"He who has ears, let him hear..." Matthew 11:15 NIV
Yesterday, I was reading a book that I've been slowly making my way through since November. It is the Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges. It is not slow going because it is a bad book--it is actually a very good book, but it is very meaty and it takes me time to get through his books. When I was reading yesterday, everything went right over my head. I couldn't hear--I wasn't hearing. It just wasn't computing. Then, last night, I felt God convict me about how I needed to seek self-control in my life.
Right now I am on my own for a while and I am thankful for these experiences because God uses them in my life (each of the times I've been on my own with the kids for several weeks).
Throughout the fall we had a very steady routine, though there's always room for improvement. What I'm realizing now is that when there's someone else there, it's a lot easier to stay on track and do all the things you know you have to do. There isn't much time for doing anything but what you need to do.
But, when you're on your own, it's easy to plop down in front of the television even when nothing is on and it's easy to surf the internet or get distracted by the computer when I shouldn't be. Last night, I felt God convict me. I needed to seek self control--not self discipline, but self control. There are 2 shows I like--one I watch on the internet and NCIS and then I watch what I request from Netflix. I shared with my husband that I am only going to watch these things and otherwise the TV will be off. This morning I put a pillowcase over the computer during school time. The only time that I will be able to go on is during the kids' afternoon naptime. I did have to go on this morning for a minute when there was a neighborhood emergency and I couldn't find a phone number in the phone book. But, I turned it off right afterwards. And finally, the last area that I was convicted in is that I need to go to bed by 10 p.m. If I go to bed at that time, then I will be able to get up at 6 am and work out and have my quiet time before the kids get up at 7 am. The past 3 weeks, the kids and I had been getting up between 7:30 and 8:30 am and there just was never enough time to get our schooling done before nap/reading time in the afternoon. I realized that homeschooling wasn't fun for the kids because of 1) Autumn's procrastinating and 2) my procrastinating. Fun takes time and I need to get that time back.
So, I started back on track this morning and got up and opened up my Bible and the MacArthur Commentary for Luke first, and then read a few pages in Discipline of Grace. and Bridges' book confirmed and encouraged me by putting into words what God was laying on my heart. He talked about how we need to live "self controlled, upright, and Godly lives"--this reflects our heart towards ourselves, towards others, and towards God. (to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Titus 2:5 NIV)
I felt such encouragement and confirmation that this is what God wants me to do. In our sinful selves, we want to take the easy route and do what is satisfying in the moment--but it isn't satisfying in the long run. The other was from Proverbs 3:12 "because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in." NIV
Being self controlled isn't about punishing myself, it is about doing what I know is best for myself and my family and most importantly about doing what I know God wants me to do because it is by His grace that I am saved and it is by His grace that I am forgiven.