If I could sum up in one phrase what God has been teaching me this summer it would be self-control.
As God so frequently works, He allowed this theme of self-control to be repeated over and over in my life- manifested in many ways- so that this sometimes slow learner wouldn’t miss it. Whether it was through my own personal quiet time, through my dear friend and accountability partner, or through the lessons I’m trying to teach my own children, His voice whispered clearly, “Meg, is YOUR life characterized by self-control?”
Unlike my six-year-old son, the struggle isn’t as much in controlling my feelings or emotions, but more so in controlling my actions, specifically in regards to how I spend my time and what I focus my mind on.
Around the middle of summer, I found myself feeling blah, lacking joy, and just not very content in the day to day. As I began to evaluate my life over the previous weeks, I realized my moments of free time, squished between parenting 5 little ones, were spent scrolling Instagram, running to my phone for escape, and having a distracted mind with the things of this world.
No wonder I was lacking joy and contentment! As believers, we know that the only place we will find true, abundant, and all-satisfying life is in Him. Opening His word, spending time with Him, meditating on His promises, and being in constant communion with Him.
But as we know, on this side of eternity, it’s difficult, really difficult to keep what God says as important, important in our hearts. How quickly I am prone to wander! This is where self-control comes in.
Although God has taught me this before, (remember, slow learner!) I’m once again reminded that in order to grow in godliness I have to be intentional. I have to take action. I have to say no to the things of the world that pull me away from Him.
So what has this looked like in my life?
It’s started with prayer, asking God, the keeper of my heart, the only one able to grow and change me in this area, to do a mighty work in me.
It’s looked like identifying habits I want to grow in. Like waking up early each morning and spending time in the Word before the pitter-patter of children’s feet. Limiting time on social media in exchange for time spent memorizing verses. Less time scrolling on my phone and more time in prayer.
And finally, it’s meant taking action to do what He’s called me to. It’s meant being held accountable to my dear friend, knowing that in my flesh I am weak and that we need each other to be spurred on towards godliness.
A few years ago when my son, Eli’s, thumb sucking habit was rampant, he was asked by someone WHY he kept doing it. His response so quickly came off his tongue, “I know, but I l just love my thumb so so much. It is just too too good.” Let’s be people who run after God and love His word like this. Let’s be people who truly know and have experienced God’s goodness, through time with Him, that we can’t help coming back for more. Let’s be people who understand that being with Jesus is just “too too good,” and that nothing else in this world could compare. And finally, let’s be people, by God’s grace, full of self-control in mind and action, with our eyes set on the prize, that we might that know Him more!