Fall of my senior year, I was in London for a semester and an ocean away from my boyfriend (aka my husband Kelly). After 4 long months of heartfelt letters between us, I was ecstatic to return to have him join my family for Christmas. Although I was thrilled to see him I could not help but wonder what gift he might give me for Christmas. I knew we were nowhere near a ring but perhaps some small piece of jewelry or delicate bottle of perfume? Christmas morning comes, the presents are unwrapped and there in my lap appeared my gift from the love of my life- a used car radio. He proudly explained that although the radio is from his old car, the speakers were new AND he would install the entire system himself. Needless to say I was speechless. No where on my Christmas wish list had I put used car radio but, if I am telling the truth, it was the perfect gift. I loved music, my car needed a good radio and his gift gave me hours of joy when he was not by my side. Truly, it was a gift that didn’t feel like a gift until I use it.
Speaking of gifts, the Holy Spirit has a list of gifts for believers in Christ. …the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23 Looking down the list I was thrilled with each of these wonderful gifts until I saw self-control. Really? Self-Control? That hardly sounded like any fun. Joy, love , kindness- those sounded like fun gifts but they were not the one I needed most.
Not too long ago, my life was filled with poor sleep habits, a lousy diet and a nonexistent exercise schedule. I didn’t seek help for any of these and I certainly didn’t pray for help. You know- all it takes is a little self-control. You see people around you taking care of their bodies and it does not look that tough. You’ve probably exercised regularly or eaten healthily for a period of time so you know you can do it. You just don’t. Why? It’s hard. I don’t care how easy people make it sound, establishing and maintaining healthy habits is hard. I had to come to a place of admitting my problem was bigger than food or exercise. My problem was a lack of self-control. I finally wrapped my head around the idea that I couldn’t build self-control into my life without prayer.
These days my diet is better and my sleeping is OK. This week, I just started exercising regularly AGAIN. I’m praying this time it will stick.
Join me. Claim the gift of self-control that comes from the Spirit of God within you. Kind of like my used car radio, once you use the gift, you’ll love it!