How blessed we are to have friends who lift us up, who speak truth to us, who listen, give advice, encouragement and their constant prayers. This is richness; this is true treasure to have such wonderful women in your life.

Friday, July 15, 2011


Hello, dear sisters,

I knew this one was coming. You cannot do a Bible study on developing good Christian character without tackling the area of self-control. My emotions were running on two tracks when I flipped the page this week and saw the words "self-control." On one hand, I was excited to get started. I know this is an area of weakness in my life, and I want to change to become more like my Savior. On the other hand, I was a bit melancholy because I know this is a weakness in my life, battling some of the same things for years, and another round of failure is not my idea of a good or profitable time. But because I am involved in this blog with you girls, I had to face the negative, put those thoughts down and go with the positive. And I am so glad that I did. God had something new waiting to be learned!!!:)

While reading the chapter this week in our Bible study, I was also following my daughter-in-law, Jen's blog on praying for sons. Each day Jen prays for a different character quality or aspect in a man-to-be's life. Wouldn't you know and you have probably guessed it... this week one of the topics was "self-control." In the curriculum Jen is using, the author said she recognized that in the realm of self-control, the real need is to pray that our boys would love Jesus more....more than the sin that is currently on the throne of their hearts.   She tells how one day she realized  she did love Jesus, but she loved Him less than a whole lot of other stuff in her life like looking good, filling herself up on her favorite food, and time to herself. She did love Jesus, but less than having her book published, less than getting even with her husband, yelling at her kids or getting her own way.  

That really convicted me. I thought about all the recent choices I made. Like that third cookie I ate last night. Throughout my adult life it has become very clear that food is one of my areas where I lack self-control, particularly when it comes to sweets. Yesterday evening, I heard the Holy Spirit gently prodding me to show self-control, but I ate that cookie anyway. No one was around to watch; no real pressing feelings of guilt until this morning after I read Jen's blog. At the end of her post, she asked what it was that we loved Jesus less than. Immediately that stinking cookie popped into my mind! Oh, I love Jesus, but I loved Him less last night than I loved that third cookie! I hope these words ring through my mind from now on when I am faced with a choice: "Do you really love Him less than that?" 

So at the end of this week, I can honestly say: I loved this week! I loved the exercise on pages 163-64; it helped me see old habits that I hadn't recognized before and gave me insight into what I could do everyday to replace the old with some wonderful new! The "Schedule Self-Test" was a great exercise in making me aware of what was motivating me and that my motivations are changing as I grow and change.  And Katie's ideas on creating a Sabbath rest whether it is weekly or daily are going to become more and more part of my life.

One thing is abundantly clear to me and that is...when it comes to this mouth of mine...what goes in and what comes out...needs to be under the control of the Holy Spirit.  And it is His Spirit in me that can create the self-control that I so desperately need!

How was this week of self-control for you, my friends?

Love from North Carolina!!!



  1. I agree, Cherri. The words "self-control" tend to make me shudder. I too have much room for growth. I'm behind in the book; I just finished "courage" today. I'm sure I'll need courage to tackle this next chapter.

    Love to you all. Happy Birthday, Diane. :) And welcome, Tina.

    I'll go start my next chapter and see what God might have to say to me.

    Robin :)

  2. Ugh. While grateful that God is working on a healthier me (exercise & food), I am STRUGGLING with controlling my thoughts and feelings in a personal family situation right now.

    Oh, how I want to indulge in self-pity and seek opinions of others who would side with me to say I am the wronged party. As I sought the Lord, the word "persecution" came to mind so I looked up the verses.

    If it's truly persecution, then it's an honor to be in such a place with my Savior. So I need to practice self-control in my thoughts, words and deeds in this matter.

    BUT I DON'T WANT TO (she said stomping her feet & pounding her fists). OK, this isn't what I intended to write, but I needed to for accountability. So here it is, ladies. May God use me in this situation as He intends and may I get out of His way so He can do it.

    Thanks for your prayerful support.


  3. Oh Diane,
    That is a really tough spot to be in. I can relate so much to what you are saying. I know that it brings glory to God when we choose love in the midst of "persecution". He sees our heart and our hurts and understands. That always brings me comfort and He does get the victory in the end! Every time!
    Sorry, it has been so long since I posted. For some reason, my lap top is letting me post. My other computer at work and in our office is not allowing me to. All of your honesty and transparency has been a blessing to me. I have too much to share with the past chapters. The courage one killed me in such a good way. Motivated me really! and this to talk to you soon.

  4. I am praying for you, Diane, and so glad that you have been obedient in showing self-control in this situation. That is an encouragement to me because, hopefully, I will be there someday. I feels so defeated right now.

