I first heard this quote about a year ago – it has flitted in and out of my mind since.
Yesterday it settled for a while.
There is much to be said, but for now, I’ll just leave it here.
I first heard this quote about a year ago – it has flitted in and out of my mind since.
Yesterday it settled for a while.
There is much to be said, but for now, I’ll just leave it here.
So, we are home from our few days away. Now, I’m sure you have been waiting with baited breath, I’m writing now to assure you that the wait is over!
The gift and card arrived.
And both exceeded all expectations!
The card from: Cachiko (bamboo classifies as wood)
The gift from: ArtsyVoiceprint The voiceprint of the song that played as I walked down the aisle. It comes with QRcode, so you can scan and listen to the song. This gift works really well when your significant other teaches physics.
* Note to future self: amazing brainwave/gift ideas must form/occur sooner.
In less than 48 hours (I can’t do the math – you know this about me) we will be celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary.
The Hallmark site gives some very handy tips for those about to celebrate an anniversary for example, how to write in a card and how to wrap a present! Now these tips are all well and good, if the card and the present are present. Alas, they are not.
I would like to take this moment to point out that, what the Hallmark site has neglected to do is provide the necessary advice for when the amazing gift one has organised, that is not only beautifully reminiscent of the wedding day, but also meets the requirements of the traditional gift, and furthermore is suitably personalised so as to make it original, and so incredibly thoughtfully selected that it also meets the requirements of no fewer than two love languages “gift giving” and “quality time” maybe even “words of affirmation” — doesn’t arrive on time.
To my husband reading this right now, I know what you’re going to say: I don’t need a gift I have you. And we both know that’s exactly why you do need a gift. Yes, you do – the “having” of me to which you refer, definitely qualifies you for multiple gifts as I’m quite possibly not exactly the catch you herald me as being … you have most certainly earned a gift or two. (Though maybe not the tractor you wish for – give that a few more years.)
I’m going to be honest, the “back up present for when the real present doesn’t arrive” is kind of disappointing, so in addition to that, I’ll give you some words. Yes, these words are arriving a day or so in advance, and even as I do this, I am holding out hope that the gift and card will somehow speed through customs and arrive. Though, in hindsight I’m now a little worried that I may have over described the amazingness of the gift, and built it up to be so impressive, that when it arrives it will be a disappointment. (See folks, I am a real treat to live with!)
We, he and I, have come a long way over the past five years, and we’ve certainly weathered a few storms. We’ve dealt with more opposition than most people have to over the course of their marriage. We’ve both been refined to the point that we might be different people to the ones who stood under that tree 5 years ago and made those declarations in the presence of our God, our family and our friends.
We weren’t naive really – we knew we’d face some challenges but maybe we didn’t consider just how many of them would come our way or in what a quick succession they would present themselves. We can be thankful that those challenges, while designed to drive a wedge between us, were used by our God to strengthen our faith in Him and to solidify and strengthen our relationship with each other.
So, husband of mine, let me give you a quick summary of my perspective of the past five years:
You continue to be the most patient man I know,
the most generous,
the most easy-going (sometimes frustratingly so),
the most caring man I know.
To me, you are, the best of men.
Happy Anniversary, sorry my most magnificent gift probably will not arrive on time 😦
All my love to you, in the words of Don Maclean… And I Love You So …
NB: You have never attempted to curb my shoe buying – but rather you have encouraged it (enabled it).
Today’s thoughts relate to a particular message I heard several weeks ago … it is one I have spent time pondering before, and it is one I continue to grapple with.
“And lest I should be exalted above measure … a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.”
II Corinthians 12:7
The concept of a thorn in the flesh – presents a number of ideas to me. A thorn is painful, one that has broken off is even more painful than one that has been removed. Even once removed there is a sensitivity that remains for some time afterwards.
I would say for a number of years I have contemplated this verse and wondered; what does it mean? What classifies as a thorn?
For Paul, the thorn is “a messenger …. sent to buffet me lest I be exalted above measure”. The definition of buffet is interesting to read too..
