Monday, July 4, 2011

Small Thought, Continued

Dear Sarah,

You asked, "How does self control equal loving others?"
I have a couple thoughts on that.

First, what is self control? It's just being able to control yourself and your own actions and thoughts. You decide how you react, how you use your muscles (like your tongue) and what you're going to allow yourself to think, see, hear, or absorb. That's controlling yourself.

How does self control equal loving others?
I'm not loving my brother if I can't control my hateful tongue.
I'm not loving my sister if I allow myself to hurt her physically.
I am not loving my neighbor if I don't control my actions.
I am not loving the people around me if I insist on my way.

Self control is a hard discipline for me. I am learning slowly how to apply it to many areas of my life, but it takes constant work and vigilance.

One area that I especially get to practice self control is in the area of food. Because I have many allergies which cause serious issues, I have to constantly be self controlled with what I allow myself to eat. I'd dearly love to eat a big bowl of ice cream, but the consequences of that action will punish me. So when faced with that tempting bowl of ice cream, I have to think about how it will affect me later and how it will affect the people around me later. It's not just going to cause me problems. My problems will cause others problems, as well. It's a ripple effect.

The same is true in our relationships with others every day. My interactions may be fun and innocent or exciting at the moment, but they affect many people besides the two of us. It's hard sometimes to realize just how many people are affected by certain relationships. The consequences ripple out and sometimes are far reaching if I am not self controlled. And if there are problems, they won't be just my problems, they'll be problems for those around me as well.

Specifically when I began mulling over how self control was an exercise in self denial and loving others I was thinking about it in the realm of guys and girls and their interactions. 
Because I love my family, I am going to be self controlled in my relationships. 
Because I love the guy, I am going to be self controlled in my actions toward him. 
Because I love my future husband, I am going to be self controlled in how I allow myself to think and feel now. 
Because I love the guy's future wife, I am going to be self controlled in how I interact with him now. Perhaps the future wife is me, perhaps not. 
There is a ripple effect going on.

When I like a guy, I want very much to be near him, to talk to him, and all the things that go with being in a relationship. It feels good! It's fun! 
But it doesn't help him if I am not self controlled.
And I know it doesn't help me if he is not self controlled. It just makes it harder for me to control my feelings and actions.

Between girls and guys, true love is waiting for the things you want. True love is not giving way to how you feel at the moment and what you want during those feelings. 
True love is knowing it is best for the other person if your own wishes are controlled.
If I really love him, I am willing to deny myself what I want for his sake. I am willing to wait for the things I want. I am willing to go without what feels good for his sake.
True love is thinking about the consequences of what I want and how it will affect those around me.

Self control is thinking about the consequences of what I want and how it will affect those around me.

And that's why I think self control equals loving others.


1 comment:

  1. This, Katie, is beautiful. True love means sacrifice. Love isn't just about what you get, it's about what you give.