Monday, April 19, 2010

SELF-CONTROL? WHO, ME?

Knowing this topic was coming along, my brain entered that field — and frustration and fear took over. I'm usually just not so sure that self-control is well exhibited by me, even after all these years of walking with the Lord. MAYBE I can squelch the knee-jerk response to an event or a person that would reveal a true LACK of self-control, but that's not the real godly quality. For instance, when someone cuts in front of me in traffic and I choose to not rear-end them or scream at them, that's not so much self-control as it is trying to remember that my license plate has a God-oriented message and I don't want to embarrass Him [of course].

When I'm fasting, self-control can be a problem. The best way to avoid temptation to momentarily break the fast or make a seriously wrong food choice -- creme brule, for instance, or a pile of M&Ms -- is to not go to any location that has those tempting items. But, that's not true self-control. REAL self-control would be if I went to Panera or Olive Garden or Taco Bell and sat there letting the food be passed by me, their lovely sights and odors encompassing me, and I could look on calmly and sip water. Quite possibly my reaction would be to tackle someone and grab the food as it dropped towards the ground. The safest way to handle this is to sit in my home office, my brain and fingers moving so I can keep myself distracted from those goodies.

My husband and I were lying in bed recently, headed towards sleep, and I brought this topic up. He said, "Well, since I've been out of work, you've had self-control, and not been out shopping for things we don't need. Right?" That's not self-control; that's facing reality. [He's been out of his career-based job for over 1-1/2 years -- only God, through our church and friends and side jobs, has kept us from going under.]

So, honestly, it's easier to try for “others-control” and keep the atmosphere livable and comfortable than it is to deal with the various aspects of self-control. Not that that's a life-style my Heavenly Father would allow me to promote, but, overall, it really IS easier, doncha think?

To see more posts on Self-Control go to blog carnival

10 comments:

Anne Lang Bundy said...

You just would mention all this, Caryjo! I know that true self-control is not avoidance but confrontation. Yes, it is God-centered and not simply finding a more worthy yet self-serving goal.

And I'll even admit that I need your reminders, because I do want genuine self-control.

cristie said...

for me the key to self-control has been a commitment to or understanding of the WHY. then my will and wanting is taken out of the equation and the focus is a much bigger picture.

thanks, this has been fun to think about. ccc

M.L. Gallagher said...

Perhaps... the not eating the M&Ms is an oppotunity to build your self-control muscle so that you can go sit at Taco Bells and not be tempted.

Like faith... always building muscle.

good post. thanks for the thought-sparkers!

Louise

Kevin said...

Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts Caryjo!

caryjo said...

Thanks, gang. I'm tend to be one of those straight-forward sorts, and try to make it a bit humorous, too. YES, I know I have a lot more self-control than I did earlier in my "walk"... but I always "wish" I had more. Like I often say, "Someday I get to go to Heaven..".

Glynn said...

Self-control isn't all a negative thing. It's not only about "not;" it's also about doing things, as you say here. Good post.

Bridget Chumbley said...

Yummm, m&m's. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and making me think, Caryjo.

S. Etole said...

I think we should throw some ice cream and peanut butter into the mix or some hot fudge topping!!!!

caryjo said...

When I'm there the end of May, we absolutely MUST plan for a treat like that. I've been planning that. Just for as much fun as possible. [I think my "fast" will be "past"...]

Jeanne Klaver said...

Oh yes. This is something I'm always working on. Always!