For me it is clear, that the thorn is something more than a minor disturbance. It’s not a flat tyre, it’s not struggling to find a car park, it’s not accidentally leaving your lunch/wallet/phone at home and it’s not a traffic jam on the way to work. Neither is it a difficulty that has entered your life as a result of a poor choice or a bad decision or an act of disobedience against God. It is something that afflicts you, once again look at the definition- it is a very strong word. It is something that you, yourself, can not remove. It is difficult to categorise because for different people it will come in different forms, it might be an illness, a financial issue, relationship, or any number of other circumstances, concerns or situations. It is something that is persistently pestering, and bothering you.
The thought that I heard expressed was, often we ask God to remove these troubles and difficulties that we consider to be a thorn in our flesh, from our lives, but sometimes, more often than not, they remain.
In 2 Corinthians, Paul’s explanation as to why the thorn remains in his life is clear. It is there to serve a purpose and that purpose is to prevent him from becoming exalted above measure.
The thorns are there because their presence is designed to bring about a greater Christlikeness in our lives.
Perhaps the thorn is there to remind you of your propensity to; move in pride, to be selfish, to try to move independently of God. I know my thorn is there to draw me closer to God. My nature tends towards independence and yet I find myself in a life where much of what occurs, far exceeds my realm of control. Perhaps I have previously been unresponsive to God’s desire to remove this from my life, heart and mind and this now is the most effective way to capture my attention. Perhaps the same could be said of you.
God whispers to us, in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains; it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.
The thorn I contend with in my life with some regularity (or tedious monotony) stops me from heading back to my life of independence. The thorn is there to prevent me from deciding that God is there as my back up guy when I can’t handle things myself. Through the existence of this thorn in my life, I am reminded, time and time again, that God’s purpose for me may not be the same as my own.
It’s not incredibly deep or insightful today and I’m sure that many of you have learned this lesson long ago. With some of these things I’m a little slow. I need to feel that thorn, to remind me of who I am.
The conclusion I reached a few weeks ago is that if God at any point wants the thorn to be removed, He’ll do it. He isn’t, as my behaviour has suggested up to this point, waiting for me to come up with the perfect, fool-proof, equitable and sustainable solution to the thorn removal. He’s waiting for me to lean further in, to wait on Him, to trust in Him more, to rely on Him more completely and to be less exalted in myself and in my own thinking.
If it never changes, then Paul is very clear about the reason for that – it is for my good and at the end of the day, it is to prevent me from becoming someone I am not meant to be.
In the meantime, when you feel that you are being buffeted and I know some of you are — don’t give up, continue to pray about the thorn in your flesh. God knows it is there, He’s allowing it to remain. Pray that He will use it to bring about the change that it is meant to achieve.
I do love teaching, sometimes I think it is an odd career path for an introvert, but there is a significant number of us out there.
It’s week one, day three, back at school, and I am very tired. I love that, in Australia, week one of the school year usually contains a public holiday. I love this because, part way through week one, I need it.
Week one, I tend to become more extroverted in the classroom. I won’t say I become an extrovert but certainly more extroverted. For each new class I meet, I seem to subconsciously to some extent take on the role of an extrovert.
The real strain for me though is that I have just come off 6 weeks of very selective socialising and as a high school teacher, I have commenced this crazy week in which I meet 20 or more new people every 40-80 mins for 2-3 days in a row. This requires a great deal of energy.
I was thinking through this, this afternoon and an excerpt from “Quiet”(below) came to mind.
Possibly the similarities are superficial, obviously, I rarely receive a standing ovation at the end of a lesson , or more honestly, never receive a standing ovation at the end of a lesson. Although the students do stand up, and then leave … maybe it is an ovation? I guess we’ll never know. But what I like about this excerpt and chapter from which it is taken, is that it told me it’s okay to extrovert when I need to, and return to being an introvert when I don’t need to extrovert. This was very important for me because I couldn’t understand how I could be what felt to me, two very different people. This chapter was very important to me, the introvert, the teacher.
After reading the particular chapter I discovered the importance of a “restorative niche“. I also discovered that it is okay, if I have been “extrovert-ing” for most of the day that I have my required 10-30 mins without conversation when I get home. Not only is this okay with me, it’s also okay with my people. 🙂
It’s a short post this time.
Introverts, if you still haven’t read “Quiet”, please, please do.
