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“God can’t give us peace and happiness apart from Himself because there is no such thing.” C.S. Lewis

I had to laugh when Prophet Jim Reilly told a friend that even though he had it all, he continued to be “grumpy” until he got ahold of God. 

In 12-step programs, the members call this “being irritable and unreasonable without knowing it.” Even if we do know we’re agitated, we don’t know what to do about it. 

In every day life, most of us know someone we’d rather never have to deal with again. I won’t share some of the descriptions I’ve heard, but they’re worse than grumpy, irritable, and unreasonable. 

During a difficult time of dealing with a difficult person, a friend advised me to practice the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5: 22-23. They are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. 

Here’s the thing about practicing anything to do with God … it has to come from Him. That’s why its called “fruit of the Spirit,” which means HIs Spirit. Just like a fruit tree produces whatever kind of seed it grew from, we act like whoever and whatever we’ve hung around and watched and listened to. 

Here’s the other thing, I wanted the difficult person to change, not me.  

I remember trying hard to be kind. The best I could pull off was niceness that felt fake. I laughed when a friend referred to it as “magnolia mouth” because I knew exactly what she was talking about. It’s our sweet style here in the South when we try hard to like you. We try hard to be accommodating. We try hard to say the right things. All the while, though, we want to punch you in the nose. Instead, we say “bless your heart.” 

Anytime I try to control my own mood, I have to maintain it. I can keep it up for awhile, but not long enough

When I spend time with God, He maintains it. He influences my mood – not because He controls who I am, but because He’s genuinely loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled, and HIs Spirit inspires and helps me be the same.  

“I’m So Blessed,” a song by Cain, says we’re a child of God on our best days and on our worst days, and all our days and dispositions and difficulties are easier when we spend time with Him.  

In This Together,

FYI: I’m blogging my book titled On The Other Side of Trying Hard: Healing, Happiness, and Holiness. Because the blog posts will eventually be an entire manuscript instead of stand-alone stories, some posts may leave you hanging. I hope you’ll hang in here with us anyway ‘cause a happy ending is coming. Each blog post title includes the chapter title first. The phrase in parentheses is one subheading within the chapter. I’d love to hear your reflections, questions, and suggestions. I’m over-the-top grateful you’re here.

I have something for you!


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