I’ve Been Trying to Squeeze Out Some Fruit of the Spirit on My Own

Like any good parent, I think I have the sweetest, most amazing children in the world, but somehow, we still occasionally have days around here when paradise feels like it must be in some other home. (I know, with this much sweetness, how could we NOT always have the happiest home EVER?!)

Kaylia and Everett

But Monday was a day like that. Oh, my goodness, I was tired. I really think my patience gets refilled during the sleep that happens after 6 am. I’ve been missing that chunk, recently.

So we plowed through homeschooling, Everett decided that naps were a waste of his time, my head was aching, and by the time Ben got home, the introvert in me wanted COMPLETE SILENCE FOR THE REST OF THE DAY.

On days like that, I want to be so much better. I want to try harder, and love harder, and just be more awesome, but for the last few weeks, I’ve had these verses hanging around in my head:

 “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. (John 15:5)

It doesn’t matter how much I try, it’s just not happening that way – I only bear fruit when I remain in Jesus.

Years ago, I heard a message about the Fruit of the Spirit that still comes to mind all the time. The pastor explained how the Fruit of the Spirit is just that: fruit. It’s the product of the Holy Spirit growing and thriving inside of us. We don’t start with the fruit, or focus on the fruit – it’s what we enjoy when we’ve gone through the hard work of growing.

It would be silly to get frustrated because there are no apples to eat in our backyard, when we haven’t even planted any apple trees yet.

In the same way, I need to focus on the planting, instead of the produce. I can’t be frustrated with myself over a lack of fruit – I need to get busy planting.


But I want apples! Right now!!! And when I want those awesome Fruits of the Spirit, and get impatient with myself for not being more self-controlled, or kind, or whatever, my natural reaction is to try harder, to muster up all the self-discipline I may have inside of myself, and squeeze out some fruit with sheer force.

That’s not really how it’s supposed to work, though. That self-discipline leads to…nothing.

So I’m trying to change the way I think. When I notice a lack in patience or whatever else, I’m trying to take it as a sign that there’s actually a lack of a connection with the Holy Spirit. I don’t need to try harder – I need to ask for more help. I need to get alone to pray. (Quick, 30 second cries to Jesus for help while I’m in the bathroom have seemed helpful!) I need to memorize Scripture.

And I need to stop beating myself up. That’s a big one. I can be so hard on myself, but really, I need to stop stressing about the apples, and focus on what really matters.

In the end, I just want to be consumed with the Spirit, abiding and remaining in Him until I become a healthy, growing, flourishing branch.


2 thoughts on “I’ve Been Trying to Squeeze Out Some Fruit of the Spirit on My Own

  1. thanks Kendra! That was exactly what I needed to read today. Forcing out fruit has been my go to method far too often lately. Oddly enough the forced out fruit ends up looking like it sounds – misshapen, bruised and not very attractive. A poor substitute for the real thing.

  2. Wow. I can soooo relate and have been feeling very similar these days. I’m trying now to instead of getting frustrated and overwhelm I ask the Lord, “what now, what do I do now?” It keeps me intuned with Him and gives me so much more peace.
    Still not perfect, but I’m growing daily! Thanks for this encouraging post!

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