Self-control, why is it so hard?

Do you have it? Or does it have you?

The word self control and it’s character attribute is found in the bible, not just in self help books. So it must have some major importance for us today especially in this age of ‘do what I want as loud as I want’ mentality . Self-control is last in the line of the 9 fruits of God’s Spirit which are found in the bible book of Galatians chapter 5 verses 22-23?

Yep, it’s the last one behind Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness and Gentleness; then there’s good old self-control bringing up the rear. This section of scripture speaks straight to the readers heart and soul. It tells us that these 9 attributes of God are things we would do well emulating in our own lives. It tells us that ‘against such things there is no law’. Self-control isn’t least in importance of the 9, I believe it’s just probably the hardest one to learn and apply in our lives. I believe God knew that so his word is there to help us and not condemn us.

Self-control is a very admirable quality in any person. Used in love, it is a very respectable trait. To be self controlled means: restraint exercised over one’s own impulses, emotions, or desires. Wow!

This kind of restraint could mean anything from only eating 2 donuts instead of 4 ( or an apple instead of said donut), taking a deep breath and smiling instead of blurting out the first thing that comes to your mouth or to your typing fingers! Or even a ‘biggy’ like following a budget, a to- do list, keeping a promise or staying on track to achieve a goal or a dream. There are also other hard core temptations and laws that we could mention from the scriptures where self-control needs to be exercised such as the Ten Commandments found in the bible book of Exodus chapter 20.

How does self-control apply to me?

Instead of talking about the ‘big ‘commandments 10’, let’s consider the every day moment by moment use of self-control or the lack of. When we think of self-control, we also think of it’s word partners; self-discipline, self-mastery, obedience and focus. Many of us automatically cringe at all of these words because we may not be consistently good at any of them. I’m sure not! But I’m not a quitter, so I work on self-control and focus daily….hourly, okay, some days it’s moment by moment! Do you ever have to do that ?

My 3 grown kids lovingly say I have the worst case of un-diagnosed ADHD. They say I chase squirrels, I go in circles and I have too many things going on at the same time! HA! I laugh at their words! I just say I have a bunch of energy and a long lists of things I want to do! You see, the world inside my head is very large and colorful. Now these kids could be right, maybe there isn’t much self-control in my working structure but I sure do get a lot of things accomplished in this life and I’m not done yet! However, the lack of self-control or lack of focus can be truly debilitating to some but a mere inconvenience to others. I’m in the later category.

Here’s how I try to incorporate daily self-control?

  1. I don’t take myself too seriously, I laugh a lot at myself!
  2. I let others laugh with me too.
  3. In my early morning prayers, I ask God to show my heart what needs to be done in the order of importance. I also ask God “what can do for You today LORD?”
  4. I write out lists (and try to remember to read them) and scratch things off as I accomplish them.
  5. Through out the day, I stop a few minutes and just look around at all the beauty in nature and in life, this slows my brain down.
  6. I’m trying not to push myself too hard physically but I’m not real good with that one yet. I tend to keep going until it’s time for bed…I’ll get better…but this is all a work in progress, right?.
  7. I casually talk to God through out the day as I would a work partner. This friendly connection brings me back into focus. 1st Thessalonians 5:17 is the shortest verse with the biggest message, “Pray Continually.” So I do!

Practicing self-control, discipline and focus can be hard to incorporate into a daily personal habit but they are worth working towards on a daily basis,

We are never too old to build stronger, more joyful character. Studying on the fruits of God’s Spirit (Galatians 5; 22-23) will add positively to our strength of character. Reading, learning and applying these traits daily to our lives is the greatest gift we can give to ourselves and to others. “LOVE, JOY , PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, and SELF-CONTROL, against such things there is no law!”

Until next time, remember, Don’t Die Before You’re Dead

Sister Cynthia

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