a word about self-control

Self-control.

Probably one of the things I remind my kids about most… right behind using kind words.

Also, one of the things I struggle the most with.

I grew up singing the “fruits of the Spirit” song at church camp.  I know them all…

Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control.

Funny how self-control comes last on the list, and is the one I’ve been misinterpreting most of my life.  Well, really until this morning.

🙂

You see, when I am overwhelmed by the sheer number of tasks I have lined up to do, and have the prospect of more on the horizon, I tend to feel a loss of control.  Like, I can’t dictate what’s going to pop up next in my life (example, my daughter’s arm, broken in gymnastics 2 weeks ago!).  When times like this happen, (and really, most of life is like this, isn’t it?)  I overcompensate in other areas to exercise the control I feel I have lost.

While my family and friends definitely feels the effect of all of this, I tend to be hardest on myself.  My biggest problem is food.

You see, I KNOW what I can and cannot eat that will make my body feel good.  A recent experimentation has revealed that my body actually has several intolerances to foods that I was unaware of in the past.  I figured it was just my lot in life to have stomach trouble.  Now that I’ve realized what to avoid to avoid the trouble, things have been much nicer!  However, when I get in these overwhelmed, out-of-control type situations, I will blow caution to the wind and eat things I know I shouldn’t.  Then, I feel physically bad, which leads to a sense of guilt over my lack of control, which makes me feel even more overwhelmed, blah blah blah.

This morning, the verses I read during my quiet time really had nothing to do with self-control.  However, as I was praying, I confessed that I’ve had a lack of self-control, and that it has led to some negative consequences.

Then,

BOOM.

Just like that, I realized (well, the Spirit revealed to me) that I’ve been totally wrong in my approach to self-control.

I am to have self-control OF myself, but I’m not meant to do it BY myself.

I mean, this may not be new to you, and really, it shouldn’t be new to me.  But sometimes truth stays hidden in the shadow until you realize you can’t create truth on your own, and you humbly confess that you need help.  This truth has always been there, I just didn’t want to see it.

Why?

Because, it means I can’t do it on my own!  A lack of control!!  Aggghhhhhh!!!

But, I think I’m okay with it.

 

But the fruit of the Spirit (not, “the fruit of my own efforts”) is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23

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