It will change the way you feel about yourself, it will change the way you view yourself, it is revolutionary.
Also, today (edit – actually yesterday the 24th) is (was) the fifth anniversary of “Quiet”.
You owe it to yourself.
Last year I attempted to make it a weekly practice in my form class to be grateful.
We ended up engaging in Thankful Thursday. It was successful to some extent. At the very least it reduced the amount of complaining the group of 14-15 year olds did. All of the class members had a journal to write in and most Thursdays we remembered to do it. To begin with a number of the students struggled to write anything down, some weeks we’d watch a clip from World Vision, or Compassion to help remind them of what they had compared to others. At the end of the year it was almost a habit, they seemed to enjoy Thankful Thursday and I think they quite enjoyed the alliteration as well…maybe that was just me.
This morning, I went to the shops and joined the queue of parents buying school supplies. I reached the checkout I placed the items I was going to purchase, plus the 20+ journals for my form class this year, on the counter.
The teenager working at the checkout was a little taken aback at the number of journals.
“I’m a teacher,” I explained. I’d like to think I said it in the way a doctor would say “It’s okay I’m a doctor” as he/she’s about to do an emergency tracheotomy in a restaurant … maybe that only happens in movies.
“Oh,” the perplexed look on his face was replaced by one of relief, “I thought it was a lot of journals!”
“They are for something I’m going to do with one of my classes this year.”
“Oh, so are you a primary or high school teacher?”
“Oh, so which grades?”
“Oh, so all of them…! Is this your first year?”
Let’s pause right here, the rest of the conversation isn’t important here and now … me … in my first year of teaching! I’m not sure if it was my youthful good looks, or the fact that I was smiling about heading back to school that made him reach this conclusion.
I said “Umm, no, my first year was 2001.” I’m assuming based on the shocked look on his face that 2001 was before he was born.
So the journals are going to be thankful journals for my form class. And this here, might just be my first entry – being mistaken for a first year teacher!
Seriously though, gratitude is something I, personally, need to be better at.
Practicing gratitude has been shown to improve health, reduce depression(some good points in this infographic), increase happiness … another side effect might be that I should be more of a pleasure to be around.
Ann Voskamp has written about gratitude in “One Thousand Gifts”.
The word of God tells us:
in every thing give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
The truth is that your life won’t be the same again, neither will that of your kids. You will not be the same. Many of your relationships will change. It is something you will all survive, but you will be different, things will be different. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
For some, the transition is an easy one, for others it is not. For some, the unpleasantness is over quickly, for others it is not. Today I’m talking to the others for whom it is not.
For me, it’s been a few weeks shy of 10 years since I started down this road. A decade, or 70 years in dog years! 😉
I’ve been talking to a few people lately about some of these issues.
Before you read on – I’m obviously not a counsellor, I’m more of an observer.
Having said that, while I’m speaking from my experience, I am not speaking only about my experience. I’m talking about a number of behaviours, some I have witnessed, some I have experienced over the years, some are the experience of friends, and others are the experiences of acquaintances.
I also want to state that this is not coming from a place of bitterness. This for me is about a desire to help those who have found their world torn apart and then find it difficult to find a friendly face or an understanding person. I am noticing that there is a massive lack of empathy from people on the outside of these situations. It’s absolutely true that until you have lived through it you have little appreciation of how difficult it is. And when I say lived through it – I don’t know of too many people who can say it is all behind them. Most of the people I know who have been through this continue to deal with some ongoing issues. These people are some of the strongest, most deeply hurt, and yet most compassionate people I’ve met.
If this is your story, you probably know by now that you will have to deal with an ex-spouse for a number of years to come, especially if you have children, and it will not always be pleasant. Something my counsellor told me very early on was that whatever your relationship was like before separation, will inform how it continues post separation. So if you were the submissive person with an aggressive demanding partner that dynamic will be what your ex-spouse wishes to continue. If your partner was especially materialistic then that’s really going to kick in when the property division comes up, if they have a like-minded new partner — we’re praying for you!! 😉
If you were the one who carried the burden of certain responsibilities, it is unlikely this will change.
If you were married to a selfish person – that is unlikely to get better – it’s more than likely going to get worse.
