BY LEANN DILBECK –
Impulsiveness, greed, and tantrums, along with many of their other all too common cousins, can be fierce warriors on the battlefield in learning the value of “self-control.” Why do some people have more of it than others? Is it a personality trait? Is it a learned behavior achieved only through due diligence and effort? Is there a drive-thru lane to get it on your way through to your next destination in life?
Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit [Galatians 5:22-23] that can be one of the most empowering tools in navigating life. Whether you’re wanting to lose weight, beat an addiction, learn to control your temper, or stop impulse shopping… it is all done through developing self-control.
We’ve all experienced those moments, when you’re rocking along and without warning, someone or some circumstance plows through your happy. Let’s be completely honest – self-control is not the emotion that is evoked. You feel provoked and then justified to react either with words or actions. And that eventually leads to regret, hurt relationships, or feeling defeated. What’s the secret to dealing with all of those raw emotions? Is it possible to make them work for us instead of against us?
I highly recommend the book UNGLUED by Lysa Terkeurst. In it, she divides people into two groups: “Stuffers” and “Exploders.” Right about now, you are placing yourself and your family members in one of those categories, aren’t you? If you “stuff,” you eventually “explode” – either internally or externally.
The good news is that it is possible to learn what your “reactors” are and then through learning self-control, you find there are ways to be honest, but yet kind, when you are offended. The good news is that you can identify your “triggers” that cause you to shop or eat/drink, and with hard work and self-control, you learn how empowering it is to make the conscious decision to exercise self-discipline and tell your own self “no.” The good news is that you do not have to do it within your own strength but through the power of the Holy Spirit … It is at that moment that you discover you’re at your strongest when you humble yourself on your knees before the Lord, admitting you can’t do it without Him.
It truly is an easier feat for some than others but the closer your relationship with the Lord becomes, each of the Spirit’s fruits become more evident in your day-to-day life. Is it always easy? Absolutely not! Is it scary? Sometimes! 2 Timothy 1:7 reminds us that God has equipped us if we seek Him. The longer and more intensely we seek Him … the fruits grow and multiply until it is not as difficult of a struggle to maintain. You can’t control others but you can control how you react to them or hard issues. There is a tremendous witness to be revealed when we seek to obey God in the midst of challenging circumstances!
All for His Glory!