Self Control

“Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.”
Ecclesiastes 7:9

In my quest to live a transparent life, I have found one thing that can be the easiest to sweep under the rug—Self Control. 

Like all God fearing parents, we try to teach our children self control.  When you see a child rolling around on the ground, throwing a fit, you go to them and try to help them get a hold of themselves.  They throw things and cry.  You shake your head in wonder where in the world they learned this terrible behavior.  The last thing you would want to consider is that they may have learned it from none other than YOU!

Then later you have a situation come up.  Everything that could possibly go wrong goes wrong.  The pressure is mounting and you get desperate.  The kids are fighting, you are all late, your food is not ready on time, and someone is calling you while the child is throwing another fit.  You get this feeling like you want to run and hide or blow your top.

Adults throw fits, too.  Women pout and some of us blow our top and yell.  Men kick stuff, slam a door, or just walk off to tune things out (pouting).  We all do it.  Pouting is just as childish as pounding your fist on a table and yelling.  Sorry, but true.  Some of you do not flare up, but you go off quietly to have your little silent, selfish, and bitter pouting session.

Unless you are a child, you can use self control in public.  The same thing that would make you blow your top around your family, would not bother you at all in the presence of others.  We are sophisticated beings.  We tend to care about what others think so much as well as our reputation because we have a fear of man.  Rather we should have a fear of God.  God sees us all the time, hears every word, sees how we treat our family when no one else is around to judge us, and our hidden thoughts.

Children do not worry about what others think.  They just act however and let the chips fall where they will.  The parents have to be the ones to take the rap for their actions.  It is to our own shame if our little ones are at someone’s home and they throw a bowl of spaghetti across the room because they are mad.  Not only do we have to clean it up, we are left feeling very embarrassed that our child would flare up like that.

I have lived long enough to figure out by now that certain things are triggers.  They are your set off buttons.  I have one—Wasting food.  I throw more fits over spilled milk or food that got left out all night than anything else.  I mean, what is the big deal?  Why food?  For me it was because I have lived in Peru and saw so many children starving in the street, eating food that people would throw away.

I do not even eat a lot of food, it is not my love language.  The claws come out and I act like a kid throwing a fit about food.  How ridiculous.  Even though my reason is understandable, starving children, my actions are still not right.  My last food fit was a couple weeks ago.  I met this lovely Hispanic family in my front yard.  I invited them for dinner.  I told the girls to set several pots of rice on, bake some corn bread, and make some taco meat with beans.  They made plenty extra so we could not only feed many people but also have enough for pot luck the next morning for church.

I have another friend who is a native of Columbia and also happens to speak Spanish.  I invited her to the dinner so she could meet the other people who brought also a lot of wonderful Mexican dishes to pass.  Later she said she had to drive far to get food to make for potluck.  I wanted to bless her, so I told her to take one of my pots of rice.  She was planning to make some oriental dish but needed some veggies.  I dumped in a package of frozen veggies for her.  That way she would only need to make some scrambled eggs and add soy sauce.  Easy.

Well, she was getting her things together and decided to set the pot on the floor.  While she was busy visiting, my big dog managed to lift the lid off and help herself to the rice.  Because it was Gisela I was lighthearted about the deal.  If it had been one of my kids that set it down on the floor, I am sure I would have been upset.  I felt so bad that she did not have that rice.  We set the dog slobbered rice on the kitchen table over night.  Yuck!

The next morning we were busy getting ready for our church fellowship and I told the girls to dump the two pots of rice that were in the refrigerator into my crock pot with the beans and meat.  Molly did not know about the rice on the table, nor what happened with it.  She figured she should add ALL the rice she saw, including the dog slobbered rice.  Then she mixed it all together.

Mark came into my bedroom looking nervous to inform me about the rice.  It was 10 minutes before church started.  I was relaxed because I thought everything was ready on time.  He told me the bad news and I raced down to the kitchen in a fury.  I was madder than mad.  My claws came out.  I was frustrated that the food will now have to be dumped out to the pigs and we will have to start over with no time to start with.

I snarled, I pounded my fist on the table, I yelled.  I was even more mad because I should have told the girls about the dog slobbered rice on the table and not to use that.  I was mad at myself.  They were just trying to help so I could hardly blame them—but I did!  I had to take it out on someone.  Maybe I could have blamed the dog.  Then I blamed my husband of all people.

