I have really been struggling with self control. Am I the only one? It sure does feel really lonely in this situation. My heart is tangled with guilt, shame, and condemnation. I feel like such a dirtball that I would disrespect God by falling back into old habits and sins. He had cleansed me totally of all negative emotions and outlooks. He had cleansed my heart and soul. I was completely surrendered to Him and followed the Holy Spirit’s guidance over everything else. I was so happy and thankful for all the work that He had done in me. And for the first time in my life I felt great about myself. I was full of life and on a mission to be my very best me every single day. If I knew that I needed or should do something I would do it as soon as I could with no hesitation. Like, I actually enjoyed washing the dishes! If I knew that I shouldn’t do something, no matter how much I might want to do it, I wouldn’t do it and I did not sit and ponder about it. It was like my spirit said, “no,” and the rest of me complied and said, “okay.” I was like a sponge trying to soak up all of the wisdom and understanding that I could about anything that would help me grow and be able to see the bigger picture in all things. I woke up every morning looking forward to the day with joy in my heart. That was completely different than I use to be. I use to wake up every morning in a bad mood and dreading the day ahead. But I was a brand new person and I felt that way too.
I remember praying at night that God protect this new found me and please help me to never go backwards. I was so thankful and appreciated Him so much that I never wanted to disrespect Him by messing up any of the work that He had done in me. I wanted to love and honor Him the best that I could by living right and for Him. I had never been at complete peace before. I had never experienced true happiness. I did not know what freedom of the past and love yourself meant before God did His miracle work in me. He had given me something that I never thought that I could have and He gave it to me even though I use to be the way that I was and did the things that I had done. So yeah, I did not want to dishonor Him by slipping back into old ways.
Knowing that I had such deep reverence, love, and appreciation for God you can imagine how I felt when I realized that I had fell back into sin and old ways. It was late one evening while I was sitting in my recliner watching T.D. Jakes. I remember hearing Him preaching but all of the sudden it sounded like it was far away. It was like I was listening from a great distance away even though the tv was only about 12 feet away from me. Then I heard these words suddenly jump out at me, “you have created a really bad habit and have fallen back into sin.” It was Mr. Jakes voice but those ten words were amplified times ten from the volume of the rest of the words that He was speaking. I instantly felt this grief come over my heart. My whole body got tingly as it felt like my heart was literally cracking into pieces. I felt so bad. The guilt and shame that came rushing in as I cried out for forgiveness was breath taking. I apologized and cried and apologized some more. I asked that He help me to be aware of my actions and to not give in to the temptations anymore.
As the days went on I would have one good day and then 3 bad days in a row. Then it got to where I was living in daily sin again. I felt so bad about myself and my fall backs were constantly on my mind. I had thoughts about how God had to be so disappointed in me and possibly even turned his back on me in shame. The enemy was having a field day with the negative thoughts and lies that he was putting in my head. I did not know enough at the time to know that I was under spiritual attack so I did not know what to do with what I had going on in me. Every temptation that I had became stronger and stronger each time it entered into my soul and I could not withstand it. The more bad attitudes that I had the more that I got mad at myself. The more that I did the things that I knew God did not want me doing the more worthless that I felt. Every time that I would fall into temptation I would become a little more powerless. Then it got to the point that I was numb to everything. I did not feel anything at all. All I sensed was emptiness inside. I had torn down the very foundation that I thought I was standing so firmly on.
I had fell back into some of the same bondages that God had already delivered and released me from once, “so to be sure He is not going to do it again.” That was the way that I thought about the situation for quite awhile. That is until about 4 years later when God finally spoke some words of comfort and freedom to me. Slowly He started to speak truth to me about me. He started working on the lies that Satan had embedded in my head. He had to break the chains that I had formed around my heart. He had to help me rebuild my foundation of faith all over again. The fact that He actually wanted to help me after the disrespect that I had showed Him showed me the amount of love and mercy that He has for me. I had gotten myself in a pretty dark and gloomy place but God was finally shining His light down on me, showing me the way back out.
The very first truth that God had to get me to believe was that I was no surprise to Him. He knew that I was going to have these set backs and fall backs. He knew that before He ever did the first work in me. He knew everything that there is to know about me because He created me with His own hands. How could I be a disappointment when He knew that I would do it. He was expecting it. He already knows everything that I will ever do in my entire lifetime. I am no surprise to God (PSALM 119:73, 139:16). When I actually believed and received this truth I felt a huge weight lift off my shoulders. I didn’t have to try to hide anymore. When God looks at me He sees me through Jesus. He sees my heart and not my actions. I was okay with God. There was no way that I could be perfect and I am not expected to be. Jesus was perfect for me. The only thing that God wants from me is for me to believe in the one that He sent to pay the price for my wrongdoing. All that we are asked to do is to believe.
