I've never claimed to be a writer, but it's nice to have a place to put my thoughts down once in a while.


Lessons in Self-Discipline

It's amazing to me how God works. He uses common everyday things and events to teach us lessons. This week has been all about Self-Discipline and Will Power. Two of my weakest areas.

It all started last Monday night during the Signs of Grace Bible Study. We've been studying Eve and we had some questions about her eating that apple. That infamous apple. I agree with Liz Curtis Higgs in her book "Bad Girls of the Bible" (which is the Bible study we're doing). She thinks it had to have been at least a chocolate apple. Seriously though, she was tempted to eat the apple. She had a choice at that point. Eat or don't. And she chose her own way. In so many areas of my life, I choose my own way. I need to lean on God to help me. I need to do things that are pleasing to Him. I fail miserably every day. Some people might despair about this or think that God's standards are too high. Yes, I fail, I make wrong decisions, do the wrong things, say or think the wrong things. Yet, God still forgives. He loves me. He wants me to do better, to come closer to Him, to rely on Him for my every need. My poor excuse for self-discipline and will power needs to be strengthened by Him so that I can make better decisions.

So I got up on Tuesday morning and headed upstairs for breakfast and to leave for work. I saw a container of cookies that mom had left over from the prayer meeting. Almost without thinking I popped one in my mouth. It's 6:45 a.m. I don't need chocolate chip cookies at 6:45 a.m. Well, that one was so good, I decided to take some with me. So I wrapped two more in a paper towel and stuck it in my purse. I thought I'd eat them on the way to work. Instead, God started me thinking on that drive. He reminded me of the Bible study of the night before. About choices and sometimes the choices we make are bad for us. I started wrestling with myself in my mind about those cookies. I really wanted them. And I thought, "If I really wanted to, I could just not eat them." I felt like a smoker who says, "I could quit if I wanted to". Well, guess what. I've been down that road too and it's not that easy. I came to the conclusion that I wouldn't eat the cookies. It would be a test of my will power. Little did I know how much my will power would be tested. If you've read my previous post you'll know what happened that day. In fact, why don't you stop here and go read it, just to catch up. I'll wait.....

One of the hardest times I have when it comes to eating is in stressful situations. By golly, Tuesday was a stressful situation if I've ever been in one. I wanted those cookies, that comfort, so badly. But I resisted. God wants us to lean on Him in those times. In the past, I've relied on food to comfort me. I tried to deny that. I thought I handled stress fairly well. I mean, I quit smoking so I wasn't using that. I knew people used food, I just didn't think it was me.

We've been in Revival this week. Brett Miles was the speaker. He said something that stuck with me. Well... He's said a lot of things that have stuck with me. But this one in particular relates to my tale. This isn't verbatim but basically, God doesn't test us just once and be done with it. To me, this makes sense. If all I have to test me were those two cookies, I'm doomed. When you're preparing for something - a test, performing a song, surgery, whatever - you don't work on it once and then you're ready. You continue to prepare. So I've been continuing to prepare these past two weeks. Every day it seems something comes at me. At work, it's usually something I've messed up, sometimes it's something I messed up months ago that's now surfacing. At church, it's more internal. The devil is really poking at me these days. I can get to church in the best mood, excited to be there, can't wait to start. Then, something will happen with the kids or someone will do or say something that will upset me (without realizing it). I think God lets us go through these things to make us stronger. We have to lean on Him, surrender our burdens to Him. He's big enough, He can take it. It brings us closer to Him, makes our faith stronger and teaches us what having a Heavenly Father means.

I'm still struggling. The Lord knows I am. With everything that's been happening and being so busy these past few weeks, I'm exhausted. I'm going camping this weekend. I know I'll be tested even there. Not by "roughing it" or anything like that, but God knows what my test is going to be. Despite this fact though, I'm really looking forward to going. It will be a nice break from the kids and hopefully, I can come back refreshed and ready to meet my struggles head on. With God leading me of course.

So pray for me, you who may be reading this. And if you have struggles and tests in your life, post me a comment so I can pray for you.