Don't let mistakes in self-control make you look dumb.
Sometimes I let my lack of self-control make me look dumb, and mistakes are made.
Well, TBH, I let 30-seconds of overwhelm get the better of me. Let me explain. In my local grocery store, they often have ready-made cakes. Baked and decorated. And I love me some cake. You can read about that here. The problem is that I have to go to that same section to get my husband's deli meat for his sandwiches. So I'm either passing the cakes as I go TO the deli or as I LEAVE the deli. It just causes me chaos.
I could do better. I could walk on by. And I could turn back around and go past the fruit instead. OR I could have 30 seconds of self-control and just walk on by. Really. Thirty seconds is about all I'd need. Decide "No cake today" and keep walking. And really, I just need 30 seconds here and there all throughout the day, and I'd be totally off sugar all together.
Really, all we need are tons of little 30-second microbursts of self-control. But when we don't even have that, we make some self-control mistakes.
Here's a few mistakes to avoid:
- Quick fuse. You know those days when you overslept because the power went out and reset your alarm clock, and you were out of milk for your cereal? When your curling iron wouldn't work and you didn't have clothes picked out ahead of time? And your shoe is missing? And you forgot to fill up the car? Then the first person to greet you with a chipper "Good morning!" gets nuked with your "What's so good about it?" barrage of whatever? Well, 30 seconds of self-control would allow that conversation to avoid the quick fuse. "Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city." (Prov. 16:32) By keeping a handle on our temper (even in 30-second increments) we become better than mighty war heroes! Just imagine...
- Blurting mouth. The words just rolled off your tongue before you took 2-seconds to think about the consequences. Or you posted that comment to social media without a second thought. Words hurt. Even a heartfelt apology won't erase what that other person heard and felt. Proverbs 29:11 says, "A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back." We make mistakes and say things we shouldn't, but hearts are wounded and feelings are crushed.
- Loose lips. Maybe you're seeing a pattern here...?? Three mistakes dealing with what we say?! Hmmm. Psalms 141:3's prayer is, "Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!" When I was young, I pictured this like a muzzle for an uncontrolled dog. But as I've gotten older, I wonder if the "keep watch" means there would be an actual soldier standing guard over me. Waiting to jab me with his sword if my mouth begins to run amok. That's a very different picture. I've worked for years to watch what comes OUT of my lips. But as I'm writing this, I'm realizing that this verse never mentions words. Now I see it as diet control. Not just what comes OUT - it's also what goes IN!!
- Revenge. "Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay,' says the LORD." (Rom. 12:19) It takes self-control to see an enemy daily in the workplace. To refuse bitterness when a loved one disappoints you. Again. And again. But we are commanded to love our enemies. To walk the extra mile. Don't let someone else's mistakes cause you to fail here. Let's get real. Let God get 'em. It'll be more effective. Don't just ask the Holy Spirit for 30-second of "non-revenge." Ask for love. It will change you.
- Choices. And you're saying, "I see what you did there, Kathy. This one's pretty broad, don't you think?" Sure. But so is 1 Thess. 5:22, "Abstain from every form of evil." (When I finished typing that, I literally said, "Boom.") Well, it's sound advice. Abstain means to hold back voluntarily, especially from something unhealthy or improper. It really covers #1-4 above: abstain from anger, blurting without thinking, loose lips whether in/out, and revenge. Walk away. Go grab some fruit and skip the cake.
Father God, we thank You that You have provided self-control for us to protect us every second and from every potential mistake. Guard our heart, our mouths, and our choices so that we may be better representatives for You.