    The day after I wrote the original post on self-control, God showed me something in my heart that was so ugly I didn't want to look at it. For all I wrote about the "third cookie," the truth is He is much more concerned with what comes OUT of my mouth because it hurts others. And that is exactly what He showed me...the words I say when I am in a place of self-focus, feeling sorry for myself, envious, insecure or defensive for some reason have an impact on those I love the most. I had a good 12 hours of all of those feelings, and I nearly said somethings I would regret. But the day earlier I had asked God to put a "guard on my mouth" (or in this case fingers because I was going to text my choice words), and solely because of that one prayer, what I was thinking did not come out.

    You'd think that was it, wouldn't you? Lesson learned! Nope...not with this girl!

    My husband came to pick me up from the airport last night and within 15 minutes I had spewed it all. As I type this I am so angry with myself I could scream!!!

    When am I going to grow up and stop this!!!???

    Here's the really ironic conversation with Peter last night started out telling him about what God had shown me, but the more I talked, the angrier I got, and the angrier I got, the more I lost control until I just did not care.

    Side note to self: Stop talking about what God tells you and just live it!

    Diane, you are in my prayers and I am grateful for your example. Moe, you have, and always will be, an inspiration to me. Welcome back and please catch us up on your thoughts on the other chapters when you have a chance.

    Please pray for me, my sisters. I need the power of the Holy Spirit to kill this sin in me.


  5. A couple of months ago God sat me down and spoke to me about discipline, or rather my lack thereof. It was hard to hear, but aren’t most things that are true? The teaching/conviction came via 1 Timothy chapter 3. In the NLT self-control was mentioned over and over again regarding leaders in the church and even though I wasn’t sleeping around or drinking, at that moment I was definitely not in control of my household. Do you know what the culprit was...blasted Facebook! I was completely checking out of life as I perused people’s statuses and pictures, meanwhile my kids were becoming hellions. I was too tired to challenge their behavior or rather too lazy to accept the challenge. In my head I kept thinking, “I can’t do this” or “they’ve got me, now I don’t know what to do.” I was taking the easy way out, which was far from easy, instead of becoming God-controlled like author mentioned. Long story short, after the revelation, I made myself the resolution that I was going to obey God and His Word or I had no business being in ministry. Cleaning up the mess has not been fun and is quite the daily struggle.

    During this process, one of the things God told me to do was walk in the morning; that I needed to get my I-love-sleeping butt out of bed and walk the block. I’m not sure why, nor do I understand the part it plays in controlling my three-year-olds tantrums or belief that the world revolves around him, but I try to not hit snooze, because I want to obey. I truly have the desire to exercise self-control and to do that I have to exercise obedience, it’s just hard. The “I love you more” example from this week has helped a lot, especially this morning as I was grasping for any straw I could of why I wanted to stay in bed. It’s hard to admit that I lack self-control with Facebook temptations and a sluggard’s attitude. (Why hello, Pride. Do you ever go away?) This week was the perfect refresher I needed to point me back where I needed to be…or at least in the direction I need to be heading.

    Thanks, ladies for your honesty and prayers. I will be lifting you up to the Father this week. Much Love.

    P.S. I also loved the verse that said, “Knowing God leads to self-control. Self-control leads to patient endurance, and patient endurance leads to godliness.” 2 Peter 1:6 We are on the right track!

  6. Cherri and all....

    It is good for us to share, isn't it? But I feel it's necessary to confess that I have NOT maintained my self-control in this family matter as I would like to. Like you, Cherri, my hubby gets to "hear" it, and I'm thinking that's not exercising self-control as I feel the Lord is requiring. Thanks, Moe, for your comments too.

    Lastly, I find it interesting that most of us default to the "food" issue when the word self-control arises. Truthfully I wonder (as you indicated, Cherri) if that's not as much a priority with God as other character flaws? Can I say that I didn't care for Katie's example of the frozen yogurt with nonfat toppings and sugar-free this-and-that? Yes, it's healthier than alternatives, but it's too easy to make food an obsession, period. All things in moderation. I love frozen yogurt and choose it more often than not, but real ice cream and (dare I say *gasp*) even hot fudge itself is not a sin. It's how we're using food or shopping or sex or... It's a concept God & I are working on together.

    Thanks for indulging me. Now on to patience (good grief, looks like I'm going to get an opportunity to build all kinds of character from this family situation!)

    Love to you all and prayers all around!


