Wednesday, January 21, 2009

self control: first thoughts, part 1, etc

i've been thinking a lot about discipline lately (mainly, the major lack of it that i'm seeing in multiple areas of my life). oddly, both my Bible reading (1 Tim 4) and our youth Wed night study (also 1 Tim 4) have centered on this topic this week, reminding me once again that God is really trying to get this through my thick skull. however, today, this thought took a new twist while i was having coffee with a friend this morning.

i don't remember exactly how the conversation started, but somehow we got to talking about self control, and all of the sudden, the light bulb popped on in my head. discipline. self control. duh. fruit of the spirit. hello!

i get so bent on doing it all on my own, on winning, succeeding, being the best, etc, and i tend to forget that what it all really boils down to is trusting God to bring about these things in my life that i can't seem to create or muster up on my own.

like self control. controlling my words, my thoughts, my actions, my impulses--making wise choices, planning ahead, evaluating and moving forward, discipline. all things i need, and want, and yet don't always feel motivated to work towards.

i'm realizing that i want the microwave version of things. or, whether that's what i really want or not, that's what i tend to settle for. over and over. regardless of the consequences or bad taste or whatever. it's easy. it's fast. it's there.

but it's not what i really want. not deep down inside. it's a short cut, and it's just not as good. fast food, microwaveable spirituality.

sounds about as appealing as a hot pocket...

but the discipline to wait for and work towards what i really want is harder than i'd like it to be. it's too easy to just take the short cuts, but i'm realizing more and more that it's not only not worth it now, but definitely not in the long run. and yet i'm so used to doing it, it's turning out to be a very hard habit to break.

so how do you retrain yourself? to learn to long and desire and wrestle with waiting and working for what you really want, not settling for imitations along the way? i'm thinking this is a lost art in my life/our generation, where we're so used to just getting things our way, right now. period.


i've seen the ugliness of this a lot lately, in myself and others. i have to have things my way, when i want, how i want, at the expense of others. we call it independence or rights or personal preference. the Bible calls it selfishness.


but so, so true. we demand and rant and rave and speak without thinking and expect no consequences and really, it makes no sense. we can attack anyone we want, roar and rage with anger over what we don't like about what they're doing, and yet somehow think that no one should ever treat us this way?


no self control over what we say or do. no thought given to anyone or anything else. not really. not overall. sometimes, when it's convenient, but 8 or 9 times out of ten, no. just me.


this may not make a lot of sense. i'm still processing it myself, trying to wrap my mind around my own huge lack of self control in what i say and do and think and how it's eating me alive, and then how what happens in my life affects how i interact with others and ultimately their lives and our culture and world and whoa.

so, self control. Lord, have mercy on me...

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