The list could go on, for sure, but I want to keep this post in positiveity land, not "am I really that powerless" land.
SELF-CONTROL: THE DEFINITION
"Self-control is the ability to govern ourselves in righteousness. When we are able to control ourselves, we increase our self-esteem and our ability to help build God’s kingdom on earth" (Self Control 1).
"The ability to control oneself, in particular one's emotions and desires or the expression of them in one's behavior, especially in difficult situations" (Google Dictionary).
This is one of those times where Google and God are in sync. The ability to control oneself...in difficult situations...allows us to increase our self-esteem and our ability to help build God's kingdom on earth...by being where He needs us to be when He needs us to be there.
I see a couple of connecting themes in all of these suggestions. First, meditate and delay. Don't allow yourself to express your first destructive reaction (such as reaching for brownie #2). Take a moment, pray, and fill your mind with other positive thoughts.
The second connection I saw is how important physical activity is to helping us develop self-control over a situation. I know that once I get to the gym and start working out, I feel better than I feel after sitting on the couch for 2 hours binge watching a show. Get up, get moving, and feel better!
Lastly, forgiveness of yourself and others. This is huge! How many times have I beaten myself up for those times when I lacked self-control? At least 9,689 (but who's counting, right?) Allow yourself to be human, to make mistakes. Then, get up, and start again. Along this same vein, allow others to be human, to slip up, and to make mistakes. Remember, we are all in this life together and we are all just doing the best we can do.
We have the best example of self-control in our Savior Jesus Christ. He was hungry after fasting for 40 days when Satan came to him and tempted him to turn a rock into bread. Did the Savior give in to the temptation? No. He said, "Get thee hence, Satan." He knew that His mission was greater than any satisfaction He would get from eating bread when He was starving.
Although we will never perfect the virtue of self-control in this life, we can have perfect moments in exercising self-control. We can celebrate those moments and allow them to mold us into better people. We can remember those moments when we are struggling with self-control, and above all else, we can remember our Savior and Redeemer who has promised us that if we "pray always" we "may come off conqueror" and "conquer Satan" (D7C 10:5).
Let's do this. Brownies, Netflix, and Bread...you better watch out.
Bradberry, T. (2014, October 21). The Six Secrets of Self-Control. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/travisbradberry/2012/09/17/the-six-secrets-of-self-control/#8f45a242d4e6.
Self-control. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/family-home-evening-resource-book/lesson-ideas/self-control?lang=eng.
Self-Control. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/self-control.
Those are Google dictionary's definitions of charity. Not bad. I agree with all of them and they all denote good and wonderful messages of helping others. However, now I want to offer the apostle Paul's definition of charity.
"Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth..."
OUR WORLD NEEDS A SERIOUS DOSE OF CHARITY
In the New Testament Institute Student Manual we learn that "when we have charity, we patiently endure offense or hardship. We also act in patience and kindness to everyone, even those who offend us" (Chapter 39). Can you imagine what our world would be like if everyone lived by this suggestion? *Heavenly*
I feel that one of the biggest stumbling blocks we, as human being have is that we tend to be easily offended. And yes, I am speaking first and foremost about my own tendency to choose to take offense. I love some counsel that President Henry B Eyring has given us about charity and how it connects to being offended.
“We do not know the hearts of those who offend us. Nor do we know all the sources of our own anger and hurt. The Apostle Paul was telling us how to love in a world of imperfect people, including ourselves" (Eyring 68).
We just do not know. Not only do we not know the hearts of those who offend us, but I love that President Eyring pointed out that we don't even know the sources of our own anger and hurt. It makes me realize just how dependent I truly am on my Savior's Atonement and the knowledge that I need to gain from God through the Holy Ghost.
“True charity has been known only once. It is shown perfectly and purely in Christ’s unfailing, ultimate, and atoning love for us” (Holland 336-37)
We haven’t been asked to be perfect at it. We’ve only been asked to try, to improve, to progress on a path that will lead us back to our Father in Heaven. We do that one step at a time. One FB post that we don’t post a scathing response. One Instagram post that we don’t look at and pick apart and judge the people in the picture. One classmate, church friend, work associate, or even stranger, who says something that offends us and we choose to not hold on to the offense.
Do you know what happens when you put together all of those little instances of choosing charity? Our hearts begin to soften. Our souls begin to enlarge, and we begin to see the people in our lives as the Savior sees them, and He helps us to feel a little portion of the love He has for them and that, my friends, is a pretty amazing thing.
Chapter 39: 1 Corinthians 12–14. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/new-testament-student-manual/1-corinthians/chapter-39-1-corinthians-12-14?lang=eng.
Eyring, H.B., "That We May Be One," Ensign, May 1988, 68
Holland, J.R., Christ and the New Covenant , 336-37
I am loving my second chance at life.
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