If you were married to someone who refused to take responsibility for their actions – guess what – that isn’t going to change either.
If you do attempt to change any of these dynamics – which is wise – and you were the submissive partner to a demanding one, you will be met with opposition. You will be met with an escalation of the behaviour that they used in the past to make you do what they wanted.
I think this is doubly true for those who are coming out of a relationship that was possibly one in which they had little to no “power”. If your spouse used to engage in gas lighting — this behaviour will escalate. Maybe they used the silent treatment, unfortunately this doesn’t escalate instead what I’ve seen happen is the person who used to control you with silence tends now to be quick to reach for verbal abuse. Watch for words and phrases like “unfair”, “selfish”, “I’m disappointed”, “childish”, “toxic”, “rude”, “arrogant”, “tantrum thrower”, be on the look out for the times you are responsible for, or the cause of, their behaviour, watch for the times when they have behaved in an inappropriate way because of you. These are fairly good indications that you are dealing with someone who is trying to manipulate you. You need to understand this and see it for what it is. In some cases the reason this happens is that you are dealing with a person whose reality has turned out to be disappointing compared to the dream they pursued.
They may even attempt to head to the moral high ground above you, and then proceed to lecture you on the appropriate ways to behave in your dealings with them or other situations. Based on what I’ve seen, a controlling person in a marriage will attempt to become more controlling outside of it, this seems to be especially true if they are the one whose actions ended the marriage. They may in some cases literally tell you what words to use when responding to them … you can laugh at this point if you wish but I kid you not … this happens. Expect to be treated as though you are a child. Don’t be surprised if you are told to whom you may speak, whom you may and may not see, you may even be instructed about what you are allowed to speak to your own children about. I’ve even heard of a parent being threatened with a restraining order in a desperate attempt to prevent him having a discussion with his own children. (!!) You may also be instructed by your ex-spouse on the appropriate etiquette required in order to deal with them (your ex-spouse).
Wow… writing that list I’m actually thinking how ridiculous it is that an adult would attempt to treat another like this – unfortunately I’m writing this because it happens.
Be aware that if you do not behave in the way you have been instructed to, they may become even more aggressive and demanding.
At this point it’s always a good idea to take a few moments to review the high ground the person is presently attempting to occupy.
Is the ground they are standing on what you would consider to be high?
Do they meet the standards they are telling you that you need to meet?
The answer is rarely yes, perhaps they are giving you parenting advice yet they are a parent who routinely puts their own needs above those of their child/ren. They may even be the parent who walked out of the family home and away from their child/ren in order to pursue “love” or “happiness”. In that case, unless there has been some drastic turn around in behaviour since that point, maybe you don’t have to respond to the “parenting” tips or take the bait.
Another good question for you to consider is, is there any truth in the accusation?
More often than not this baiting is an attempt to regain a position of dominance or power over you that they believe they have the right to occupy.
You can choose not to rise to this bait and ignore it – which is usually the best option. Yes, you do run the risk of them believing you have seen the error of your ways, but so be it. Hang around they’ll be back to point out more of your failings and shortcomings.
If you choose to confront, be aware that they may, at that point, feel that you are attacking them. This often happens when you contradict a lie with the truth – in which case you may then face some name calling or a barrage from a new partner or a family member or a friend maybe with the name calling thrown in for good measure. This usually means that your response has not been one that allowed them to resume their (self) perceived position of power over you.
As I said, the person is unlikely to change, you will simply need to learn to deal with these issues on a day by day or incident by incident basis.
My advice is:
If it matters with regard to your kids – deal with it. If it’s more like an attack on you personally, move on.
Spend some time working out if it matters or not. Write emails but maybe don’t include the person’s address in the “To” spot, if you do hit reply —delete the address, write your email, save it as a draft, come back to it later.
If you have remarried, and they decide to attack your new spouse – ignore it – no matter how much it hurts – it has nothing to do with them. This type of behaviour is an incredibly good sign that whole “discussion” has derailed, this is definitely not worth responding to. It goes without saying that the same applies if their spouse decides to attack your spouse – take a timeout!
If you choose not to respond — it may be perceived as a victory on their part – my advice is, if it makes them happy for now – great! Let them have it, you don’t need to engage in the point scoring behaviour.
