The Promise of Self-Control

IMG_0730Have you ever had one of those days (or in my case, weeks) where being self-controlled is like getting jello to stay on your spoon from the bowl to your mouth?

That was always a cute sight when our kids were little. Moving their little hand without thought from bowl to mouth, the jello jiggled unpredictably, fell off the spoon, plopping to the table. About 3 attempts later, they’d figured out that either they had to focus and move more slowly – or just put their mouth over their bowl, shortening the spoon path.

Being self-controlled – managing our emotions and impulses –  is HARD.

The entirety of each day is unpredictable to us…though not to God. He knows ALL that’s coming. He prepares us and hopes we’ll pursue Him for help, comfort, guidance, protection, strength.

DSC02004When we have those ugly, out-of-control days where we wish for a do-over, self-determination stands strong – to do better, keep-it-together, be a better mom:

I’m not gonna let her get to me.  
...as our toddler or teen whines for that thing we’re not going to give them.

It’ll get done somehow.
..when the washing machine breaks with a full load in it and 3 more to do before we go out of town.

I’m not going to let this get me worked up this time.
when a theme of disobedience has moved into its 2nd month.

I can handle it; only 7 more hours till bedtime.
….after 4 days of rain and being cooped up in the house.

Self-determined, we deal with the surface – whatever presents in the moment, trying to solve, resolve, ignore, suppress. Some days we actually manage our surface emotions and impulses this way – until ONE.MORE.THING happens.

…and we lose it. Emotionally and sometimes behaviorally. Placing blame on the child, circumstance or both. Labeling our self (I’m a horrible mom…), labeling our child (He’s so …).

DSC02005 “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.” (Galatians 5.22-23)

We wear ourselves out trying to generate a trait that God cultivates as we love Him.

Choosing dependence, surrender begins to replace self-determination.
Jesus, her whining is about to do me in. I give you my frustration and exhaustion. Please help me.

Abiding. Practicing being present to God. Makeover Moments where God responds to us as we step closer to Him. Leading us through while molding His traits in the deep places of our heart. Growing fruit.

“Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15.5b)

Jesus, teach and strengthen us to be present to You throughout the day. We want Your traits grown in our hearts. Amen.

4 thoughts on “The Promise of Self-Control

  1. Same quote as Sallie….I don’t have any little ones at home, but that quote still speaks volumes to me, Teresa. No coincidence that I saw it today either. Thanks!

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  2. “We wear ourselves out trying to generate a trait that God cultivates as we love Him.” Brilliant. It’s like going to Home Depot to buy a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk! Such a great reminder to park myself before my Father ~ ALL life flows from there.

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