Monday, November 8, 2010

Fruits of the Spirit, Part II: Self-Control

Galatians 5:22-24 (NKJV)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness,

goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

We have had a really, reeeeeally rough year. After taking ten days to get away to visit family (and look for a job for my husband...) we came back home trying to get in some sort of routine again. Going back to Central Time from Eastern along with the 'fall back' time change, we were all sleeping in until (I'm embarrassed to say) at least ten. Either we're just exhausted or our internal clocks need some serious adjusting! I had even given the children a speech yesterday about how "tomorrow, we're going to have a Routine.." and "we're going to be done with homeschooling before lunch!" Well, when I finally herded the kids into the school room their tummies were evidently screaming so we headed to the kitchen for another detour. Then it was back to school, and on to yard work and supper.

Seeing our redneckish backyard littered with toys, plastic drink cups and bowls (my good kitchen bowls being used for mudpies and my four year old's 'cooking creations' of grass and leaves) the hubs and I became frustrated realizing how little self-control our children had in picking up after themselves and taking care of the things they've been given. I blurted out that we hadn't exactly been parenting very well for the past year during our spiritual, emotional, being kicked down in the dirt mayhem.

Our children had not been very self-controlled; they had been following our example or lack-thereof. So many things in this life require self-control: reaching for the remote and a bag of chips vs. following up a salad with a walk, avoiding road rage when you've been cut off, maintaining vehicles and simply doing the dishes when the kitchen's a mess. When I think of self-control, I think of passing up those delectable brownies to avoid tipping the scales, but self-control goes beyond the basics of keeping a trim waistline, or maintaining a schedule. Self-control is an asset to every relationship, especially marriage & family.

What does self-control look like in a marriage??

How 'bout...

-avoiding situations where you are alone with someone of the opposite sex
-caring for your body out of respect for your spouse and children
-avoiding inappropriate movies, music, etc. that fill your mind with unclean thoughts
-realizing that what you purchase effects your household budget
-taking a moment to calm down when you are upset or angry
-guarding the door of your lips so you don't sin against another (Psalm 141:3)
-intentionally loving and serving others before yourself

What does self-control look like in parenting??

-modeling self-discipline, diligence
-honoring one another rather than assaulting each other with hurtful words and actions
-avoiding being a lazy disciplinarian, getting up to discipline every time they disobey
-not taking out your stress on your children, who are really just acting like kids.....
-honoring your children's requests even when you are busy
-honoring the things that are precious to your children (even if it's a yucky, slimy, warted toad)

Self-control is a quality that God wants us to be mindful of. Self-control is a fruit of the spirit that is good to others and is an outpouring from the attitude of your heart. It can really be a gift to your spouse, your marriage and your family. Think about what that looks like for you.

So tonight, when I head to bed, setting my alarm for 8am (hopefully, my thoughts won't keep me up until 4am again....) my hope is to let the day begin with a motivating self-control that will encourage my family. Sometimes simply being up and awake with coffee in hand, ready to greet those bouncy curls and chatty lips does good for my soul, setting the tone for a good day....I am thankful God so often gives us tomorrows to try again!

Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city. - Proverbs 16:32 Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control. - Proverbs 25:28

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