My oldest and I were chatting the other day about how much she has changed over the past decade. At 17, she is a much different person than she was a 7. We laughed as we reminisced about drama-filled moments over clothing choices or bedtime routines. We can laugh now, but I wasn’t sure I was going to make it through some of those mind-boggling scenes. Today, she is maturing into a young woman who listens to our life coaching and instruction, even if she still forgets to return my clothes that she borrows.
Paul spoke of maturity and immaturity in the book of 1 Corinthians when he addressed the believers in the local Christian church. He admonished them for bickering among themselves, jealousy, and a lack of self-control. In Paul’s words, they were “acting like people who don’t belong to the Lord” (1 Cor 3:3 NLT). Sounds like any good parent accusing their kids of being raised in a barn, doesn’t it? Well, he was right. People who belong to the Lord ought to act like it.
But, we often don’t.
That’s why today I’m continuing a post from earlier this week. I promised to share 3 practical decisions that produce good results of self-control. These 3 decisions are part of my plan to live a mature Christian life. Here you go:
- Stay fresh and recharged throughout my day. This means I take strategic breaks throughout the day so my nerves don’t fray. It also means that I use a family calendar to plan ahead for all activities in order to avoid those stress-inducing moments of rushing out the door or forgetting last-minute items.
- Recognize my triggers. When the drama is escalating in my house, I send my kids to their room until I have time to calm down. (Remember James 1:19!) 30 minutes can make the difference between a screaming match or a teachable moment. I employ the same method with my hubby. If my temper is rising, I’ll sometimes tell my hubby it is not a good time to talk and that I need time to chill so we can talk about the issue without an escalating war of words.
- Look for God’s activity. Left to my own devices, I’ll forget about God throughout my day. Sad, but honest. Yet, if I make a simple plan to pray at points during my day, I force myself to pay attention to Him and His work. Praying at meals, before my kids come home, or each time I hop in my car helps me stick closely to the One I want guiding my steps!
Friends, the Kingdom is full of toddlers who aren’t spiritually mature enough to navigate their own desires. Let’s not lead spiritually stunted lives! Let’s grow and mature. Let’s not excuse poor attitudes and bad behavior. Let’s stay alert, recognize our triggers, and keep God front and center in our minds.
Thankfully, our God is able to steer the course for us….if we are willing to use some self-control.