Self Controlling

We have all been around controllers!

Air Traffic ControllerNitpickers. Micro-managers. Controllers of everything around them. Generally, not a fun person to be around.

Of course, there are some controllers that are good for all of us. Air Traffic Controllers are very important to our safety!

Still, it’s the personality of the role of a controller that we struggle with. Just ask any teenager!

But there is an aspect of controlling that we need to be aware of:

Self Control –  restraint exercised over one’s own impulses, emotions, or desires

Without self control we are generally loose cannons. In olden times, cannons on a sailing ship where corralled at a shooting port. If it ever slipped its moorings then it was a dangerous rolling weapon of mass destruction. A loose cannon.

Wise Solomon even taught we need to exhibit self control, which is strange because it seems he was out of control on some aspects of his life!

A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.
(Proverbs 25:28 ESV)

When you lose control you open yourself up to destruction. There is a chink in your armor. Influences outside of your control invade your domain and wreck havoc with your image, power, personality, and emotions.

Yet the opposite personality has an equal number of issues. A controller is often brash and rejected by others. I worked for a man who never saw this personality quirk in himself, yet all of us who were direct reports felt the lash of his controlling attitude. It brought out the worse in us, and I could tell you stories about this!

There must be a balance. You cannot control everything around you, but you can be in control of self!

The Apostle Peter mentioned self control one time, but the Apostle Paul references it twelve times in six different epistles! Must have been important to the early church.

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. (2 Peter 1:5-9 ESV)

Notice his challenge: Make Every Effort! Self control, along with faith, virtue, knowledge, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection and love. Self Control is important!

The Apostle Paul continually told the church in Corinth, Galatia and Thessalonia – Practice Self Control! He preached the same message to his protege, Timothy. In fact, to Timothy he says it is a God given spirit of “self control” (2 Timothy 1:7)

Here’s a key. I speak from personal knowledge, and I do mean personal! You cannot be in control of self without having tools to help you learn control, and some measurement to determine if self control is working. I am a pack rat, and a collector of all things that make no sense. Over the years I have not wanted to get rid of things that may mean something later on. From coffee mugs, to key chains, and even maps, I collect things that mean something for a time.

Coffee mugs often showed where I traveled, key chains because they were often free, and maps show me where I would love to travel to!

I unloaded my enormous coffee mugs some years back, and kept unique ones. Key chains are in the process of going out the window. But maps will probably be with me for a while!

What I have learned is that my personality throws every effort into something when I decide to get involved. From learning to fly, or completing my college degrees – I jump in with both feet and get completely wet!

It’s an all or nothing approach. At the age of 19, I married my bride and for nearly 41 years we have enjoyed being best friends. This will never change, even though friends come and go.

I think the resulting measurement is the amount of clutter you have around. Not in the hoarding sense, but more in the control of space.

One last thought. I read an article of a family who lived and traveled the world by sail boat. With all the ports of life, and the limited space available, a conscious decision was made to never add anything to their boat without something being taken away. This saved them from clutter, and from spending money just to have a souvenir. Hmmm….



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