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The fruit of the Spirit is … self-control. – Galatians 5:22–23 (NIV)
At the beginning of every year, I write out my goals for the coming year. In January, I noticed that “lose weight,” “manage time better” and “get out of debt” were three recurring ones, going back years and years and years—and ones on which I’d made little, if any progress.
“Hmmm,” I thought in a moment of brilliant self-revelation. “Looks like I have a little problem with self-control.”
I’ve lost and gained the same 15 pounds several times now.
Time management is almost as difficult. One of my recent weekly goals was “be more realistic in setting goals.”
As far as the finances, well, we all know how impossible it seems to get out of the hole once you’re in.
But I’d been making progress—slow, but inching ahead—until I overdrew the checking account. I’d scheduled a credit card payment to be made on the due date, figuring one of my writing checks would cover it. Normally it would have, but the check was late—a week late. And I’d forgotten about the payment.
When I went online to balance the account and noticed the $25 overdraft charge, I was sick—especially when I noticed that it had been deducted within the past hour.
I was mad. Mad at myself. But madder at God.
“I’ve been trying so hard, Lord,” I complained. “And I’ve been doing so well. How could You do this to me?”
And I’d had such a good attitude earlier that same week when an order for 100 of my books fell through. “Oh, well,” I said at the time. “That’s the way the cookie crumbles.”
Then came the overdraft—and this cookie crumbled.
“It isn’t my fault the check was late,” I whined. “And, in regard to that canceled book order, I didn’t count my chickens before they were hatched. The guy said in the spring he wanted the books. It was only last week that I noticed the money would have nicely taken care of the fall taxes, the heating oil, and the car insurance. How could You do this to me?”
I spouted. I pouted. I spouted some more. I still maintained my peace about the book order, but I stewed and spewed about the overdraft.
It took several days of complaining to the Almighty that it wasn’t my fault, I had no control over when the check came in, but He did. Yada, yada, yada.
Somewhere during one of my non-spewing moments, it occurred to me that if I’d put some money aside as a cushion, to cover the payment should a check come late, instead of living from paycheck to paycheck, I’d have avoided the overdraft.
OK, so I knew that all long. I just wouldn’t admit it.
So now I’m trying to squirrel away a little bit every payday in a “cushion fund.”
Live and learn. Even in your senior years.
I don’t know if you’d noticed, but the past several columns have covered the Fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, meekness, and faith. But I struggled with the last one—self control.
Sigh. I still do.
Dear God, I tend to forget that everything You allow in my life has a purpose. Thank You for reminding me. Amen.
Read and reflect on Galatians 5:22–23 and Psalm 40
From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea, Vol. 3 © 2019 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.