Today's post is written by a good friend of Ann's named Melissa. They meet regularly to discuss Jesus and their struggles. Recently, they have been discussing the fruit of the Spirit and in particular self-control. Earlier in the year the Lord showed Ann through the book of Jonah that food had become an idol to her. Although this revelation was fascinating it didn't take away the desire for food. This post sums up a lot of what Ann is learning. We are grateful for Melissa's insights she has received and her willingness to share them.
Life has been kickin' since coming home from South Africa in August. I
have been go-go-going with work and church and life and friends and
volunteering. It has been great, but my time in SA was not nearly as
full of tasks and I spent quite a deal of it in my head--learning about
myself and about my God. And that was really great.
It has been a struggle to transition back into the warp speed of "The
West." I find myself savoring every spare moment of solitude. (Please
note: coming from an extreme extrovert, those words carry a great deal
of weight!) Though a To-Do list looms and days roar by, it is the
moments of introspection and prayer I am able to squeeze out of my
schedule that drive me. They are all the more precious now.
I have been contemplating a couple major themes in these times alone
with my Savior. There seems to be a boulder in my path. A lump in my
throat. A pebble in my shoe. No matter where I turn, some information or
reference to these issues is before me.
One of these major themes is Self-Control. I am probably the only person
who struggles in this area, so just bear with me for the rest of this
blog post. ;) I share as a glimpse into what God is doing in me, but
maybe, just maybe, it will speak to what is going on in some of your
lives as well.
A couple weeks back, these were the insights flooding my mind, journal pages, and correspondence with confidantes:
I have been realizing that I don't believe God is in my ability to
control myself--it baffles me that it is one of the Fruits of the Holy
Spirit. I can't believe that when you have the Spirit in you, you are
able to display better self-control. It really grows as you allow the
presence of the Holy Spirit do its work in you? Crazy!
My response to controlling my behavior has always been two-fold: I
either think it is entirely my job and God has nothing to do with it
(and he has nothing to do WITH ME until I can get myself under control)
OR I try to hand complete control over to God because it is too hard to
do on my own and then I can blame Him when things go wrong.
The first option: it's impossible. I can't control myself on my own. I am powerless against the pull of sin on my desires.
The second option: God refuses. He will not take over control of my
life. I am not a robot. I have free will. He will not call all the shots
for me. He wants me to realize we are in this thing together. He isn't
going to take over for me. He knows I will just blame Him for whatever
happens--He knows, because even though He doesn't have control now, I
still blame Him!
So, where does that leave me? How does God's presence in my life result
in self-control? Who is in charge, which duties are mine and which are
the Holy Spirit's? I think it goes back to "We are in this thing
together." Yes, it is true that I have to hand over SOMETHING to Him--I
have to trust Him. I have to trust that He wants to live intimately with
me. I have to trust that His wisdom will guide me in the right
directions. I have to trust that He loves me unendingly.
Click here to read the rest of this post on Melissa's blog.