rat race, striving to be this super mom by chugging coffee all day long in order to fuel this fatigued body that was slowly breaking down, I was only sleeping three to five hours per night at most. I was the mom trying to make sure our girls got a top-notch education at a private Christian school, aiming to throw them Pinterest-worthy birthday parties, stressing about the perfect Christmas, making sure they were in the right after school activities. It was always about having the best and trying to be the best, but I see now that I wasn’t really living for Him at all. I was striving and striving and I didn’t need to.

I had it all backwards. See, I thought my identity lain in what I accomplished, but once those things were ripped from me and I drove myself into the ground too far for my health to bounce back, He kept me down so I could learn to have faith in Him-especially in the trials, to find my identity in Him-not in the world and not in my accomplishments, and He taught me and continues to teach me to trust Him more fully. I’m learning that my sole purpose in life is to love Him and love others like He does-His way, not mine. And despite the trials, His way is so much better. I’m home with my kids, homeschooling them and teaching them about Jesus daily. My husband has a work from home job, so we can travel and live wherever He wants us. I have less stress in my daily life and I’m healing. Our life is much simpler. We no longer own a lot of “stuff”, but we have Jesus, we have each other, and I’m slowly regaining my health. It is just enough and I have His peace, which far surpasses anything this world can give.

Even with all of the hardship we have experienced, we are extremely blessed. I see these blessings more frequently and more abundantly when I step aside and He is able to work, but this requires me to pick up His cross daily, and die a little more to myself. It’s a conscious effort and decision I must make every single day to turn my life and my will over to Him.

So let us continue to abide in Him, surrendering completely to His will. For only He can produce the fruit we truly desire. And only He can make us more like Him each and every day, But, and it’s a humungo BUT-we must continue to do this big thing-remain in Him. If we remain in Him, He will keep producing the good fruit-love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Because apart from Him, we can do nothing. My efforts on my own, have proven futile.

Truly, truly I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit -John 12:24