We are taught that God is in control, and though true, He has tasked us to be in control of something very important.
Yet “Self-Control” isn’t always easy.
My dad can do just about anything. He is a 6’6″ athlete who used to bale hay on a farm the old school way, knows how to invent and build things from scratch, and isn’t afraid of hard conversations and hard labor. He’s the kind of guy whose name would be something like “Hammer”…which it is.
When I was around 18, and not a Christian, I lived with a dangerous man and Hammer absolutely hated it. (huh, I wonder why?) One day, without my knowledge, he got in his truck and was on his way to where I was living to pack me up and take me home. On the route God spoke to Him and said “Do YOU want to take care of this? Or do you want ME to take care of this?” My Dad literally took his hands off of the wheel and said “You are in control Father. I trust you with my daughter.”
He turned around and went home.
Now if he had shown up to the house that night he could have solved just about any problem that may have arose, except one, he couldn’t have solved the problems of my heart. In all his human strength and abilities, my dad humbled himself and gave the wheel to Father God.
Some may call this being naive, some may call it obedience, but I think it’s the perfect example of self-control.
I can’t imagine he would have ever thought that he would use self-control in that way on that day. To pull back all the emotions and self-assurances and decide to not step in must have been very difficult. My dad didn’t know that it would be 7 more years before I would have a life changing encounter with God. What he did know is that God’s plan to meet me on His own terms was what I needed the most. My dad knew enough about himself and about God, to yield.
I want to be in control of myself like that. I want to be able to hear God’s pressing whisper on my spirit and yield to a better plan even if it means I have to wait 7 years to see the fruit of His promises.
Since becoming a Christian I have been on my own journey of learning self-control. Each day I hope to guard my words and actions and foster a quiet peaceful mind so I can hear God move. I fail, a lot… but when my dad finally told me this story a few years ago I was so encouraged. His story reminded me what years of practicing self-control can do for other people. His decision to turn around, though one of the hardest decisions he has ever made, had an eternal impact on my life. God met me when I was ready and when I needed a miracle the most.
But that’s another story. 🙂
In starting this “self control journey”, it might be helpful to start by writing down the truth of who you are in God. These truths help as we learn more about our inner-workings. The journey is a vulnerable one, and at times we may find ourselves needing to reconcile with our self, God and others. God is a gentle teacher though, so trust Him as He guides you. Find a mentor who you can be honest with and talk through things that come up in your journey. Because self-control can’t happen without self-discovery. Let’s pray for each other as we all dig a bit deeper into learning more about what is ours to control, and as we learn which things to hold onto tightly and which things to let go. And let’s joyously celebrate the times when we succeed in showing self-control. It’s often easier to remember all the ways we have messed up… but let’s be reminded of the times when we chose to turn around and drive the other way…even though nobody knew but God.
(…and then let’s check back in 7 years from now and tell some great stories to each other)