“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control.” Galatians 5:22-23.
I would like to give my personal testimony of how the fruits of peace and joy were able to grow in my life.
Young and idealistic
When I was young and newlywed, I had all sorts of ideas of what life was going to be like. I knew where and how I would raise a family, what my husband “should” be like, how we would spend our evenings, how my future children would be (perfect angels of course! Ha!) Basically, I had in mind a very ideal life, and I actually thought I was capable of making it happen. This became concretely set in my mind.
Of course, real life has its challenges, and whose life is truly ideal? We couldn’t afford to live where I would have liked; my husband had to work long hours, so there went my ideal evenings; the babies born to us weren’t angels and needed my attention day and night; I couldn’t even keep my house as clean as I would have liked. It seemed like all I could manage was to keep everyone alive and fed, and I felt so incapable. All of this bothered me so much, and I was weighed down with the task of trying to create my “perfect life.”
I still remember quite clearly how the pit of my stomach felt, all tied up in knots. How my head ached from trying to figure out how to attain my dreams, while my real life demanded all of my attention and energy. The more control I sought in my situations, the more impatient I got, the more tense my body felt, and the worse my real life felt to me. I just couldn’t manage to shape my life into what I wanted, and I had no peace and joy. From the outside I looked like I should have every reason to be happy, but I was frustrated and dissatisfied. I thought that having my life take shape in the way that I saw best would make me so much happier.
A longing for peace and joy
I longed to have peace and joy, but couldn’t find it with the attitude that I had. You cannot attain the fruit of the spirit by how you arrange your life. I craved those fruits and had to humble myself and beg God to show me what to do. I prayed so many times through those years. I kept going back to God over and over to get the strength I needed. You know how the Bible talks about going to the throne of grace? (Hebrews 4:16) I went to that throne endlessly.
The result of my need was that my prayers were answered. God showed me that the reason I had no peace and joy was because I was clinging so desperately to my ideal of a “perfect life” and a “perfect family,” rather than searching for His will for my life. I thought I knew what I needed, but the truth was that I needed something completely different for there to be growth in my life. I needed to let go and just take each day as it comes and be willing to live it as God planned it. I had to apply myself to the now instead of the “what should be.”
These verses became my lifeline:
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28.
“Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful creator.” 1 Peter 4:19.
I allowed God to shape my life
I committed my life to God and allowed Him to shape my life as He wills, and not as I think it should be. I let God be in control. My headaches and tight stomach went away and I began to experience peace as I trusted God and no longer had the burden of trying to perfect my own life experience. With each day as I humbled myself to do God’s will, my joy returned. In fact, it was a new joy; a deeper joy!
There is nothing sweeter than surrendering my will to God and letting Him have the burden of my worries. I have never lacked for anything, and I’m happy! I continue to commit my soul to Him in doing good. Life was never meant to be heavy. We were never meant to be in control of it. That’s God’s job. My job is to live faithfully in what He has for me one day at a time.
“Come to Me all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Mathew 11:28-30.
I look forward to the future, and am curious to find out what God has planned for my life. I’m so thankful to know the real key to peace and joy, and that it has nothing to do with what I’m capable of!