It’s (one of) the most wonderful time(s) of the year: fall. The leaves are turning, the nights are getting cooler, and even though I’m in the middle of Manhattan, I can imagine myself at a bonfire or—one of my personal favorites—at an apple orchard.
I have always lived in a place where autumn is harvest season, where back-to-school time and the gradual ramping up towards winter holidays coincides with harvest bounty—white-gold wheat, juicy apples, fat pumpkins (and, of course, all manner of decorative gourds). Thinking about abundance and fruits got me thinking about the fruits of the Spirit, and it made me wonder—how would it look to really have those fruits in abundance?
An abundance of love might look like a decision to “do no harm,” even when you don’t feel loving towards someone. It might look like telling yourself you love him/her, that there is only love there—and acting that way until maybe, just maybe, your feelings catch up.
An abundance of joy might look like practicing gratitude even when you’re having a hard time finding things for which to be grateful. It might mean finding the little places of energy and excitement and hope in your life, and trying to cultivate more and more of those places until they start to outnumber the bleak moments.
An abundance of peace might look like understanding that at the end of the day, God is in control. It might mean knowing you are a whole person held and loved by God even when your world seems to be going to pieces and everything around you is chaos.
An abundance of patience might look like the ability to take the long view on life. It might look like continuing to hope when everyone around you seems to be getting what you’re hoping for, while you’re left in the dust, continuing to hope even when God’s time really doesn’t match up with your timing.
An abundance of kindness might look like choosing to act in a caring way when you would rather snap at someone. It might mean treating others in a way that builds them up, makes them whole, and sets them free, without expecting anything in return, without expecting to be appreciated, or even liked.
An abundance of goodness might look like look like evaluating decisions and choosing the best decision, the decision most likely to bring you life and wholeness, and most likely to bring others life and wholeness. It might look like being a tiny mirror reflecting a bit of God to the world.
An abundance of faithfulness might look like relationships built on trust. It might look like working on relationships, even when they are, well, work. And it might refer to your relationship with God, but also with your relationship with everyone you meet from day to day.
An abundance of gentleness might look like choosing to forgive others. It might look like calling out inappropriate behavior with a kindness that is void of any self-righteous edge.
An abundance of self-control might look like remembering that what you have is enough, and not making impulse buys that you will later regret, or emotionally binge-eating cookies (not that I have ever done either of these things).
I want to hear from you! Where do you see these fruits in your life? Which do you experience in abundance? Are there any that you could afford to cultivate a bit more abundantly?