Our patience week has passed. I heard from many of you that the topic of patience certainly brought forth challenges for us to see things in a different light, to WAIT because it's okay to wait, and to ask for help from our Heavenly Father when our patience is wanning.
The fruit this week is also incredibly challenging for me - self control. Those two words, in many of my situations, seem like oxymorons. Self and Control?? There are many times in my life where I WANT the benefits of a little self control, but the "will power" seems to elude me.
I should have more control on the good thoughts I think about. I should have more control on the words that come out of my mouth. I should have more control about my time with my Lord. I should have more control on balancing work and life. I should have more control on my "control" of situations and others. Yes, all of those are very true statements that I work on every day of my life. Yet, the one self control that seems to be my largest struggle is my control of food!! Please, dear friends, tell me you share some of the same struggles with self control that I do - maybe you have self control issues all your own. I believe this fruit - out of all of them - seems to be the one that is most difficult in my life. I don't want it to be that way - and I am working hard to push past that. I can hear some of you now, "Susan what are you talkin' about?" Let me explain.
Love, joy, gentleness, patience, etc, many of them are the essence of having our heart, souls, and minds in control to align with God's precious characteristics. All of these fruits are a direct example and reflection of how Jesus lived His life here on earth. These are our many "takeaways" of what He taught us when He was here. God left us with the Holy Spirit to bring these charateristics inside of us, to hold on to and to share. It is our self-reflective duty to control ourselves in a manner that is pleasing to God.
When I think of my weight struggle (and blessings to all of you who have had to put up with me and my weight journey), I think of the many times that I put something in my mouth that I knew wasn't healthy for me, or didn't get outside and walk or exercise like I should have done, or . . . . yes, the list is long. I know what to do - it's doing it that counts. I could go on and on with this subject, but I know that I am not alone here and that whether it is food, or alcohol, or drugs, or a myriad of other things, we all are challenged with a level of self-control. There is a verse that I have memorized, that means so much to me: "I have the right to do anything, but not everything is beneficial." (1 Corinthians 10:23) I love this verse because it reminds me of the gift God gave us of free will. Yes, we can and are able to do anything, but is it beneficial to us? Yes, I have the ability to down that great donut, but is it beneficial to me? Yes, I can enjoy an ice cream, but is it beneficial to me? I can put anything into that sentence and realize that it is my ability to control THIS situation, this situation with ME, that will yield the best results. Yet, if any of us think we can do this all on our own - we are sorely mistaken.
No, it is not MY will power that I need to rely on (we've already seen how that turns out). It is GOD'S power that I need to rely on in ALL circumstances. Before I put that donut in, why not say a reflective prayer to God to ask for help. Before I "gorge" myself when I'm not even hungry, why not ask God to be with me and help me to make the RIGHT choice. There are numerous times when I have made a poor choice and have asked God to "fix" it - yes, I ate that donut, but please help the scale to reflect something different? HELLO - He was there all along. I should have asked Him for the power not to eat the donut.
Do you think God is too large or too busy to listen to all of our small requests? My friends, we have a wonderful and amazing God. God is never too busy, never too far away to hear from you. Yes, I could go on forever about the fruit of self control. We have this one!! We can do the things that GOD wants us to do and control not only the difficult things in our life, but also to have control over the good things - time with God, time with family, good deeds, patience, etc. Yes, we can have control because we have God. Spend some time with him in prayer, asking for the self control in whatever you are looking for. He is there, waiting to hear from you. May you have a blessed week!!
Heavenly and gracious father, please be with all of us as we struggle with different areas of self control. Provide each person reading this the ability to go to YOU in times of struggle and know that YOU are always with us. May we reach out to others who may need our help, and keep the devil away from our poor choices. Thanks and praises to you, God. Amen