“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23.
I would like to give my personal testimony of how the fruits of peace and joy were able to grow in my life.
Young and idealistic
When I was young and newly married, I had many ideas of what life was going to be like. I knew where and how I would raise a family, what my husband “should” be like, how we would spend our evenings and how perfect my future children would be. I thought my life was going to be perfect and that I had the power to make that happen. I really believed this.
Of course, real life has its challenges, and there is no such thing as a perfect life. We couldn’t afford to live where I would have liked; my husband had to work long hours; the babies born to us were not angels and needed my attention day and night; I couldn’t even keep my house as clean as I would have liked. It seemed like all I could do was to cook the meals and keep everyone alive. I felt so worthless. I was tired, and unhappy, trying to create my “perfect life”.
I still remember quite clearly how heavy and much stress I felt. How my head ached from searching ways how to achieve my dreams, while my daily life took up all of my attention and energy. The more I tried to control my situations, the more impatient I got. The more tense my body felt, the worse my real life felt to me. I just couldn’t manage to make my life into what I wanted, and I had no peace and joy. From the outside it looked like everything was fine and I should be happy, but I was frustrated and unhappy. I thought that if my life could just be the way I wanted it to, it would make me so much happier.
A longing for peace and joy
I longed to have peace and joy but couldn’t find it. You cannot get the fruit of the spirit by organising your life in a certain way. I really wanted to have those fruits and had to humble myself and beg God to show me what to do. I prayed so many times through those years. I kept going back to God over and over to get the strength I needed. You know how the Bible talks about going to the throne of grace.
The result of my need was that my prayers were answered. God showed me that the reason I had no peace and joy was because I was holding on to my goal of a “perfect life” and a “perfect family,” rather than searching for His will for my life. I thought I knew what I needed, but the truth was that I needed something completely different for me to grow spiritually. I needed to let go and just take each day as it comes and be willing to live my life as God planned it. I had to accept things as they are “now” instead of “what I thought they should be.”
These verses were a great help to me:
“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God - those whom he has called according to his plan.” Romans 8:28 (GWT).
“So then, those who suffer because they follow God's will should commit [give] their lives to a trustworthy creator by doing what is right.” 1 Peter 4:19 (CEB).
I allowed God to shape my life
I gave my life to God and let Him shape my life as He wants, and not as I think it should be. I let God be in control. My headaches and worries went away and I began to experience peace as I trusted God and no longer tried, in my own human way, to be perfect. With each day as I humbled myself to do God’s will, my joy returned. In fact, it was a new joy, a deeper joy!
There is nothing sweeter than surrendering my will to God and letting Him take care of my worries. I have never lacked for anything, and I’m happy! I continue to give my life to Him by doing what is right. Life was never meant to be heavy. We were never meant to be in control of it. That’s God’s job. My job is to live faithfully in what He plans for me, one day at a time.
“Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Put on my yoke, and learn from me. I'm gentle and humble. And you will find rest for yourselves. My yoke is easy to bear, and my burden is light.” Mathew 11:28-30 (CEB).
I look forward to the future, and am curious to find out what God has planned for my life. I’m so thankful to know the real key to peace and joy, and that it has nothing to do with what I’m capable of!