Are you in Control or Out of Control? How Self-control Can Change Our Lives

Are you in control or out of control?

I was working on my computer, and I just happened to have a sudden surge of inspiration to write about this specific function, the Control key (Ctrl). It helps in executing functions, along with some other key combinations to achieve a certain command. Like, Ctrl+Alt+Del would would reset a windows operated computer or Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V would get you copying and pasting words and images in a jiffy. These combos are what techies call “hot buttons” or “shortcut keys” because you don’t have to drag your mouse cursor. Why am I sharing this? I’m led to the verse:

“God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1: 7)

What’s the implication of having the spirit of self-control? Let us review then, what are the things that are in our control and what aren’t.

What to do about the things we can’t control.

Right off the bat, we can say that the weather, traffic, and other people’s reactions aren’t in our control. There are certain outcomes that are caused by external elements — and we can’t do anything about it. Yet, we sometimes get “out of control” in complaining about them or we worry too much about ’em. Here’s a model that makes sense to me. It’s shared by a monk on you tube.

It provides a model of not worrying or how worrying is useless. I like this part: Do you have a problem in life? Yes. Can you do something about it? No. Then why worry?” There will be things that will be beyond our capacity to change. I’m reminded of a prayer: “O God, give us the serenity to accept what cannot be changed, the courage to change what can be changed, and the wisdom to know the one from the other” (Niebuhr). Also, here’s an advice from St. Paul, “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God” (Phil. 4:6).

What to do about the things we can control.

What is within our control is our reaction. Early in my ministry days in YFC, we were taught not be a slave to our emotions. We are to be masters of our emotions. We are to control our emotions — in other words, to have “self-control” and think about the consequences of our reactions. We’ve got to have a proactive attitude (Covey). The model above suggests: “Do you have a problem in life? Yes. Can you do something about it? Yes. Then why worry?” I think that self-control starts with having a positive attitude about life; not to dismiss problems, but to face them with courage with less energy (or none) devoted to worrying. 

If we combine, Control + other functions in life, we’ll have better output. Like Ctrl+Cravings or Ctrl+Reactions or Ctrl+Work Time or Ctrl+Leisure. It is a key to discipline and puts order in our lives. Self-control combined with other life functions are “hot buttons” for our success.

God is in control

Whether or not we can control circumstances or not, one thing we have to remember is to surrender — to put our lives in the hands of God. He gives us the grace to have self-control, and He gives us possibilities when it’s beyond our reach. We are given free will, and part of that is the freedom to trust Him to direct our ways.  We’re not puppets, we are God’s children — free to obey His will. If we allow God to take control of our lives, we’ll have the best life possible!

Entrust your works to the LORD, and your plans will succeed. (Proverbs 16: 3)





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