Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Two Faces of Self Control

For some reason as I was washing dishes today I was reflecting on self control. I was thinking about several things that all seemed to have self control as the common denominator (procrastination on homework, household chores, physical exercise, sexual purity, shopping restraint). And yes, my mind does wander alot while washing dishes, thank you for noticing. Anyway, it struck me that really there are two kinds of self control.

First, there is self control that allows you to say no. This is the kind that I am not too bad at. I like to think I don't give into peer pressure alot. I've never been drunk, rarely broken the law, can stay away from sweets when I want to, and rarely buy something that is more expensive then I can afford. This kind of self control, the ability to restrain oneself, is useful to stop oneself from financial ruin, addictions, overextending oneself, and other vices.

Secondly, there is the self control that allows you to stick to doing what you decided ahead of time to do. This is the kind that I am not so good at. I do most of my assignments the day before they are due, I put off doing routine maintenance on everything (my poor house and car!), I allow personal projects to go way past their target dates of completion (ah, Howardville videos), and I find it very difficult to keep up regular exercise. The ability to have self control in doing things allows people to excel, to succeed, to be a role model, and to gain honor in other's eyes.

Complicating this discussion is that "self control" is a fruit of the Spirit. "God, please grow this fruit in me!" Now, if you'll excuse me I must get back to my paper . . .

May Light increase!

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