Our reflection for Nov. 15, from Shana, on the theme of self-control:
"Self-control. What do you think of when you hear that word? Being on a diet? Watching your temper? Spending money in a frugal manner? I want to focus in on on our attitude and emotions.
You have had that moment with your child or spouse where your blood pressure skyrockets, your nerves fray, and the worst version of you begs to come out, right? Of course. It happens to all of us as some point. But what I’m trying to better understand is this whole concept of self-control.
So many times in the Bible we are told to display self-control. But it’s hard to display self-control when it feels like someone else does things out of our control and yanks our emotions into a bad place, i.e. our children seem to have mastered this.
So, here’s one tidbit I’m learning. When someone else’s actions or statements threaten to pull me into a bad place, I have a choice. I really do. My choice is whether or not to give them the power to control my emotions. I have also learned that “monkey see, monkey do.” If I react out-of-control with my kids, they are going to learn that behavior as well.
When I react by yelling, flying off the handle or making a snappy comment back, I have lost the battle and taught my child to act the same. So, it seems to me if I’m going to remain self-controlled, I have to have let Jesus work in me. When I react according to God’s Word, I feel His power. When I react contrary to God’s Word, I feel powerless and end up yelling and getting upset.
Isaiah 55:10-11 is such a good reminder of how we can tap into God’s power no matter what situation we are facing:
So it is my word (referring to God’s word)
that will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (God speaks this)
Did you catch that? The answer to having God’s power work in me to produce self-control is to let His Word get inside me. His Word seeping into my mind and my heart will accomplish things – good things – powerful things – things that help me display self-control.
So, here’s a tactic to try. When facing a situation where someone is getting on the last good nerve you have, start quoting God’s Word in the present tense. Take 1 Peter 5:6-8 for example.
In this moment I’m choosing to be self-controlled and alert. Your actions are begging me to yell and lose control. But, I realize I have an enemy, and that enemy is not you. The devil is prowling and roaring and looking to devour me through my own lack of control right now. But, I am God’s girl. That’s right. I am. So, I am going to humbly and quietly let God have His way in me right now. And when I do this, God will lift me and my frayed nerves up from this situation and fill me with a much better reaction than what I can give you right now. So, give me just a few minutes and then we’ll calmly talk about this.
Girl, that’s some power right there. Count to 10, focus on God’s word, and I bet you will find yourself a little calmer than before. With practice, you will be shining with self-control with your kids, spouse and friends.
Dear Lord, I am reminded I am Your child. You created me and know me. And therefore, You designed my heart, mind and soul to receive and respond to the power in your Word. When I lack my own power to be self-controlled help me to turn to Your truth for good, calm responses to be a good example to my children. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.