I struggle with self-control. I really do.
I do not struggle with wanting to be comfortable. I do not struggle with wanting what feels good.
I never make it through my Lenten challenges. It seems like everyone else could give up coffee for Lent, but I on the other hand, can’t give up coffee for a day (side note: it was the worst headache of my life).
I have been walking with God, as a Catholic, for years now and this struggle is still one of the weakest points in my faith. Sometimes, it’s not a bad thing to want what’s comfortable or feels good. Sometimes, though, it leads down a road that I don’t want to go down. Sometimes I need to give up something now for a greater good later.
The reality is that if I don’t learn self-control in the little things, I will never learn it in the big things that matter. If I can master self-control, I can master the things that are holding me back from God.
For years now, I have understood this to be one of my top improvement areas. But, I have not taken any steps to get better, until now.
As a youth minister, I get to “disciple” (read: walk with closely) teens at my parish. One of these teens has a similar struggle. So, here I am giving him advice on self-control when I struggle with it myself!
Yet, God is faithful, and He gave me an idea to practically help improve my self-control. Every few days, we are going to intentionally give something up that we do not have to. The point is to train ourselves to say no to something when we can say yes. Some examples:
- Cold shower in the morning (status: completed and worse than expected)
- Drinking only water for a day (status: currently fighting through)
- No social media for a day (status: soon)
- No phone during certain hours (status: soon)
I am not completely sure if this is going to work, but I like the idea. Sometimes, we need to stop saying we need to do something and actually do it.
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”