If you are a Christian this is for you. There are a few verses that I would like to bring to your attention and hope that you can lock onto them and hunker down there… for now.
There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus …..
If you are living your days in the light of His presence – you need to remember this. You also need to know that the people who are condemning your actions, your words, your behaviour – are not speaking on His behalf. They may, in fact, be speaking on the behalf of the enemy. The truth is the closer you get to God the more opposition you should expect to face. Not really a comforting thought.
My counsellor of several years ago also suggested that when you are faced with accusations either from your ex-spouse or others, pray through the accusations with God – and then ask Him to reveal His thoughts of you from His word.
I’m pretty sure the first one that will come to mind is – there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus….
And finally, if you are – as a good friend of mine is – as a result of these difficulties, reaching out to encourage others to turn to God and lean on Him, you will face opposition, sometimes from surprising sources.
You should expect that the good you are doing will be met with opposition from the enemy of our souls.
Listen to the people who matter…there are some out there.
More importantly than that listen to the One who knows.. the One who knows your heart, the One who has been with you through it all.
This is my prayer for you, that His is the voice you will hear above all of the others.
I’ve been musing a little on what I would like from 2017.
I think the conclusion I’ve reached is that this year, the best I can do for myself, and my nearest and dearest, is to be more like Jesus than I was last year.
This means a number of things:
it means love,
it means mercy,
it means grace,
it means justice,
it means truth,
it means light,
it means life,
it means patience,
it means selflessness,
it means humility,
it means submitting,
it means service,
it means sacrifice.
It means persevering through difficulties,
it means facing trials.
For me, as a wife, a mother, a step mother, a teacher, a friend … (and all the things I am in between) personally,
it will mean biting my tongue,
it will mean speaking up when it’s easier to be silent.
It will mean failing when I forget to rely on Him,
it will mean falling and getting back up again,
it will mean relying on Him rather than myself.
It will mean that my own wisdom is not enough,
it will mean being wrong when I decide that it is.
It will mean humility and awareness to admit the wrong,
it will mean apologising to others,
it will mean forgiveness for myself.
It will mean gratitude when I want to grumble.
It will mean forgiveness when I want to hold a grudge.
It will mean patience when I want to snap.
It will mean joy when despair is close.
It will mean faith in the One who knows what is ahead when I do not.
It will mean stepping out in faith when I want to shrink back.
It will mean using the gifts He’s given me, for His glory.
It will mean seeking His will, rather than my own.
It will mean humility.
In short, it will mean that I must decrease in order that He may increase.
(I posted this on the Facebook page today – then I remembered a number of you don’t do Facebook – so I’m leaving it here for you – it may resonate for one or two of you...)
Dear parents trying to do the grocery shopping, with small children:
It gets better!
Today, I did the grocery shopping with my 13yr old boy. He pushed the trolley for me from start to finish, he loaded the groceries back into the trolley once they were bagged, he unloaded the groceries from the trolley into the boot of the car.
The days of buying a “cheesy-mite” scroll or a finger bun (bribe) from the bakery before heading into the grocery store are done.
The days of; “please just hold onto the trolley”, “look out for the lady”, “please stop leaping onto every post we walk past”, “please stop jumping from black square to black square, you can walk on the white ones too”, “either get in the trolley or stay on the trolley you can’t keep alternating”, “please don’t stick your leg out as we pass people”, “no, we don’t need any kinder surprises today”, “don’t run across in front of people’s trolleys”, are gone.
Today, as we did our grocery shopping I felt a little nostalgic for those days. Days like the one when we somehow lost “wibbly pig” in the freezer section of Coles, the day the boy jumped onto the trolley and I caught it mid flip. The tantrum on the floor of the grocery store when I said “no” to stopping at Donut King on the way out. Which was, coincidentally, the day of my greatest parenting bluff ever as I stepped over him and said “I’m going to count to three and you’d better get up and follow me” … he did … I sighed with relief. (I don’t ever recommend doing that one, I only ever did it once).
Today, he was the consummate grocery shopping professional, well, the trolley did double as transport for him once or twice, it did also do a couple of unnecessary 360s at the end of an aisle or two, and he did make some helpful suggestions that made it into the trolley … (I was weak, hungry and a little nostalgic at the time).
