Now, I’m not a religious person. Heck, I really don’t believe in a “God” per say, and I really hope you won’t hold that against me. I firmly believe we are all entitled to believe in what we believe in. What makes sense to us. What fuels us. For me – that’s the people in my life, the circumstances surrounding daily situations, both traumas and beauties we encounter and experience, and a whole lot of faith. Faith is a funny word for me because of the fact that I’m not overly religious, but I genuinely do believe things happen for a reason and those things are timed to happen at the right moment too, whether you know you needed them to happen or not.
Currently, I am reading Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis. As one of my best friends described, “It lights your soul on fire”. And she’s right. I have not read an entire book since high school and I graduated almost 8 years ago now. I got this book on three days ago and am more than halfway through it. It is consuming. It speaks to me in a way that I need to be spoken to. And funnier for me, Rachel really writes in a way that I relate to and that I really feel like I mirror, even before I started reading her book.
In Chapter 12, The Lie: Other People’s Kids Are So Much Cleaner/Better Organized/More Polite, Rachel mentions the fruits of the Spirit. Before I continue, Rachel references the Bible throughout the book, but even I can relate. “…the fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, patience, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control”, (pg. 120). This sentence in particular jumped out at me because I’d never heard of it before, yet it resonated with me in a way that made me want to write about it. The rest of this post will consist of my thoughts on each of these 9 fruits and what they mean to me. If you’ve already stuck through this far, thank you, and I hope you stick through the rest as this is looking like it could be a lengthy post!
Love is important to me because it drives so many of the decisions I make. Especially when it comes to decisions regarding the people in my life. I love the people in my life. I don’t know where I would be without the love of the people in my life. It makes me feel perfectly imperfect and that I can be accepted for who I am without fear of having to change to meet certain standards. Love is love is love and we are so fortunate to be able to feel that emotion.
Joy is also important because of its impact on the decisions we make daily. Why would we do something that doesn’t bring us joy? Even if its joy in the longterm and not immediate. I ride horses because it brings me joy, I hang out with my friends because they bring me joy, I stick with my career path because the successes bring me joy. You have control over putting yourself into a position to be joyful in your actions!
This is a hard one. Patience is taking the time to remember that others are in a different place than you and giving them the time, the space, and the benefit to get to where they need to be. Patience is working hard and letting things play out how they were meant to play out. Patience is having faith!
I have learned that peace is controlled by you and only you. Similar to joy, having peace of mind is all about your own mindset and how you control and react to the situations you encounter. It’s about remembering to be thankful for what you have, for the people you know, for the opportunities you’ve been given and being grateful and proud of where you are. Peace is not comparing yourself to others or always wanting more. Peace is being in the moment and reveling in every second.
Kindness is a simple, but impactful skill that is instilled in us from the day we are born. Kindness is the cornerstone of our lives and our society and if we all practiced it a little more, we might find ourselves in more favorable situations. Kindness can be small and it can be huge, but each act of kindness holds the same measure of importance. Anything ranging from a simple smile to saving a life, kindness is a necessary tool to have as a human being.
Be a good person. You’ve seen those shirts before right? To me, goodness is innate. I think we are all born good people. I believe we all have the power to be good people by practicing kindness, by having inner peace, being patient, and loving. We find ourselves in situations where we might be derailed, but there are aspects of our lives where we are all good people because we care about being good in certain situations. The hard part is remembering your goodness in situations where you’ve lost sight.
Having faith in something, in anything, is what motivates us to keep going. Faith reminds us of why we are on the specific path we were meant to be on. Faith can be instilled in a God, in yourself, in a career or a talent, in a partner and so much more. Being faithful, to me, is something I can’t imagine living without. The best example I have relates to my faith that my childhood horse, Stretch, left me when he had completed what he walked this earth to do. And I firmly believe that was to teach me what faithfulness was. And patience. And true peace. Although I find myself being a bit impatient, I am faithful that down the road, the next horse will come along and teach me something new that I didn’t know I needed to learn.
Gentleness really makes me think of my animals. Being gentle with innocent souls. Fragile beings. Be a gentle person, have a gentle personality even if you can be an assertive person. Sometimes being gentle is all we need to do to get to the next step. Gentleness includes many of the skills listed above, especially patience. Treating all living beings and creatures with kindness and respect and opening your mind to learning new things and meeting new people.
Self-control is probably the hardest on this list. I think it’s a good one to end on as having the above 8 skills all boils down to being a self-controlled person. A person others look to as an example. A person who thinks through their actions and looks to the future in decision making. A person who has the control to be in the moment when they need to be in the moment. Self-control is not a skill we are born with, it is a skill that is learned through trials and tribulations and hard lessons. But once we have mastered that, we open up opportunities we didn’t even know were there.
I can’t wait to continue reading this book and updating you all on more of the wisdom and knowledge Rachel shares! I hope these 9 fruits speak to you in the way they spoke to me. I hope they cause you to think hard about your life and which of these skills you are best at and which could use more attention. I know I have many on this list that I could be better at and will continue to practice daily. I hope you are as inspired as I am!
Until next time,