Confession: I have no self control

I’ll let you infer whatever you’d like from that title. It’s not 100% accurate. I don’t drink obsessively (though I love to tweet about it!), I am pretty good about eating clean food but I don’t beat myself up over a piece of pie. We’ve been married a year with some serious bouts of baby brain but didn’t get pregnant.

Still, do you understand what I’m saying?

I have no self control.

The reality is, I never needed any self control.

When I was growing up, my childhood was very heavily focused on discipline. (I saw when I was growing up because it was a little bit different for my younger siblings.) This was executed with military precision. You could never say that you didn’t know the rules or why you were being punished. Discipline might actually the biggest part of what I remember about growing up and I remember a lot.

The choices were simple. You could A) obey the rules of your own volition or B) be physically forced to obey the rules. There were no other options. And, as you can easily guess, the former was the least painful but it in a big way it was also the least helpful. I never needed to make choices about anything. It was “eat or don’t eat”, never “what would you like?” And it couldn’t have been that way. With five kids making their own decisions, things deteriorate into mob rule very quickly.

I remember the first time I was getting ready to leave my college campus with a friend. I pulled my coat on, grabbed my purse and then started running towards another friend’s dorm. It took me until almost knocking to realized that I didn’t have to tell anyone where I was going before I left.

That minor incident changed everything.

The world went from never being allowed to make a decision bigger than apple or orange, Hanson or Hillsong to I can do whatever the heck I want. And no one ever has to know.

You can use your imagination to figure how bad the next year was.

Especially after I moved back in with my parents after school.

And now? I don’t know if it’s really possible to develop self control. Is it? Has anyone else woken up in their late 20s to realize they have none or at least none where it really counts and been able to change?

This post isn’t to imply that I’m going to throw in the towel and stop trying. It’s more about confessing a weakness, (something I’m terrible at also!) and possibly reaching out and asking for help.

What are your thoughts? Does self control come naturally to you?

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Confession: I have no self control

  1. does self control come naturally to me?

    oh hell no.

    i have to force myself to get things done. it’s really difficult. i struggle all the time with procrastination. the only thing that helps me is choosing one thing i have to accomplish and systematically, almost compulsively, focusing on it until it’s done. i have to ignore everything else.

    i have to make a conscious effort to not be impulsive.

    this is my life. and i’m 39. with 2 kids.

  2. I think you’re on to something here. I do feel like self control was a wee bit easier as a younger person because, like you said, there was the discipline fact with parents. There was that accountability there. As an adult, I do find it a bit more challenging to have self-control because nobody is telling me otherwise. What you ask here is a very good question and one I think I will have to ponder on in my own life a bit more. Thanks for sharing :)

  3. What Sharideth said. We’re human beings and unfortunately our human nature wants what it wants. Controlling that is difficult at times, impossible on the whole without God’s strength to back us up.

    I think for all of us, it’s always going to be a struggle because self-control is always at war with selfishness and selfishness is a much easier master, though far less rewarding in the long run.

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