As you may recall this past year I decided to forgo the traditional New Year's Resolutions and opted for a one-word goal instead. My word was none other than self-control.
As I have learned these past five months self-control has many aspects and it is more than simply managing our outward attitudes or those potential outbursts of anger. Self-control encompasses a broader spectrum of ideas than we usually consider. It refers to how one handles any range of emotions from the inside be it our response to threat, disciplining our minds and bodies and so forth.
Here's how I've been fairing so far:
Self-control in relationships. By nature I have always despised injustices. I go out of my way to make sure that life is fair when I have the power and control to do so. However, I have realized that God does not ask me to defend myself, he simply asks that I trust Him to do so. God is my defender and as such He has instilled a desire in me not to seek to amend wrongs done to me but rather turn to Him and allow him to amend it in His time. With him on my side, it's easy to trust that vengeance is the Lord's. I have also been able to forgive wrongs immediately rather than linger with an unforgiving heart allowing them to take up roots of bitterness. Although I don't always feel like forgiving, I do it out of obedience. It is like love. We may not always feel like we love someone but we make the choice every day to act on our commitment and not on our emotions.
The following verses have been encouraging me greatly:
Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God's.
-2 Chronicles 20:15 b
Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.
Self-control with my words. Ever since I can remember I have had this "need" to vent with others. The problem with this even though my intentions are not inherently wicked or evil is that when I have a conflict with Person A and I share with Persons B, C, and D how I was wronged I am guilty of gossiping and slandering that person with my words. My role as a woman of God is to speak directly to the person (if and when necessary) or just hand it over to the Lord in prayer and forget about it. I don't need to go on "venting" until I feel better about myself. I can't expect others to play my psychologist; I must trust in my divine healer and counselor. My conviction has been so strong as of lately that my prayer has been to the Lord like the one found in Psalm 141:3 "Set a guard over my mouth, o LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips."
Self-control with my time. The secret to having enough time to do that which we deem important is to spend time with the creator of Heaven and Earth. If I may quote Dr. Charles Stanley, he states simply, "Prayer is life's greatest timesaver." In order to have enough time to do what God requests of us, our priorities must be aligned. When we seek God, he reveals his will to us and molds us to desire that which is pleasing to Him.
In my own life, I have been having a consistent time with the Lord. When I first began working-out at 6:30 am before work, I confess that my time with the Lord was one of the first things to go. After working out and feeling the massive amounts of endorphins giving me that loving feeling, there was little need to seek God. Rather than seek Him on a daily basis, I resorted to dedicating one entire morning before work to Him. On the days that I WODDED (perform the Work Out of the Day), it would suffice to say a quick prayer and do a speedy devotional whenever I could squeeze it in during the day. The problem with that was that I didn't have on my spiritual armor in the morning. I wasn't properly equipped to face the demands of the day. After much prayer, I have seen how the Lord has worked in my life. He has been waking me up in the wee hours to seek His face bright and early. He has also given me a thirst for His word. I spend more time in His word than I ever have. I recognize that without his instructions, I am lost.
Self-control in fitness and health. Back in December of 2010, three co-workers and myself embarked on a new journey to physical fitness. Today it is known as CrossFit. It is the "box" I go to four - five times a week to complete grueling work-outs that push my body to the limit. I hope you will understand when I say that "CrossFit has changed my life." I recognize that God created it for my pleasure and enjoyment. Rather than worshiping that which he created, I worship Him for giving me this opportunity to find something I absolutely love to do which yields countless benefits. As if that weren't good enough, I get to share this hobby with my hubby. He has recently joined in on all the fun and has become a CrossFitter.
In addition to CrossFitting, I have started the Paleo lifestyle. From February to March I was going strong and noticed some positive changes in the way I felt. The story now is a bit different. I've somehow relapsed and resorted to increasing my sugar intake once again, eating the occasional slice of bread and consuming dairy products more avidly (especially cheese). However, a look on my eating habits back in January of this year will prove that I was on a downhill slope to developing diabetes and other chronic illnesses. I was ignorant about dieting and how essential it was for my well-being. After all, isn't my body the temple of God. I want to be as effective for Him while on this Earth then I must be diligent and care for it.
If I could sum it all up with one verse, I would choose 1 Timothy 3:11, "In the same way, their wives must be respected and must not slander others. They must exercise self-control and be faithful in everything they do."
Lord, I thank you for these past five months. I thank you for the way in which you have been molding me, for the power that I have found in your word. Thank you for being so patient, loving and kind with me. You reveal to me that which is not constructive and give me the option to change. You don't force me to do anything. As my loving Father, I am confident that you have the best for me and I choose to obey. I desire to be the woman that you have purposed for me since the very beginning. A woman that exercises self-control in all she does. Many times I have failed. A few times I have succeeded. Despite it all, I am grateful that you have not left me to do this on my own. Thank you for your hand that picks mine up and guides me gently along the best way I should go. May we never cease to do this together. For Your honor and glory.
In Jesus' Name,