not a coconut

Our kids came home from a class at church nearly two years ago singing, “Oh the fruit of the Spirit’s not a coconut! If you want to be a coconut, you might as well hear it: you can’t be a fruit of the Spirit. ‘Cause the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self contro-o-ol!” and to this day we still sing it several times a week.
Because all our kids (well, maybe not the baby!) know the fruits of the Spirit and because I find parenting to be rather exhausting of my own “goodness”, I gave them each the permission to say one of the fruits out loud whenever they noticed me not living like Jesus.
Now, up till this point the technique had been going well for a couple weeks- I was being caught in my sin, called out for it, and repenting sooner. Emerson and Oakley use it most often when I am irritated at someone– usually Luca, because well, she’s currently 2 and happened to get an extra large dose of her mom’s sass and her dad’s stubbornness…😆–  but sometimes other drivers on the road or whatever. (Side note: Emerson told me last year, genuinely, out of a heart of love, “Mom, you are such a good driver. You always know everything the other drivers are doing wrong.” 👈 Backhanded compliment, anyone????😂)
Anyway, so there was this time when I was getting frustrated with Luca and from another room I hear Oakley say, “Mom, self-control!”
He’s right. I need to take a deep breath here. This isn’t that big of a deal.
“I mean kindness!”
Ummmmmmmmm, ok I know. Just GIVE ME A MOMENT.
“No, wait, gentleness.”
“Oakley Crawford! I told you ONE fruit of the Spirit! One!!!! Not every single one that applies!” I barked at him.
You guys, I can’t make this stuff up. Now standing face to face, he looks at me sweetly in the eyes and said, “Then I pick patience.”
Sweet mother of Abraham Lincoln. If there ever was a time when I wished my kids did NOT know the fruit of the Spirit, it was certainly then. Forget the stinking fruit of the Spirit and let me yell at your sister and YOU while I’m at it, ya little turd.
I honestly don’t remember how I reacted outwardly in that moment. I don’t know if I said something sassy (my usual) or just walked away (what I’m trying to do more often) or if I laughed out loud (highly unlikely- I’m pretty sure I only found it funny in hindsight).
I can say for sure, though, that that rebuke has made a huge imprint on my heart. The kids still say one (and only one😄) fruit of the Spirit when the occasion arises but now my mind automatically takes it further: if I’m not portraying ONE of the fruits of the Spirit, chances are pretty high I’m not portraying ANY of them. Can you be impatient while still being loving? Clearly no.  Can you have joy without peace? Hardly. If you’re not being gentle, are you being good? No!
Here’s the point: don’t excuse your sin as something less than what it is. “Well, I just wasn’t being patient enough.” That means you weren’t walking in Christ-likeness. You weren’t being loving. You weren’t practicing peace or gentleness or ANYTHING that the Holy Spirit enables you to do in a moment of temptation.
Am I preaching to the choir yet? Yikes. This post is mostly meant for myself… Gotta hit those truths home hard so 20 years from now I’m not still struggling with the same old same old.  I’m sure you girls got this down pat!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s