Self-Control and Pickle Cravings

I’m so tired I feel like I’m moving with concrete feet. The first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning is when I can take a nap. My pillow calls my name all day long. My husband and kids are getting on my nerves. Sometimes I want to yell at them. Sometimes I do yell at them. The next moment I’m in tears. I crave dill pickles. Oh, and dill pickle juice. I drink the stuff straight out of the jar.

Yep, I’m pregnant. Which means I’m strapped in for one of the wildest emotional roller coaster rides a girl can take. I cry a lot. I feel agitated much more than usual. I have zero motivation to do anything but sleep. And yet I find myself re-enrolled in a “school” where I’ve taken classes twice before. The lesson plans focus on self-control in the midst of mood swings, morning sickness, and weird food cravings. I sense the Lord trying to teach me that self-control is a gift He wants to give me, and that now—more than ever—I must do the hard work to keep my flesh in check. 

This verse is confirmation:

“A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” (Prov. 25:28)

Translation: When I lack self-control, I am vulnerable to attack.

And then there’s this hard-hitting truth:

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Gal. 5:22–24)

Notice there is no amendment for pregnant girls, tired moms, or mothers of two-year-olds. There are no exceptions for hormones, stress, or all-nighters. God asks us to practice self-control and then promises to provide it for us when we are lacking.

This means that “eating for two” is not an excuse to have hot fudge sundaes for breakfast. It means that being tired is not a good reason to stop parenting my other children or to be rude or demanding of my husband. It means I can’t let my hormones rule me. And it means, when I cannot do it on my own, that God will help me. He created those hormones after all. He is able to rein them in.

You may not be pregnant, but I bet there are things in your world that make you feel justified in losing control. As the pot calling the kettle black, let me remind you that lacking self-control leaves you vulnerable and open to attacks from the enemy. In contrast, controlling yourself—as in your temper, your cravings, your flesh—is evidence that God is at work in your life.

Are there areas of your life where you are lacking self-control? Will you join me in ’fessing up and then asking God to give you self-control in those areas where you are the weakest?