While fruits of the Spirit listed in the Galatians verse include patience and self-control, it also includes forbearance. Forbearance is self-controlled patience in superhuman levels. At least that is how I portray it in my mind. Also known as "longsuffering", it is not only the practice of patience and self-control, but the refusal to act impatient or on impulse.
Guess who is an impatient spur-of-the-moment reactor to most everything? Yep....me. I am quick to retort. Quick to sass. Quick to point out the flaws of others. Quick to give up on the things and people who disappoint me. Impatient. Done.
Since losing Harlynn, however, I've been better able to reign in my reckless reactionary behavior, and give myself a second or two to decide if spouting off in one way or another is going to improve the situation. Most often, it won't. Forbearance, in a nutshell, is turning the other cheek.
To the idiot who cut me off, I might only sigh and shake my head rather than honk my horn and show my tallest finger. To the family member who dropped an egg on the floor, I clean it up for them rather than yell about the mess and the salmonella germs floating on my floor. To the person who says the wrong thing, at the wrong time - especially while trying to be a "friend" in my grief moments - I give them the benefit of the doubt.
It's going beyond biting my tongue. It's showing mercy. Forgiveness. Giving myself grace so I can extend the same to others. God demonstrates forbearance towards us (Romans 3:25). Rather than throttling us, he calls us to repentance.
Forbearance is letting go of my road rage. Smiling and waving rather than yelling and calling names. Letting those who have hurt me see over the walls I've built around my heart. Even letting them in a time or two. Extending grace to those who drive me batty. Finishing 17 more consecutive days of posting my mind mumbles. Longsuffering. Dear gracious. Forbearance is a fruit worth bearing, though I find I have a lot of pruning to do to get there.