Do you know that feeling of being full of energy, nothing hurts, you are ready to take on the world? Okay, then you are 20 years old, so you can’t relate to what I am going to write about it. The rest of you, stick with me.
I have glimpses of feeling that way. Like when I started walking every day and I when I started the Whole 30 way of eating; it was spring time, life was beautiful… that was less than a year ago.
Yet, it seems like forever. Somewhere around Thanksgiving, we ripped out our kitchen and it gave me an excuse to blow all my healthy lifestyle and eating for months. It was only supposed to be one month, plus a week for Christmas, gorging. Then, I would just jump right back in. But that didn’t happen, because my willpower is really weak in the winter. In the winter, I want comfort.
Comfort food…a warm fire…blankets…
I Don’t Feel Like It: The Opposite of Self-Control
I don’t want to go walking and eat fruits and vegetables and drink infused waters. I just don’t. That is why I think it is a willpower thing, because I can only get back on certain habits when the sun is aligned with the earth just so, and the habit I need requires minimal real discipline, because frankly I am already in the right mood to start.
Starting is the key. If I can start and get through a few days on momentum and adrenaline, fueled by my mood to get out and walk and eat healthy vegetables, it can work. The habit kicks in.
But, what do we do when it is the wrong time of year, nothing is aligned, I feel like crap, and I am not in the mood?
The Source of Our Self-Control
I have to pray. It is at these times I remember that self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and this, just like every single other thing, is not possible consistently in our own strength. Much research says that we have a limited amount of willpower. But, I would argue that this research is not plugged into our unlimited God.
I was reading a John Piper article on the Fruit of Self-Control and he had an interesting definition:
The very concept of “self-control” implies a battle between a divided self. It implies that our “self” produces desires we should not satisfy but instead “control.” We should “deny ourselves” and “take up our cross daily,” Jesus says, and follow him (Luke 9:23). Daily our “self” produces desires that should be “denied” or “controlled.”
Daily, my “self” is producing a desire to not exercise and move. It also has manifested this single-minded desire, that I seem to absolutely not have any control over, which is eating ice-cream, nightly. That is right…nightly.
I guess to sum up this long story, I need to call on the power of Jesus Christ to control myself. I want to feel how I have felt in the first line of this post…full of energy, nothing hurting, and ready to take on the world. I know from years of experience, trying in my own strength, that I can’t do it.
I really do need the Holy Spirit’s Fruit of Self-Control to help me. Which actually drives me crazy, because I know what I need to do to feel good and to be healthy. I know it but I still do not do it on my own.
We Must Relinquish Control to God
This is the part where He can come in and work through us. It is the place where we so obviously can’t make it work, that when we finally turn to Him to cry out for help, and we see a whole new result. One that we could not achieve on our own. It is all Him. To His Glory. Which is the point. We must let go of our pride and control issues and turn to the One who truly is in control.
This is where the discipline we need comes from. This is the Fruit of His Spirit.
We are just here by His grace and mercy. But, while we are here, we might as well feel good as we are doing His work. So, I am relinquishing control. I am praying for His willpower and self-control to get back to my healthier lifestyle. The benefits are still mine. It is His grace in action.
For which I am eternally grateful.