  7. Courage is 1 of 3 out of the 8 character qualities I actually think I possess, at least occasionally.
    I have been told that I have more "?????" than most men..Ha!
    I just need to ask for wisdom & humility before I say or do something really dumb.
    As far as self control, in certain areas, I'm very self controlled, such as finances.
    I have 4 addictions that I am aware of:
    Caffeine... because I work sooo early...2am...( What's up with that? )
    Sugar, I just like the way it tastes, a cop out, I know, but it's honest.
    T.V....Although, I am getting so much better at regulating it.
    The 4th... I'd rather keep between me & God.
    My MOUTH...and the thoughts that rummage so freely through my little mind... If I don't capture them and take them captive.
    Yesterday, I spent a good deal of time in prayer regarding a certain issue in my life. The Lord spoke to me that I have come a long way... I'm not where I need to be, for sure, But Praise God I'm not where I used to be... and it's all because of God's amazing grace.

    P.S. I agree with Diane on the frozen yogurt/Ice cream thing....I think I have bigger issues that these.

  8. Hello everyone!!

    So self-control... I am constantly faced with issues of controlling what I eat, what I buy, how much I exercise, etc. After reading this chapter, my biggest struggle area in this season of my life is having control over my schedule and time management. I am a Kindergarten teacher and a mother of five small kids - between work, kids, kids activities, my activities(which are not many), cleaning house, etc my schedule is pretty much crazy chaotic always. There was an anonymous quote in our book that caught my attention, "Most people are so busy knocking themselves out trying to do everything they think they should do, they never get around to what they want to do." This is very true for me. After reading Ephesians 5:16 "Use every chance you have for doing good, because these are evil times. So do not be foolish but learn what the Lord wants you to do." I have spent lots of time in prayer and examining all of the things on my schedule. I don't for see my life being calm any time soon (at least 20 years) but I pray God will help me see the things that He wants me to do so I can make them a priority!!!

    Tina :)

  9. Thanks, Lynn, for reminding us that "we are not where we used to be..." We are all growing in "increasing measure" in the areas of faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection, and love as Peter encourages us to do in 2 Peter 1: 5-8. We would not be in Bible study if this were not true of us.

    I want to thank you girls for your prayers. Peter and I went out to lunch yesterday, and I was able to ask for his forgiveness, and he graciously gave it. There is definitely power in the confession of sin and the loving prayers of friends...the perfect mix for the Holy Spirit to work!

    Now, as Diane said..."on to patience"!!!:)

    Hey, at the end of this, why don't we all get together for a non-fat, no-sugar, carob-prune ice cream with dried fruit topping to celebrate:)???? JUST KIDDING!!!!:)

    Love ya!


  10. Oh, Tina, you and Erica ("Life by the Handful") can surely relate to each other. Reading Erica's post, she seems to be right where you are...listening and obeying, even if it simply means a walk around the block.

    I remember those days of having a crazy, chaotic, active family with fondness now:). However, I also remember the frustration and weariness as well, and so for that reason, you have my prayers!

    Lord, bless these young families!

    Love to you,


  11. Hi Ladies,
    I have been working on self-control all my christian life, the one thing that I have learned is we can't control our self. Without the total surrender to the Holy Spirit we will loose this battle every time. The main 2 areas I struggle regarding self control is exercising and diet. Phil 4:13 is a verse I have used for years that helps me understand that Christ will help me if I will surrender. Its says: "I can do all things thur Christ who gives me strength. As we apply this verse to our lives we realize that it is only thur Christ that we walk in victory regarding self control. God Bless as we move on to patience, have a wonderful time.

  12. I am really loving this book and God is certainly showing me so many things, most of which are hard to look at. Thirty two years of loving Jesus and there's still so much need for transformation. We won't "get there" until we get there (heaven).

    I'm still catching up, just started "Patience" this week. How am I supposed to choose just 1 or 2 action steps from self-control? I guess I'll choose the 1 or 2 biggest.

    Erica, I can relate to spending too much time on the computer, and our family watches more TV than we should, such a time waster - and even though we watch together, there are many more activities we could be doing together that would be more beneficial.

    And so many of you mentioned needing self-control with food. I'm afraid I don't focus much on this, meaning I pretty much allow myself to eat whatever I want, whenever I want. Weight is not a big issue for me (although I know I have plenty to lose if I wanted to), but I do believe that I should make healthier food choices and realize that this too is an area in need of obedience. I hate to attach the word "sin" to eating, because it makes me accountable in a bigger way, but the truth is "if I know what I should do, but don't do it, that is sin". So, I know what's healthy and what's not, so if I don't obey in this, guess what? It's sin. Ugh. So, I'm inviting God into this part of my life and asking Him to increase my desire to obey Him in this. And the same with exercise. I want to walk in the maturity of doing what I should do even when I don't feel like it. That's part of being a grown-up, right? :)

    I want to ask you all if and how you observe Sabbath rest in your lives. I've often thought and wondered about this - it is one of the commandments, so it is obviously something we should value, but I've heard very little taught on the subject. I understand the value and need of rest in our lives and know I function better when I have some space for it, but I've not created a regular block of time each week for Sabbath rest and defined what that would look like. I'd love to hear from you about this.

