But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law”. [Galatians 5:22-23].
Rather than stress or be distressed about why the discussions are not as Galatians states I decided awhile ago to try to always be the way Galatians describes. I fall short regularly. Sometimes I fall short spectacularly. But I long for the days when the virtues described in Galatians reign supreme in the land. Yes I am idealistic. Some may say unrealistic. But I am optimistic. In fact, I am a perennial optimist. I pray that the virtues of long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, and temperance spread in our particular venues. Remember, ‘you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar’ ;-). I really am loving the word long-suffering today. It is a really cool word. Gentle persuasion is a bit of a “true north” for me.
I do not write this to criticize anyone or their their discussions. Rather, I am trying to hold myself accountable. You see, despite my background on the speech team and debate team, I do not argue effectively. I get far too personally involved on an emotional basis. When I do that, I cannot be persuasive ~ only mean. Now who am I going to convince if I am mean? You are right, no one! As I said to a particularly pushy vacuum salesman years ago: now that you have insulted my carpets and my equipment, and belittled my unwillingness to overspend, why on earth would I be convinced to spend my hard earned money on anything you are trying to sell?
If I am trying to convince someone that my priorities are well-placed and my values are honorable, there is no better argument than a well-lived life of kindness and love. If someone sees me remain faithful TO my faith and values, and sees the strength I draw FROM it, then perhaps my choices can help them in their struggles.
After seeing a lot of bullying , I know how the victim feels. I have seen people put down in front of others (face to face and electronically). I have assisted those suffering the after-effects of the bullying. So I try so hard to stick to the quote in Galatians. Again, I do not write this today to critique or prod anyone but myself. Some are called to hold others’ feet to the fire, and they can do so very effectively. I am the first to admit that those who can do so effectively DO effect change.
But I am a more “behind the scenes and one-on-one” kind of agent of change. It has been a hallmark of my being:
- From Hunger Hikes
- to Earth Days
- to volunteer
- to accountant
- to wife and mom
- to special needs advocate
- to School Board member
- to manager and corporate trainer
- to mom’s group member and program manager
- to Art In the Schools leader to
- PTA and Scouts to
- Safe Environment Coordinator and Trainer
- to helping businesses get started to
- author to
- tutor and blogger to
- IEP advocate and homeschooling advocate
- to today.
So today, I am holding myself accountable. I need to practice even more. I have an important meeting next Thursday evening ~ and I need to be ready! I will need to be able to convey my messages and plans clearly, in a non-judgmental way, and be incredibly persuasive. I ask that you pray for me on 10/3 beginning at 5:30PM Pacific Time