Once God was able to speak truths back into my life and my heart I was able to be freed from all the chains that my disobedience, sins, and fall backs had caused. I was able to believe that I deserved better than what I was allowing myself. I no longer felt like I needed to pay for my actions. I didn’t have that cloud of shame hanging over me anymore. I was able to admit that I messed up big time, that I am not perfect nor can I be, and I am not expected to be. God is okay with me and He sees where I am going, not where I am at. I have power and control over the enemy through Jesus who lives in me (LUKE 10:19). I do not have to give into his schemes or the desires of my flesh. I deserve to have the best life that I can have and to be the best person that I can be because Jesus gave up His life so that I could do so. I can do it because I have God on my side always and forever. God saved me years ago when I invited Him into my heart and that will never change unless I stop believing in Him. He believes in me because He knows the plans that He has for me, to prosper me, to give me hope and a future.(JEREMIAH 29:11)
Some of the things that God lead me to do to help with strengthening my spirit were: Listening to good upbeat worship music so that I could be uplifted. To read the word everyday, rather it be the bible or a devotion or a short story about grace. we gotta get the truth in our hearts and keep them on our mind so that we can get grounded in the truth. To think, and speak out loud when I could, self confessions of who I am and the promises of God over and over everyday so that I could get them rooted in my heart and begin to believe them. To thank God for blessings and look for things to be thankful about to increase my joy. To make a choice to follow my heart where ever it leads me so that I could get use to following the spirit and get closer to God. And also to think about and focus on the benefits of following the Holy Spirit and the rewards of being obedient to encourage myself and gain endurance.
It is a domino affect that happens when condemnation and guilt fill our heart. The enemy uses condemnation to bring about guilt and shame. Guilt and shame bring on more condemnation and self rejection. Self rejection causes us to shy away from God. Then the worse we feel, the worse we act, and more guilt, shame, and self hatred come. On and on it goes until we feel lost and so far away from God that we don’t know how to get back to Him. And all of this can start with lack of self control, making the wrong choice or decision. It happened to me and it was the most miserable state of being that I ever experienced. I still struggle with self control but I hold onto the grace and mercy of God to get me threw the bad days. I hold on to the truth of His word and who I am in His eyes. None of us can or ever will be perfect on this side of heaven and we are not expected to be. God knows our heart and that is what counts. Don’t let guilt, condemnation, shame, regret, your weaknesses, your faults, your failures, or any other thing separate you from the grace and mercy of God. You have the fruits of the spirit within you but you may need to exercise them so that they can strengthen and become more of a natural response or action for you.
If you are struggling with self control, making right choices, following the Holy Spirit’s guidance or such I am going to add some of the things that God laid on my heart for me to think about and ponder on throughout the day that may help you in your struggle. 1. Life is about choices. We make many choices each day that will have an effect on our life and our future. 2. There are many things that I can do but they are not good for me to do and there are many things that I do not have to do but if I choose to do them anyway then I will produce something good for myself in the future. 3. Doing what I may not want to do or feel like doing will bring me more joy and peace than if I did not do it. 4. If I follow the Spirit I will end up at a good place in life but if I follow my flesh I will not like where I end up. 5. Every choice that I make will either bring me closer or further away from God. Without self control I will never end up with what I really want. 6. Let go of the excuses as to why I don’t do what I should and stop trying to have control so that the Spirit can lead. 7. If I want to grow and have the life that I want then I will have to do or not do some things that I may not want to do. But if I give up something that I really do not want to give up then I will actually be happier and something more enjoyable will replace it. 8. I can not always do what I want to do and expect to never get a bad result because we reap what we sow. 9. Having a guilty conscience steals my joy and peace. It contaminates my heart with negative emotions about myself and causes me to deny myself the best in life and to lose hope. Proverbs 17:22 says a cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken Spirit saps a persons strength. 10. You have power and authority over the enemy and your fleshly desires. You do not have to do what they say. You are free to choose to do what you know is best for you to do. You can take back the power that they have taken from you and use it to fight against them. 11. You are worth more. You deserve to have the best life that you can possibly have. Someone (Jesus) was willing to and did die for YOU so that you could have a better life and be able to love and accept yourself right where you are at, just as you are right now. He loved and died for you while you were still running around in the world without any concern of Him or anyone else. So of course He still loves you now that you know and accept Him, even though you are still a mess. All He ask of you is that you believe in Him and the work that He did on the cross for YOU. 12. He always provides a way out of temptation so look for the way that He is providing for you to resist the temptation. Get your mind on something other than what you are wanting to do. Think about the way that it will be when you are free from the sin and the benefits that it will have to giving it up. 13. STOP BEING YOUR OWN PROBLEM!! Stop causing the unhappiness and dissatisfaction that you are experiencing. You have the ball in your corner. You have 100% responsibility to where you go from here. Are you going to keep being silly (God actually used the word stupid when He spoke this to me but I felt that may not have been appropriate to say here) and keep doing the things that your doing or are you going to take responsibility for your life and do something with it? The choice is yours. I want you to have the best life that you can have and I have prepared something great for you but I will not make you do what you need to do to have it. It is totally up to you, and only you, where you go from here. This is some of the things that God laid on my heart that helped me work through my struggle with self control, temptation, choices, sin, and change. I thought these things and scripture on who I am in Christ throughout the day I would say scripture of who I am out loud while I was in the shower, riding in the car, or sitting at home alone. Sometimes I would go in the bathroom and stand in front of the mirror and say these things to myself. After awhile I felt a power coming back in me and noticed that I was not giving into some of my temptations. I noticed a joy coming back to my heart and a sense of God’s presence the more that I made right choices. The feeling of guilt and shame was fading away as time went on and I got the truth of how God feels about me embedded back in my heart. Plainly put, I started feeling better and living life with God again because I took back the control over myself that I had given to my flesh and the enemy. If you have lost your power and control then take it back today. Make the decision that you are not going to let anyone or anything else, other than Jesus, to control you or your life.