    God bless you all and I love reading all of your journeys. I'm so glad I'm a part of it. I would also love to get together when we're done.

    Love to you!

    Robin :)

  13. So many things to say to the many things you've all said.

    Lynn, I envy your self-control in finances. I vacillate on that one. And although I think I have a pretty good handle on my tongue -- it's selective. More control with all of you, then with my husband. But there's been a noticeable improvement since this study!

    Sabbath was the big one for me, Robin. Too easy to always have something to do -- whether work or fun. But when do I ever just "chill" and give that still small voice time to speak. Or allow "random thoughts" to roam around my head? Well, I did today. I keep thinking if God's telling me to do something, then I better figure it out.

    Along with that, I'm trying something a little risky with my August schedule for Curves. I'm only putting myself on the actual work schedule 3 days a week for the month in an effort to organize my time for a new product launch for Curves and the Moms and More transition to MOPs with new leadership.

    Again, I feel the Spirit prompting me to do this and I so want to obey. I'll let you all know how it goes.

    Finally, Cherri, I'm with you about the get-together, as long as you don't make me eat carob-prune ice cream. :-)

    Love you all...Diane


    ...your humble sister, Diane :-)

  15. You are so funny, Diane:) I was thinking about sitting down this morning to blog on Patience, but I bought this new writing course that I have downloaded and was impatient to get started:) You were my sweet Lord's prompting to get that going!

    Love ya, humble sister!


  16. Robin,
    Unfortunately I don't observe the Sabbath in any special way. When growing up we weren't allowed to go out to eat on Sundays because that would force others to work and my dad wouldn't let us play cards. I'm told that my grandparents wouldn't let my dad go to the beach on Sundays or do any type of chores. I'm guessing that as my dad loosened up I just thought of these things as antiquated. Now I'm thinking that it was in place for a reason since Sundays look no different for me then any other day of the week, aside from going to church. Right now I think my morning walks are my Sabbath. It's my time to listen to worship and talk to the Lord.

    I had a friend who used to do all of her cooking on Saturday for Sunday meals so the only thing she had to do was take it out of the fridge.

    Here is an excerpt from her blog as she explains their decision to observe the Sabbath in this way:

    "It is the job of the Holy Spirit to "teach us and remind us of all things." He will speak different truths to different families at different times and this is not relativism because the priciple remains the same: to honor the Sovereign Lord of the Universe in very practical ways and, thereby, to give us, His children, His BEST!

    And so it stands to reason that our Saturdays don't look the same as other families' either. But the basic principles are these:

    1. Sundays belong to the Lord for His glory and our rest. Sundays belong to the Lord for worship. Even the focus of our rest and our games and our delight should be the worship of God. I should perhaps give scriptural clarification here but I think that if you're truly interested in honoring the Lord on this day set apart from all others, you can think for five minutes and come up with about 3 verses that lead you to the same conclusion. For us, the first one starts "Six days you shall labor and do all your work but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God..."

    2. Because Sundays belong to rest and the cessation of normal activity, Saturdays must belong to hard work, preparation, and the continuation of normal activity."

    Curious to hear what the block of time you spoke about consists of.


  17. I enjoyed what you had to say about the Sabbath, Erica. I like the quote "Sundays belong to the Lord for His glory and our rest." This can be value we remember when trying to figure out how it plays out practically in our lives. No, I don't have a block of time set aside to observe the Sabbath. I was just considering what that might look like in our family's life and have known that we haven't practiced this or passed this value on to our kids in a clear way. I wouldn't want it to turn into a long list of things we can't do, if that makes it feel like a real downer to the kids. I'd hate to create a negative feel to it. I will be praying about it and see how God leads. I like the idea of using no electronic gadgets on Sundays, like ipods, computers, etc. Maybe even TV - Yikes! This could make room for more valuable, God-honoring and family building activities. Just brainstorming here.

    On the other hand, like your example of taking your walks, Erica, I wonder if the idea of the Sabbath, focusing on rest, is a more flexible concept that should be worked into our life regardless of the day of the week. If Sunday is to be my day of rest, honestly I'm pretty wiped out after going to and serving at church. I do usually have a wonderful Sunday nap, however. :) Anyway, just more brainstorming.

    I love what God is telling you, Diane, about scaling back at work. You definitely could be spread very thin with all that God has brought your way, so I can see how vital it will be to follow His lead on how to see to it all. He is so faithful and I know He will continue to lead you perfectly and personally,

    Love to you sisters!

    Robin :)


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