It’s our last week looking at these characteristics or ways of being in the world and the final thought is about self control, defined as
“the ability to control oneself, in particular one’s emotions and desires, especially in difficult situations.”
We read a great story about Blue Kangaroo and his owner Lilly who couldn’t seem to stop showing off, seems she had very little self control, which I guess is ok being a child…children don’t have a whole lot, it comes as they mature…possibly?!?
It’s also quite fitting as a theme as it’s the start of lent, with many people giving up or taking up challenges, many of which require an element of self control!
So does it come naturally, is it something we grow into? Is it a characteristic we’re born with or something we have to nurture and work at?
It’s not always a popular concept, often seen as a negative as we avoid the chocolate or the cigarette or the shoe shop?!? But what if it’s far deeper than that, what if so much of the evil in our world can be attributed to lack of self control and what if the events we’re so quick to question God about are actually more about our own humanity?
I’ve talked to people who can’t comprehend that a God exists who could allow events such as those that took place in Florida last week; maybe they have good reason to be sceptical of such a God…yet I’ve also read a book this week which offered this as a thought:
“God lets tyrants succeed, and God let’s me make my own mistakes again and again. He does not enforce his own commandments. Gods total allowing of everything has in fact become humanities greatest complaint…if we’re being honest God is both a scandal and a supreme disappointment to most of us. We would prefer a God of domination and control to a God of allowing…” *
What if I don’t actually want to have to have self control? What if I want some supreme force to sort my life out for me, one I can be miffed with when things don’t go to plan however trivial or serious!? What if that’s not how it works, what if that supreme force, divine being, spirit, God (however you define it) doesn’t ‘control’ in the way we’ve been conditioned to think he does but instead offers us free will along with self control and an abundance of love and grace and mercy for those moments where we are far too human?! Just a thought…
* creds to Richard Rohr, Immortal Diamond