Today, I said something to T (5) about his "absolute lack of self-control" and then he looked at me and said, "I don't know what those words mean."
I really appreciate his honesty. Still, we've been talking about self-control to him since before he could talk. These are not unfamiliar words around here. When our children lack self-control they are usually sent to their bed to calm down, pray, and regroup.
But. . . today I'm wondering, "What about me?" What about the times that I reveal an absolute lack of self-control? It's one of the fruits of the spirit. Sometimes I lack good fruit. Sometimes I slam doors, hide in the bathroom and cry (see yesterday's post!), and when I didn't think the kids were watching, I once threw a plastic cup on the kitchen floor. Undignified, ungracious me.
I've heard Michelle Duggar say that the angrier she is, the quieter she is. She uses self-control to lower her voice, to calm her emotions. Her kids know things are serious when she is really, really quiet. I am impressed with that image of a really angry, really quiet mother. That takes a lot of self-control.
Ann Voskamp quotes Mark Buchanan today. The entire article is really wonderful, but here is the crux: Here’s what I’ve learned: Every impulse to seize control — is the Holy Spirit’s invitation to practice self-control.
Every nerve jolt to freak out, melt down, start yelling, fly into rage or panic is a divine cue to slow down, breathe deep, start praying, and lean into God.
Every instinct to control something is God’s nudge to control myself.
I don’t always get it right. When I don’t, I not only lose self-control: I lose influence. I lose respect. I lose dignity.
When I do get it right, I gain all around.
Lord, help me get a grip on myself.