But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
- Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
My fruit for today, forbearance, is defined as patience, long suffering, keeping silent, tolerating an offence or indulging an offender or enemy. I wouldn’t say I have any enemies, however, there are several people who do offend me. This past month has been particularly difficult and I feel like I have “doormat” tattooed on my forehead. Or possibly “naïve”. Normally I am a very patient person, tolerating and forgiving many offenses no matter how often they occur. However, when I feel as though my children are being threatened, my patience and tolerance ends instantly. Do what you will to me, but do not put my children in any kind of danger, whether it is immediate or latent.
Perhaps my recent struggle with this fruit is because I feel as though I am expected to tolerate interference into my children’s personal lives and development. I do not believe that is something that should be tolerated or indulged. When it comes to my children and their emotional and social well-being, my children come first and virtual strangers come nowhere. That’s probably not something I should admit to because it seems terribly uncharitable, but there it is. My family comes before people who just want to get what they can from us by any means they deem necessary. I have tried to be patient and tolerant, while at the same firmly putting my foot down to ensure my children don’t become doormats to those with stronger personalities. It is a fine line though, and one I’m not entirely sure I am keeping my big stomping feet on.
Is there a balance between being firm and tolerant? I’m not sure. As Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV) says,
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens
The time to be silent is gone for now and at this time, in this moment, it is my time to speak. The time to be silent will come again, when this season has passed. I am not going to fly off the handle and burn the world down. But I will be putting my foot down very solidly until this season is over, and only in this situation. The struggle for me is to separate moments and not allow my irritation to spill into other areas of life. Or to allow my irritation to influence how I deal with the situation. I will continue to make a concerted effort to forebear as much as I can, which is a hang of lot, I think.
As for the essential oil I associate with forbearance or patience, I would have to go with Neroli. Also known as orange blossom, Neroli is extracted from the flowers (or blossoms) of the orange tree (Citrus aurantium var. vugaris). It is a delightful combination of fruity and floral and I have always loved the scent. When I feel agitated and impatient, a long deep breath of Neroli calms my nerves and my mind like nothing else can. I can’t explain why and there is no associated memory that fills me with patience and tolerance when I smell Neroli. It is just one of my favourite scents that so happens to help me hold back any rash emotional impulses.