Achieving Your Bigger Goals by Using a Little Self-Control

Walking into Chick-fil-A, I give myself the pep talk … Grilled chicken salad and a bottle of water…..I arrive at the counter and the friendly looking guy in the grease-stained cap asks the dreaded question, “What can I get for you today?” I open my mouth “Grilled—ya know what? Never mind, I’ll take the number nine. Go ahead and made that a large. Oh, and would you mind throwing in one of those chocolate chip cookies to go? Ok. Thanks.

As I’m nibbling on the remainder of my warm, gooey, heavenly-tasting cookie,

regret inevitably ensues

I begin to calculate how many cycles of the 30-day shred I’m going to have to complete before I recover from this meal. Good grief, why couldn’t I have gotten that dad-gum grilled chicken salad? Where is my resolve? Why can’t I get it right? After the initial beat-down, new resolve picks up momentum and I purpose to stick with the grilled chicken next time, but my mind wanders to this issue of self-control.

There are a lot of voices that tell us to go for broke. Eat whatever you want. Do whatever you want. Say whatever you want. Be whatever you want. No need to consider where that choice will take you, just do what feels good, right now. These things sound nice… in the moment (Just like my greasy french fries and chocolate chip cookie).

But does it give me the end result I’m looking for?

Just because it’s on the menu doesn’t mean it’s in my best interest. Just because it popped into my head doesn’t mean it should be said. And just because I have a desire doesn’t mean I should pursue it.

Sometimes refraining is the better choice for the greater good.

When Mr. Coppertop has gotten on my last nerve. It sure would feel great to throw caution to the wind and say whatever pops into my head. But if I’m honest with myself, as much as I don’t feel like forgiving and pursuing reconciliation in that moment, withholding myself would have a much greater return in pursuit of a thriving marriage.

When I’m tired and irritable. I could just waltz through my day, snapping at whoever dares to cross my path, or I can withhold those desires and guard my mouth with the law of kindness. Yes! Because wholesome relationships are really what I want.

I could listen to reply when my friend starts talking about her political and parenting views,

Withholding my input in exchange for a deeper understanding of her heart.

I think there comes a point we need to follow a choice to the end and see if it would be in our best interest to possibly withhold. Refraining is definitely the harder choice because we have to exercise self-control. That might mean we have to bite our tongue, or turn down a temptation to ultimately achieve a higher goal.

It’s tempting to have Mr. C pick me up just one more bag of those heavenly, chocolate chip cookies. (Because I did just walk through the valley of the shadow of death when I gave birth to that child, and by golly, I deserve it!) …But I think for the sake of someday wanting to wear my jeans again…I’ll pass.

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What bigger goals are you looking to achieve by using a little self-control?


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  1. Self control? I’m not sure what that means. I still haven’t lost the baby weight. My baby is now eight.

    But at the same time, there’s something to be said for giving ourselves grace. I used to be anorexic. It’s quite easy for me to lose weight. All I have to do is hate myself enough to stop eating. Frankly, I’d rather love myself, and be a little bit chubby.

  2. I need self control when people have to put their political views on my plate. I am not a politician! Also the same with food. I give in too easily to cookies and chocolate. I want the ability to say no more , but we are all human. Have a great night Jessica?love, Terri

    1. I agree, sharing in people’s politics is a hard area for self-control. to be able to be kind and still stand up for your convictions is a challenging balance. Hope you have a relaxing evening! <3

  3. “Sometimes refraining is the better choice for the greater good.”—-> WOW! Just needed to read THAT line myself for what’s going on in my little world today. Thank you, Jesus, for perfectly timed messages!!! ??? great, great post!!!!

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