Every day I want to grow in my faith. To me, growing in my faith means a constant surrendering of my own desires and my own feelings, so that I can be available to what God is saying, to what He is doing, and to what He is showing me. I want to do all that I can to steward the words, knowledge, talents, gifts, resources He has given me…but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
There’s a paragraph in 2 Peter 1 that talks about this very thing; growing in faith. Here’s what it says:
A commentary on this chapter by David Guzik (love his stuff!) says:
Though we are partakers of the divine nature and are made spiritual sons and daughters, growth in the Christian life doesn’t just happen to us. We are supposed to give all diligence to our walk with the Lord. The beautiful qualities are not things that the Lord simply pours into us as we passively receive. Instead, we are called to give all diligence to these things, working in partnership with God to add them.
This is a mic drop moment for David Guzik because that word is the bomb.
And this brings me back to my word for 2022. It’s pretty cool, it’s trendy, it’s motivating, it’s…
Yep, self-control. It’s something I’ve really felt God speak to me about over the last few months in particular. There are many areas in my life where I have self-control, but there are also definitely areas where I need to build that muscle. And speaking of muscle…there are two key areas of my life that I’d like to focus on self-control this year.
SELF-CONTROL IN MY PHYSICAL HEALTH
Despite what I look like and weigh right now, there was a time before having kids where I was healthy, fit, lifting weights, and eating the right food. I was working full-time, so I’d wake up at 4am four mornings a week and go to the gym before work. I had a lot of self-control!
But when I became pregnant for the first time, I was definitely not prepared for how this would change. I went from someone with seemingly boundless energy to being incredibly fatigued most of the time. Because I was still working full-time, it was pretty much work, eat whatever I could stomach (usually fast food), sleep and repeat. Praise the Lord I birthed a healthy little boy, but man so much changed.
Looking back I think I suffered a bit of depression early on. I know it’s normal to cry after giving birth, but I cried all of the time for a good while. My life had completely changed, and my body did too. Overwhelmed at the challenges a new mum can experience and how “un-me” I felt, I feel like for at least the first year it was about survival. I prioritised sleep and convenience above all else and had many failed attempts to get back into exercise.
But even though I was striving to do things that made me feel like – me, and provided some sense of normality, I felt God’s grace in that season. Grace to not have to live up to my own expectations or social media’s, but to focus on the day-to-day and what was in front of me. Everything I did was to prioritise our son, and any attempt I made to do something for me, the “mum guilt” would be there.
It’s been a few years since then and with another beautiful child in the mix, I can testify that it does get easier. And then more challenging. But then definitely easier. And then challenging, and you guessed it, easier. But the guilty feeling for taking a moment to myself is something that is a work in progress, and probably always will be. My natural desire and instinct as a mother are to put others first, so I’m sure any chance to look after me will almost always feel wrong.
But what I can recognise from these last few years in my life is there are seasons where you can sense Gods grace covering you. And though God’s grace always does, I think there are times where it’s no longer about having grace or giving yourself grace, but having self-control.
That’s the season I’m in right now. Yes, God’s grace enables me, but I cannot allow it to be an excuse for not having self-control in my own life. We’re not just saved by His grace, we’re enabled by His grace, and this is something that I’ll be reminding me throughout this new season.
SELF-CONTROL IN MY SPIRITUAL LIFE
Before starting our family, I used to leisurely jump out of bed, fit in a work out then sit down to enjoy my hot coffee whilst I spent an hour reading/praying/writing. And for the past few years, I’ve been waiting for those moments to return, but the thing is, in this season of my life – it seems pretty luxurious.
I’ve come to the realisation that instead of a sit down meal, I need to be okay with snacks. It doesn’t mean my relationship with God isn’t as strong as it was. It’s just that in this season of raising littles, it will look different and that’s okay. But even still, it’s amazing how much can be fit into one day with focus and prioritisation. If I can find time to leisurely scroll on social media or watch Netflix, even just for 10 minutes, then I can find time to read my bible and pray.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines self-control as “restraint exercised over one’s own impulses, emotions, or desires.”
So as I go into this new year, this is how I’m choosing to set my mind. To have self-control in many areas, but particularly in my health and spiritual life. This will most likely mean short-term pain, for long-term gain. To not let my feelings dictate what I eat, what I do, what I say, and what I think, but to partner with God in every circumstance and see those beautiful qualities grow in my life.
To be continued!
With so much love,