I have the tendency to wish I would grow in a certain area of my life, to not do anything tangible about it, and then to kick myself when growth didn’t magically happen. This year, I knew I had to be intentional about my spiritual growth. I know myself too well. If left to my own devices, and to do what I wanted with my ‘free’ time, I would watch tv or lay on the couch with a magazine, or whittle away the minutes online, or go shopping for no real reason. None of these things are horrible in and of themselves, but the time that they chip away at the life God has given me can really add up.

So I prayerfully decided that this year, I wanted to work my way through the fruit of the Spirit, tackling one fruit a month (and taking the summer months off because we all know how summers just seem to have a different rhythm to them).

"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." (Galatians 5:22-23a)

I am choosing to go in order, and love was the first one I’m reflecting on. I didn’t just want to sit and think about love every day for ten minutes --- though that probably wouldn’t hurt! --- so I came up with an action plan for the month, and I’ll share it with you here:

Love: affection for God and others

Read/Study:

Each night, read and think on I Corinthians 13 (from The Message)

Read from Naked Fruit, chapter on love

Bible study on Love

Pray that my:

heart will love God more than anyone else, especially myself

heart will love Jesus as God loves Jesus

heart will soften and fill with love for Kevin, Sara & Jack (my husband and kids)

attitude towards friends, family, co-workers, and fellow Blackberry Creekers (my church) will be self-sacrificing

heart will see lost people as God sees them

Actions:

I will make the choice, just once, to read the Bible or pray during one of the times I go to lay on the couch and turn on the television

I will make the choice to ask Kevin one morning if there is anything I can do for him during the day

I will show Kevin more affection, at home and in public

I will hold my tongue and eye-rolling and sighing one time when he asks me for a favor

I will take Sara out for lunch

I will play games with Jack

I will ask my boss if there is anything I can do for him

I will ask a co-worker if there is anything I can do for her

I will leave my church to-do list home on Sundays, and just be available to talk with people without an agenda