A few months ago, a friend of mine offered me a ride home in her brand new expensive car. Just as we were admiring all the fancy gadgets in her car, the engine shut down and we were rolling down a hill with no power steering or brakes! We began to panic as her brakes would not work. Fortunately, as I was instructing her to drive up the bank on the right to slow us down instead of driving straight into the on-coming intersection of traffic, she found a way to restart the car. Praise the Lord! Being out of control is not a pleasant feeling!
Many of us are struggling with this feeling day after day. There is something (or several things) that are controlling us instead of us controlling them! An addiction to food, alcohol, shopping, rage, exercise, gossip, masturbation, perfection, drugs, cutting, or pornography are just some of the things that can control our behavior. Emotions of anxiety, depression, or fear may also be controlling us. One of the fruits of the Spirit that God offers us is self-control. “For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7). In this verse, the word self-control uses the Greek word which means moderation, soundness of mind, discipline and self-control. In other words, Timothy is telling us to use our sound mind to consider if we are doing something in moderation. Are we controlling it, or are we being excessive about our behavior which will eventually lead to it controlling us?
One year I was experiencing a lot of stress and loneliness while teaching English in Asia. I discovered a street market that was selling sweaters very cheap. After I bought one, I felt really happy for the first few times I wore it. The next time I felt a deep pang of sadness and anxiety, I decided to go buy another sweater in order to feel better. For a few months, I continued to run to the market whenever I was feeling lonely. The problem is that after a few days, the emptiness would return. In fact, if I was honest with myself, the sadness was growing even deeper. Running to shopping to comfort my soul was only creating another problem of wasting my finances. The beginning of finding victory from an addiction or any other area in which we lack control is to admit that we are trying to cover up some kind of longing in our soul. The next step is to confess this to God, repent of trying to meet our own needs independent of God, and ask the Lord to fill our deep longings.
Excerpt from // Mission Impossible