It was then that I caught a vision of how much uglier my attitude was in comparison to the food that was spoiled and wasted.  It would be better to throw food away than to act like a fool.  It is just food which is not eternal.  My actions are and my testimony is.  My relationship with my family is more precious than food.

Many times in the heat of frustration we act without temperance and self control.  When we look at our actions later, we laugh at how ridiculous we behaved.  Sometimes we wonder why that little thing set us off.  It is always the little foxes that spoil the vine and rob the peace.  For me, this moment was a gift.  I was so glad it happened.

I was glad that I was able to finally realize what that looks like to my family and what kind of example I was.  When the light shines into the darkness, we can see clearly to clean up our messes and b
ring our actions into the light of truth.  That is when God can take our burdens and help give us power over them.  In Christ we can overcome.  First, the gift is finding those things that we have to overcome.  Then we can be overcommers in Christ!

I will leave you with some other verses that are encouraging about self control.

“He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city
that is broken down, and without walls.”
Proverbs 25:28

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
Galatians 5:22-23

“And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience;
and to patience godliness;”
2 Peter 1:6

“A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.”
Proverbs 29:11

“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:”
Ephesians 4:26

“”Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear,
slow to speak , slow to wrath:
For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”
James 1:19-20

“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”
Proverbs 15:1

“He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty;
and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.”
Proverbs 16:32

0 thoughts on “Self Control

  1. I grew up with parents who would not let us waste any food. I used to have a very hard time with having to eating everything on my plate. (which causes overeating and weight gain ) We have livestock to feed the wasted food to, I don’t feel like it is wasted at all. Something is getting some good out of it and saving us on feed. I am able to push my plate away when I am full, maintain a healthy weight, and I think how much the “ladies” (chickens) will enjoy it!!! Thanks for sharing and being so open!!

  2. I loved reading your post. Thank you for sticking to your word and being transparent. I am very isolated and do not know how other Christians really live. It is so comforting me to know from your writing that I am not alone in the things I go through. I struggled with bitterness all my life. And I never knew how to overcome it and harbored a lot of anger, which would always come out big whenever a bad situation came up. It used to frustrate me so much when people would tell me not to be angry. I thought if I’m angry, I am angry. How can I not be angry. It was the state of being I was in, and I never knew how not to feel what I feel. I was most bitter toward other Christians, because I expected more from them. But God helped me to be thankful, and that was the beginning of my letting go of my anger. I still have moments when I get a bad taste in my mouth about something that happened in the past, and it’s usually when I’m taking a shower, but now I don’t dwell in it. I have joy in my heart, and that amazes me, because I know how I used to be. Self control is another area in my life I want to master. Thank you for your humility in sharing the story.

  3. Self-control…I tend to blame everyone and everything for my lack. Menopause, lack of sleep, co-workers, husband, children, family church,etc, but the real problem is myself. Thank-you for the reminder. Let’s keep looking to God for our lack. It is only through Him that we can have true victory.

  4. Guilty… Dear Lord, Help me to be a better example to my children that they may see Christ in me the hope of glory, rather than my sinful flesh! In Jesus’ Name, Amen
    Thanks for sharing your struggles. Things can get crazy with the kiddos sometimes at my house, but if Mama can keep herself under the Spirit’s control the day can still end in success regardless of the circumstances of the day!

  5. Thanks for the article. I find myself doing the same thing. I want Gods will for my life. Please remember me prayer that i will be the mother and wife God has called me to be.

    • Dear Karla, I prayed for you today! As I try and keep under the Spirit’s control here, I’ll pray for you wherever you are! In Christ, Sara

  6. I also love your transparency Erin & I think of the verse in James where we are told to “confess our sins & pray for one another”. Who hasn’t flown off the handle over some accident? We do need to confess our sins to God & others in this battle to be overcomers. Good post & God bless you for writing it! Love & prayers, in Jesus, Cynthia

  7. Thank you Sara! The Lord has really helped me so much this week. I really appreciate the prayers. I will remember you and your family in prayer! James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
    Sisters in Christ!

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