Self Control-Way underrated

I must give credit where credit is due, as my sister began talking about self-control which got me thinking about this topic in more depth.

Don’t get me wrong, I have often thought about self-control but will be the first to admit that I have erroneously applied self-control in my life. My parents are not known for their self-control. The lack in this area created quite a bit of havoc in my life growing up. I came out of that with the belief that a lack of self-control equaled weakness. Unfortunately, not the right kind of weakness. I didn’t see it as an opportunity for God to be strong in our weakness but instead as a personality and character flaw that one chooses. It was a choice to not have self-control and as such I would never be that weak and I would chose to be strong enough to have self-control.

This is what largely drove me through my college years. This is what drove me to literally have no food or only 1 box of dry Cherrios to eat from for 3 days because I would have the self-control over my hunger to wait until pay day to buy food. I would also have the pride to not ask anyone for help but that is a different post. I would be in severe pain from a headache but I would have the self-control to handle the pain and would refuse to take medicine as that would have demonstrate a weakness in my character as well as a propensity to be like my parents. I could go on.

Here is the catch! We ARE to have self-control. It is a fruit of the Spirit. However, as with all things of the Spirit, the heart and it’s motivations are of paramount importance. I didn’t have the right motivation for my “self-control”. It wasn’t motivated out of giving God glory and learning more about Him. It was motivated out of fear and a reliance on self.

Self-control in America seems to be a thing of the past. Commercials, credit cards, media, fast food, etc. all push us towards the idea that whatever we want, we “deserve” and therefore, we should get it immediately.

Here is what my sister brought up that I thought was a wonderful insight. If we don’t teach people to have self control over the simple things like what they eat, whether they take pain medication immediately for a headache, or how to not spend money they don’t have via credit cards, then how can we expect them to have self control over their sexual life, their thought life, their motivations, and their sin?

This thought reminds me Luke 16:10 where God says that if you aren’t faithful in the little things, you won’t be faithful in the big things. If you don’t have self-control in the little things, how can you have self-control in the big things? It is a learned behavior/skill that has to be practiced and grow with usage.

I have seen how this process of NOT learning self-control can have a detrimental effect on someone and the lives of their family. My father is currently in jail because he didn’t chose to learn self-control. Looking back, I see all the little things he never required himself to have control over i.e. the food he ate, the things he bought, his words, etc. and he was therefore never able to cultivate an attitude of self- control and he and his whole family are paying for that.

My prayer is that I would cultivate an attitude of self-control. Not for the sake of self-righteousness, not to show up my father, but with the desire to honor God and be able to support my husband, and give my children a good example.

 

 

 

Confessions of a Christmas hater

So it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas…. bah humbug!

I don’t like Christmas. Yes, I like Jesus. I could go either way on celebrating this holiday or just skipping it. Celebrating the birth of Jesus is neither mandated or prohibited.  However,  I choose to acknowledge and put effort into it this year.

See, I don’t like Christmas because of how it was celebrated in our house growing up. It was usually celebrated with a screaming match between my parents, multiple arguments about money, my mom explaining why the gift she was given wasn’t what she wanted, and being told that where I had placed the ornaments on the tree were in the wrong place because there were to many blue next to each other, etc.

Our oldest is 3 years old this year. He remembers what was on his grandparents Christmas tree last year. He understands the concept of presents and he loves to do things with us and help us. I want to redeem this holiday in my memories and create wonderful memories in my children. I want Christmas to become a time of family unity and joy.

Tonight, we decorated the Christmas tree. He was so excited about putting the ornaments on the tree. The bottom of the tree is rather heavy on ornaments. 🙂 I let him put them wherever he wanted. My husband was holding our 19 month old and letting her help put ornaments on the top.

A new and good memory of Christmas for me to focus on and a new and good memory for my son and husband.

It’s a good life.

 

Great spiritual revelation…. or not?

Several people have asked Jason and I this question: “What spiritual lesson or revelation has God given you through the snakebite incident?” I find it to be a very interesting question. Does the question stem from an assumption that the purpose of the snakebite was to show us a spiritual lesson or revelation or from the idea that God always has a spiritual lesson or revelation to give us in difficult circumstances? I don’t know. Whatever the reason for the question, no I didn’t think to ask this of the questioners at the time, Jason and I were both rather blank on the answer. To this day, I still can’t tell you what great spiritual revelation or lesson it is that we have received from this event.

What I do know is that God showed Himself to be merciful, faithful, providential, and caring. He has provided where no provision was, He has sustained us through this time and the continuing on of the unknown as Jason heals. These are all things that God has always been to us. Oh sure, sometimes we forget and God needs to remind us. Had we forgotten at the time? I don’t think so but frankly that was 4 months ago. Maybe this is to help us build even more trust for something in the future. Is that what we were supposed to learn or be reminded of? Or is there a piece of the puzzle that we are still missing and waiting on?