Self-control. That moment when you notice the bright red “Hot Now” sign at Krispy Kreme, but pass it on by. That moment when you get an email in your inbox from your favorite store about a HUGE 50% OFF SALE, but delete it anyway. That moment when you start taking back your life and not letting anyone else into the driver’s seat again. Whether you use self-control to keep from indulging on your favorite treats, spending your hard-earned money on clothes you don’t need, or to regain power over your life once again, a lack of it can ruin you and hinder you from living your life the way it’s meant to be.
Starting out on Weight Watchers, I lacked the self-control needed to truly have success on the program. It took a lot of wrong turns to learn that I didn’t need the comfort foods I had so often turned to anymore. I learned that by eating healthier foods I felt much better internally and about myself in general. It took time and a lot of strength and perseverance to build up a resistance every time those comfort foods were presented to me. Slowly, it became much easier to turn down the bad, unhealthy foods and choose the much healthier alternatives. I overcame the obstacles that stood in the way of me reaching my weight loss goals.
Although I learned self-control when it came to the food I put into my body, it has taken me a lot longer to apply that same self-control in my everyday life. I have been burned many times in the past because I didn’t speak up for myself and instead, let someone else take the reins on my life. I’ve let close friends control how I spent my time and even heavily influence my opinions on certain things. I let a guy control my emotions and happiness and somehow blame myself for why it didn’t work out between us. I can no longer let people walk all over me and take advantage of me. It certainly isn’t healthy and although I have greatly improved in this area, it’s still something I struggle with and continually work on daily. I am normally a follower in most situations and circumstances and tend to let other people take the lead. That has always been my nature. I’ve become more comfortable with that. It’s difficult for me to take the initiative because I want to avoid confrontations and arguments, so I hang back and let someone else decide for me. A life lived this way is very dangerous, I know. But while it’s not okay to let other people control your life, there is one who should.
“In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind” (Job 12:10).
A few months ago, I got a tattoo on my wrist that says, “Invictus”. This is Latin for undefeated or unconquerable. It actually comes from the poem entitled “Invictus”, not from the movie. I got it as a reminder that I am in control of my life, no one else. No one except God of course. God is the One and only who will ever have control and should have control over my destiny. He is the only One that I can give full rein to. When obstacles come in the form of stressful college classes, hard times between family and friends, or what’s expected of me in the future, I give it all over to God. It does not do me any good to sit around and dwell on the situation because sometimes there’s nothing I can do about it at the time. Not to mention, it’s a waste of time and energy to focus all your attention on something that is out of your hands. God knows what is best for me. He knows how the situation should and will be handled. He will also always be there for me so I know I’ll never have to face any situation on my own. It’s comforting to know that fact. To know that I am not alone and to know that I can get through anything when He is by my side. Who really wants to be alone when you’re faced with the tough circumstances life throws your way? It’s a burden lifted off my shoulders when I give all my worries and cares to Him. In time, this has become easier to do, but it is a fight within me that I work to improve so it becomes second nature to automatically turn to God and immediately take it to Him what is on my heart.
“Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you” (Psalm 73:23-25).
By William Ernest Henley 1849–1903
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.