Self Control in Thirty Days: Day Two
32 He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city. [Pro 16:32 NASB]
It is easier to be violent, abusive, and hurtful than it is to control our inner world and especially our anger. Expression of uncontrolled anger normally does not make things right in our lives or the lives of others (James 1:19,20). Yet, we have great trust in our anger to protect us and give us control of others.
Only a person who has developed a well ordered inner world can rule and control themselves. How can we do this? There are several key aspects.
1. Develop a lifestyle that nurtures our most mature selves before the face of God. This means one that meditates on scripture and in prayer delivers anxieties to God while remembering the good in our lives (Psalm 1; Phil 4:1-8).
It may also mean taking time to appreciate nature and exercise. Nurturing our soul could have many different aspects depending on personality. The book “Sacred Pathways” by Gary Thomas points out how our personality can relate to our experience of God in our lives and from this encounter with God the nurturing of our souls.
Angry people normally are living their lives on fumes. With no emotional “gas” in our hearts we cannot hpe ot control ourselves.
2. Lower our expectations to fit reality. Normally the space between what things are and what we expect them to be will relate to the degree of anger we feel.
3. Don’t tell ourselves a story around events that “awfulize” it or the people in your life. To “awfulize is to imagine events or people to be as bad as it or they can possibly be: one way to lose control of yourself is telling a story about your circumstances which removes all hope or virtue from others. We can also turn the anger inward by imposing impossible standards upon ourselves. This is depression. If we demand from others impossible standards then we will be eaten up by bitterness and anger.
4. At times of stress and conflict slow down. Back away and take a time out to think before you speak or act. Speed kills self-control. We have to slow our thoughts and our reactions. Anger does not rule us as easily when we slow down. This keeps us from the “fight or flight” reaction. This helps us maintain self-control.
These four steps can help us to develop self-control. Which of these are you weakest in having as your lifestyle? What could you do to practice these four practices in your life?