>How To Find Your Inner Self-Control

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Are you self-controlled or like a wild horse?

Last night I went to a group meeting for moms at a church I don’t normally attend. I had considered joining the group a couple years ago when we moved here, but decided against it, but when I found out my blogging friend Kristen would be there promoting her Kenyan maternity home, Mercy House, I thought I’d drop by and say hello. I’ll write more about Mercy House, a cause I have been supporting for awhile, later this week. But today I want to reflect on the subject that the evening’s main speaker covered, self-control.

The woman speaking was Lori Joiner, who works for Campus Crusade and apparently also teaches aerobics. She looks like and has the energy of an aerobics instructor for sure. She talked about how important self-control is in the lives of women like us, and pulled out a ton of scripture about it. Lori said that the enemy often encourages us to believe one of two lies:

1. “This is just the way that I am. I’ve always been this way.” She used several specific examples, such as having an anger problem or an over-eating issue. She even brought up that crazy TLC show about the bizarre addictions like the woman that eats detergent or toilet paper. These people often say that’s just the way that they are, but they are consumed in a destructive way by their lack of self-control.

2.”Every other area in my life is great and glorifying to God, so it’s ok if I just let this one little lack of self-control go.” Like when we tell ourselves and God, “I pray, I read the Bible, I volunteer here and there, look how great my life is! It’s not really harming anything if I gossip, or shop too much.”

Self-control is all about the choices we make. The more we make the choice to indulge our temptation, the stronger it gets until we feel helpless to it. Addicted. She used the image of having two dogs inside our heads, the spirit and the flesh, always battling it out. Which dog wins? Well that depends on which dog we feed and which dog we starve. So there are many ways that we can starve that dog that wants us to give into the flesh and have no self-control.

  • Praying offensively, especially at the start of the day. Don’t wait till things happen and you have to react, pray first thing that the Lord would use your eyes, mind, feet to serve Him that day. Pray for victory in whatever area you are struggling with.
  • Fasting. She suggested looking online for resources on the various kinds of fasting that can help you claim victory over temptation. Lori was very encouraging that we should try fasting when we are struggling with self-control. 
  • Memorizing scripture. Particular scriptures that relate specifically to the thing you are wrestling with. 
We had a great time of discussion at my table about our weaknesses and how we might tackle them. Some that came up among the women I sat with were laziness, pride, negative body image and nagging. We agreed that some of these areas where we lack self-control can be really easy for us to hide as SAHM’s. We tell ourselves that we have worked hard and we deserve to sit in front of the TV or internet at night instead of folding the laundry. We agreed that as girlfriends we have a tendency to enable each other in some of these weaknesses, like shopping or skipping the gym. Finding the right person to hold you accountable is also a great way to starve that dog of the flesh as well. 
One verse that really hit me was Psalm 32:9-10.

Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in Him.

So do any of these sound like good ideas to you? If you’re willing maybe you could share an area you’ve either been wrestling with, or one that used to be a problem but you’ve claimed victory over? 

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3 responses to this post.

  1. >Timely post…we do seem to justify our bad behaviors – holding onto them like a child with a blanket. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

  2. >Good analogy. I know I certainly do, I can hear the voice in my head telling me why it's ok to not fight it.

    Reply

  3. >This is some good advice! I laughed at "praying offensively" because it sounds like "praying in a way that offends people"–it reminded me of when I used to work near a street corner where a man was always shouting about how everyone was going to hell–but it is a good point that we should start praying BEFORE things go wrong. Last year I made prayer beads that I carry in my coat pocket so that, every time I'm walking someplace and jam my hands into my pockets, I'm reminded to pray. It helps so much.One of my weirdest little victories has been over the snooze button! I thought that needing time in my schedule to allow for not getting up with the first alarm was "just the way I am," but I realized I could change, and I did! It's so tempting to slide back, though….

    Reply

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