I can’t tell you how many times I have thought about deleting this entire post and composing something superficial because I worry someone I know will read this and judge me for it. However, this is the message on my heart today. Accordingly, I am going to stay true to that and share the ramblings of my heart today with confidence.
Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me.
John 15:4 (MSG)
We are reminded to dwell in Christ and be joined with Him, and without Him, we will not bear fruit.
I like the way the Amplified Bible describes branches as “vitally united” to the vine.
Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will live in you.] Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me.
John 15:9 (AMP)
I want to be vitally united to Christ in much the same manner that the branch is joined together with the vine as a life sustaining connection. The connection is what breathes life into me. I want to be a woman who walks in the “fruit of the Spirit.” I don’t think there are more wonderful words to describe a homemaker than someone full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I want to surrender myself to Christ that these fruits are developed within me. These are the same attributes that I consider when I say that I want to make my home a haven.
I want my house to be filled with love, joy, and peace. I want my home to be a place that reflects generosity and commitment. I want my home to be a materialization of the commitment to walking in the Spirit.
Self-control isn’t something that we all like to talk about. Personally, I like to create excuses for why I am not exhibiting self-control in several areas. And about 99.9% of the time, I’m not willing to give up those excuses.
I had to eat that big meal out because I was so tired and absolutely exhausted from work…
It costs less to just eat fast food. I’m saving money if I buy a $5.99 pizza for dinner for my family.
I’ll just feel better if I just go shopping…
I just really want to buy another pair of shoes, even though the perfectly good pairs that I have are already spilling out of my closet…
I can just sit and goof off on the computer or in front of the t.v., because no one else is helping tidy up this house anyway…
I am hanging onto (insert random item) because I might need it some day…
I am hanging onto that because it cost me my hard-earned money…
I don’t feel well. I’m not going to sweep the floor or do the laundry today. I just want to lay down and rest…
I just want to give up, so why bother doing anything.
It’s too difficult…
I don’t have the time or energy to make it perfect anyway…I’ll just thumb through magazines instead…
Or, since I am being totally honest, before I quit drinking, I might say:
Well now, it isn’t bad to have a glass of wine or two every night…I can stop any time.
I had a bad day at work. I deserve a glass of wine…
Those are just a few of my excuses that I tell myself for why I don’t exhibit self-control.
One of the biggest areas that I haven’t practiced self-control in the last few years was with drinking. Thankfully, today, I have 69 days of sobriety. That’s just over 9 weeks, or 2 months and 8 days. Yes, I am counting. My phone reminds me every day at 9am that I have another day sober.
I wasn’t hiding my drinking. I wasn’t drinking until I passed out. But I really felt in my heart that I was being led to quit drinking for about a year.
I could keep living the life that I have been living, because according to society I am successful enough. I work full-time. I own my own home. I make sure the power stays on and the cupboards are full of food. There is nothing in this culture that says it is wrong for me to have wine in the evening, or spike my lemonade to sit on the front porch in the sunshine. But I was starting to use it as an escape from life, MS, stress, physical pain, and emotional pain.
I first started drinking a glass of wine before I gave myself my injection of medication in the evenings. Then, my mama passed away after a very short battle with cancer. I found myself skipping my injection entirely, and just having a glass of wine or a bit (aka a lot) of bourbon. I didn’t drink every night, but I definitely looked forward to it. I hated answering health questionnaires of how much I drank or how often I drank. My birthday gifts were often bottles of wine (very practical) or gift cards to wine stores (very, very practical).
I once said, “If I was an alcoholic, my drink of choice would be Maker’s Mark.”
The response in the room was a chuckle and “If you were an alcoholic…”
I can’t say that I stopped drinking out of sheer determination and free will. I quit because I started a prescription for medication that doesn’t have clinical findings on the long-term use of alcohol when combined with the medication.
I’ve notice that in the last couple of months, I have more of a desire to see improvement in myself and my home. I have more interest in the little things of life, and not just trying to relax and forget the day.
I see that there are areas in my life that the fruit of the Spirit is developing and attempting to become abundant. I must have the courage to bear fruit and accept personal responsibility for my actions. I want to live the best life that I can live. I want to maximize my potential. I want to follow my heart and not my excuses. I don’t want to sabotage my goal of making my home a haven and of walking in the fruit of the Spirit. I am not contained or limited by my circumstances. I choose each day to follow my destiny.