My boy is growing up … I’m still not sure how I feel about it.
Parents of young children, you will look back on those difficult shopping expeditions with some nostalgia. You may even remember them when you have a helpful teenager (not an oxymoron) and you witness someone in the middle of the worst grocery shopping expedition of her/his life. At that point I recommend that you give them a sympathetic smile, tell them to hang in there, it gets better!
In the meantime, you’re making memories… Happy grocery shopping !!!
I guess we all come to a point each year when we look back and assess the year that has been. I think we all have a desire to see where we’ve been, in order to be able to see what impact we have made.
The reason (one of the reasons) why my husband loves to do the mowing is that he can, very clearly, see where he’s been and, I guess, what is yet to be done.
I believe that we all have a drive, on some level, to be able to measure our success. We want a bigger house, a better car, we want our children to be successful, we want promotions, we tear down our barns to build greater ones, we seek to upgrade what we have. I think we desire this because this type of success is measurable, we can look at it and see. Better still, others can look at it and measure our success.
As Christians, our instructions are pretty straight forward… we are to upgrade, we are to build, we are to add to what we have … just not in the way many of us do.
giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.
For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I remember, what seems a life time ago, I was at a New Years Eve get-together with my cousins, I was visiting from out of town. Carloads of teenagers and twenty somethings descended on the home of one of the church families, and we saw the new year in together. It was the end of year 12 for me, the number I’d received in the mail (in those days) wasn’t what I’d wanted, it wasn’t what I was capable of, it was what I’d earned. I was looking at the year ahead without a clue, as to what I was going to do.
Just before the New Year began, one of the guys there gave a short message. It was simple, or at least what I remember of it was simple, he encouraged us to make the passage above our New Year’s resolution, to build on something that mattered. That was twenty three years ago, at the end of each year that message comes back to me.
So maybe, for you, this year hasn’t been one that you’d classify as a raging success …
Maybe you are still carrying the extra 10kg that you had made it your goal to lose this year.
Maybe you are facing another year alone when you’d really hoped and prayed that this would be the year that you’d meet the partner of God’s providing for you.
Maybe you’d hoped and prayed that this year God would reveal His will to you with regard to your purpose in your service of Him… but you still can’t see it.
Maybe this year you missed out on that job you were really hoping for.
Maybe, worse still, this year you lost the job you believed was your way to serve Him.
Maybe your kids are still making choices that break your heart.
Maybe your spouse has broken a promise that has fractured your family, your life, your heart and your home.
Maybe this year, you prayed for the healing of, but lost, a loved one.
Maybe this year, you have a loved one who has received a heartbreaking diagnosis, or maybe it’s you, maybe it’s your heartbreaking diagnosis.
Maybe you still feel that those who are against you massively outnumber those who are for you.
Looking back on your year, compared with year of others, yours is not a successful one. 2016 will not go down in the book of your days as being one of the best.
Maybe you need to look at all of this from a different perspective, as the fox tells the little prince at the end of the story of The Little Prince, it’s the things that are invisible that matter.
It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.
Maybe 2016 saw your faith grow.
Maybe in 2016, to your faith was added virtue,
to your virtue was added knowledge,
to your knowledge, self-control,
to your self-control, perseverance,
to your perseverance, godliness,
to your godliness, brotherly kindness
to your brotherly kindness, love.
Do you know what my friend? None of this fruit is easy to grow and in fact I’ve only ever seen it grow in difficult situations. But once grown – it will not need to be traded in, it will not go out of season, it cannot be taken from you. This fruit while invisible to the eye, creates more fruit, and if you are wise you will ask discerning people you know, if they can see it. If they can, they will no doubt tell you that you are not who you used to be.
So at the end of this year maybe don’t take stock of the stuff you’ve accumulated, or the successes others have praised you for. Instead, maybe read over this passage in 2 Peter 1:5-8, meditate on it, ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to the areas of your life where this fruit has grown and if you’re brave even ask that in the year ahead, He would develop more of that fruit in your life.
From this point on, build on the foundation that matters, and add to the things that matter …
… faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love.
For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.