Self-Control When You Really Need It

I melted down the other morning. Over our dog.  

Glen and I have a difference of opinion over doggy rules and doggy discipline. This can result in tension between us at times. Glen is a dog person. He prefers to have Rufus, our hairy 100 pound labra doodle, with us at ALL times, including the dinner table and even while working in the kitchen. I on the other hand prefer some distance, especially in the kitchen and around meals. Glen wants to loosen our doggy rules. I want to tighten them.

Later in the day, after calming down, I stepped outside to watch Joey work with a soccer coach.

I listened with fascination as Joey was instructed to jump repeatedly over bars and then, while out of breath, attempt to intercept a soccer ball and kick it into the corner of the net. “Joey, the jumping will tire you and make you feel jostled, much like you will feel in an actual game. When you intercept the soccer ball and head towards the goal, you will need to practice controlling yourself at the core so that your kick will consistently be strong and accurate. Otherwise the ball will often miss it’s mark.” 

Joey can easily kick the soccer ball into the goal time and time again when he is practicing alone and not tired. However, in the middle of a game, when he is running out of steam, and opposing players jostle him at every turn, it’s a different story!  That’s when he really needs to establish control in order to accurately handle the soccer ball under pressure.

Immediately, I thought back to my melt down.

Normally I am the first one up and I head out to our screened in porch, with a steaming cup of coffee, to begin the day with a quiet time. That morning I woke up late, having returned the evening before from a conference, and launched right into the day feeling groggy and off balance. Not a good morning to be smirked at for shooing Rufus away from the table! It’s all it took to deplete my self-control.

I have plenty of self-control on mornings when I wake up rested and when I am not dealing with any issues, but attempt to jostle me when I am tired and it’s a different story! It’s when I take the time to abide in the presence of Christ, that I gain the strength and resolve to walk by the spirit and not respond in the flesh regardless of what comes my way.

Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Galatians 5:16

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22

Within the walls of our homes, hidden from the outside world, who we really are is more apt to be revealed.

It’s where we let down our guard and our true selves come out. It’s also where seemingly trivial issues can actually be our greatest challenges and the means by which God grows us the most.  I want our home to be a sanctuary – a place of peace and rest – and certainly not one of divisiveness and strife. How I nourish and tend to my own heart each day makes all the difference. My heart can spill out both living water and foul smelling water and it all has to do with how I center my own heart within.

And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. Isaiah 58:11

 

1 Comment

  1. Oh Elken, How I love your beautiful heart. Thank you for reminding me how important it is to keep centered in the midst of our jostled world. I love the Rufuses in my life too, but day in and day out they become a grating force. May the Lord continue to keep us sharp in the midst of it all!

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