I've been reading this book "Made to Crave" by Lysa Terkeurst recently, which is pretty much about the connection between food/dieting/health and our spiritual health. It's been super interesting, and I have a lot to say about it. But that's for another blog post.
I bring it up, though, because at one point she mentions the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). Now, I grew up in church, people. I have a degree in religion. I'm a worship & family pastor. I've read these a thousand times over and can recite them in my sleep. Or in song, if that's how you prefer them.
But it wasn't until the other day when I was scouring Lysa's book that I noticed something about the fruit of the Spirit that I've never noticed before: self-control. The last "element" of the beloved fruit. Self-Control.
And I felt convicted. I seem to more or less have a good grasp of the other eight elements. But not self-control. When I look at the list, it's the one that doesn't seem to fit as much as the others. And right now, to me, it's the hardest.
I definitely struggle with self-control in areas of my life. Whether it's getting up when my alarm clock tells me to get up. Or not eating that yummy, carb-filled snack just because it's convenient. Or actually making my lunch for work so that I don't get quivery in the afternoon. Or getting outraged when a friend makes a stupid decision that I advised against. Stupid little things, but still lack of self-control.
It's clear to me that they all work together: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. I mean, I think it's hard to possess gentleness without love. Or faithfulness without patience. But self-control seems to be one that almost governs the rest. And I don't mean that one of these is any better or more important than the other.
I think that I'm just really learning that I've dismissed self-control too easily, that's it's been more of a "tack-on" at the end of a list to me than an essential.
And honestly, I'm not entirely sure what this conviction means for me or what my next step is. I do know, though, that I'm going to be giving it more attention. Maybe do a self-control evaluation of myself, see how and where I lack it most. And I'll be praying that the Lord shows me what to do with this and how to call on his power in my moments of self-control weakness.
How about you - do you struggle with self-control in your normal/spiritual life? How do you deal with it?