Faith & Wellness

Self Control: Saying no to the things that tempt us most.

I’ll never forget standing in my kitchen that day, the key player in this illustration of a gross lack of self control. One example of many, I listened as a stressful situation unfolded on the other end of my smart phone.

Processing possible solutions and trying to diffuse the situation, I felt the intensity bubble up in my own soul.

I wanted to make things better.

…and I couldn’t.

At the conclusion of the conversation, I looked down at the kitchen counter realizing, disgusted, that I had just mindlessly consumed three large chocolate chip cookies.

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I ate my feelings…

I *eat* my feelings.

I couldn’t control the situation – but I could control the false sense of comfort from the brief dopamine drip that sugar would bring.

My vice.

What’s yours?

Is it stress-eating? Lashing out with your words before you think? Smoking? gambling? Some other more frowned-upon addiction?

Whatever has you in chains – the reason is the same. 

The area in which we lack the most self-control is the exact place we believe the lie that tells us that we will feel good after doing what we know we’ll regret.

We justify.

We ignore the still small voice.

Just this once. 

How do we recover? Regardless of how the world views your struggle, no matter what it is, there has to be a way to loosen it’s grip on us.


Wait 15 minutes.

When you feel like you’re going to burst. Look at the clock and force yourself to wait 15 minutes – usually the urge will pass or lessen significantly. Over time, that intensity will lessen.

Take one minute at a time.

Realize that when we think too far into the future, we want to give up. Focus on the present moment and do the next right thing.

Find accountability.

It can be embarrassing to admit your shortcomings to the people you love, (Trust me – I’m admitting mine to the world.) but often this is the first step to change. When you’re feeling like you might succumb to the thing you want to avoid, call someone that you know will hold you accountable – someone you’ve asked to “check-in” with you. Someone who can encourage you along the way.

And most importantly:

Fill your mind with truth.

The easiest and yet the hardest step to take. In fact, you might even be skimming my words by now. (I’m not offended, I’m a skimmer too.)

Why do we always blow off the concept that we should go to God first?

Have you ever done it? Really sought Him at the beginning of whatever you are facing?

Why does it seem hard, when it’s not? Can I tell you the most true and honest words on my heart right now?

Seeking the Creator of the Universe when our life starts to spiral into undesirable places is the easiest and most immediately fulfilling step we can make.

But like anything, we just have to DO IT.

Memorize this:

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 1 Corinthians 10:13

Know this friends – I write about things that are near and dear to my heart. It bothers me that I’m an emotional eater, not because eating sweets is bad, but because I lack self-control. Sharing with you is a window into my life that also helps to keep me accountable. We do life together.

I encourage you to read the book Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst for more encouragement in this area. It is full of great words of wisdom that are worth reading again and again. She even has a workbook to go with it!

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1 thought on “Self Control: Saying no to the things that tempt us most.

  1. One of mine is shopping and buying things that I do not need. It is a rush at the moment but then later I get so angry at myself that I wasted the money and was so foolish. I like your suggestions to defeat the habit and of course the reminder to go to God first.

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