* Please note this is a series! If you would like to start from the beginning (it is a little cumulative though not completely), please click on “Stinkin’ Thinkin” Makeover” under the header above!
Let’s review a bit before we move on today…
We’re exhausted because we are constantly accessible and we overschedule ourselves. This exhaustion leads to a host of stinkin’ thinkin’ but often the root of it all can be traced back to the fact that we’ve forgotten who we are in His eyes.
And once that happens, sisters, we are vulnerable and can easily hop on a downward spiral through hell wearing gasoline panties.
We struggle with not only who we are but what we are supposed to do while here on this earth. Sure, we’re supposed to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves but how can we also use our strengths to serve in what keeps us up at night?
For the past two years, God has led me to a word He wants me to focus upon for the upcoming year. Last year, it was “obedience”. It was a whopper of a year, let me tell you, but He sure did teach me about His sovereignty.
This year, after much prayer, I felt led to “self-control.”
The more I prayed over this, the more I realized that it wasn’t so much about stopping after four Hershey Kisses with Almonds instead of sixteen. (I have a “friend” who eats this much at one time. For shame…) It also wasn’t about daily exercise or going to bed early (though those are “surface” components of self-control.)
It’s about a whole lot more with consequences I had never seen until I began to really focus on self-control through prayer.
Here’s a snippet of what I wrote earlier this year:
If I want to eat it, I do.
If I don’t want to exercise, I don’t.
If I like the cute scarf I see at Target, I buy it.
If I want to have another glass of wine, I have one.
If I want a snack at 10 p.m., I eat one.
If I have a stinkin’ thought, I let it’s tentacles root throughout my soul instead of holding it captive.
See the pattern? There are really no limits.
But why do I feel the need to limit? Isn’t it all about comfort and satisfaction?
Ten years ago, I would have answered “yes”.
I didn’t know much about this Jesus character and God was just this being that existed only when I needed Him to help out a little bit.
But life took over and I started to get to know Him a bit better. I began to walk deeper and He slowly began revealing qualities that needed refinement.
And then He took me to Ghana.
Ghana was the brightest and most jolting part of a year I wasn’t so sad to see leave this past January 1.
For the first time, my eyes were opened to the fact that we really AREN’T necessarily supposed to be comfortable 24 hours a day.
Long lines in stifiling heat? The Ghanaians were laughing and talking with one another. They made new friends. The heat, well, it’s not fun but it’s just part of life, you know?
No one grumbled. No one complained and wondered what was taking so long. No one stared at their watch and rolled their eyes.
Feeling hungry but no access to food at the moment? It’ll go away soon and you’ll eventually eat.
Want to buy something that will end up at Goodwill next year or do you want to be a responsible steward of God’s money?
While obedience and pride and humility go hand-in-hand, self-control is the glue that holds it together.
Recently, I did some reading on the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. AND SELF-CONTROL.
I can’t remember where I read it, but the author stated that self-control is listed as the last fruit because it’s impossible to attain self-control without the presence of the former eight.
I’m beginning to think that God doesn’t give easy assignments. And this is actually a good thing.
Easy doesn’t move me. It usually keeps me right where I am.
And if I stay right where I am and I don’t move? Then I’m complacent and my thoughts begin to stink. I fail to use self-control and I gain weight so I feel bad about my appearance. I fail to use self-control and I am careless with my words and hurt someone. I fail to use self-control and I have a nasty headache the next day.
My thoughts begin to stink and it’s at my own hand.
So I pay attention to the self-control thing, yes, but the antidote to stop the train of negativity is His grace. His new mercies that are freely given each day. In fact, really, each moment.
And it’s more than sufficient.
What about you? What is the area that’s the hardest for you to use self-control? Does it make your thoughts stink? Talk to me in the comment section!