"A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls." —Proverbs 25:28 ESV
Before baby I was a pretty cool cucumber, but motherhood has a strange way of bringing my claws out. Sometimes I want to yell. Sometimes I want to stomp out of the room. Sometimes I want to get all up in their faces. But then I remember that they are two and four. I am the adult, and what they see, they will eventually do. No matter how my children behave, the Bible doesn’t allow me to sin in my frustration, exhaustion, or anger.
Motherhood is not an excuse to lack self-control in any area. This is a lesson perhaps best learned in pregnancy. Consume a few extra calories while pregnant, and you will get a healthy baby and manageable post-baby body. Use pregnancy as an excuse to send your man out for midnight ice cream runs and eat nachos for breakfast and you may still get a healthy baby, but you’ll also still be on the treadmill when he hits kindergarten.
Motherhood has a way of making us raw. It hooks those areas where we might lack in self-control or gravitate toward sin. Once hooked, we must depend on God to reel us in and redirect us toward righteous behavior.
When we lack self-control as moms, it tears down walls of security for our children. If they do not know how mom will react, they won’t feel safe. If we cannot model self-control for them, they won’t be able to demonstrate it themselves. No matter what challenges you face as you mother today, how tired you are, or how much you may want to scream and yell, God calls you to self-control. If that feels impossible, here is the good news:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law (Gal. 5:22–23 ESV).
Self-control (along with many other good qualities we need as moms) is evidence of God’s work in us. We don’t have to drum it up or make it happen; it is fruit that God will grow in our lives if we ask.
Action Step: Self-assess.
Determine one area of your mothering where you lack self-control. Perhaps it is anger, like me. Maybe it is stress eating or failure to follow through on discipline. Ask God to produce the fruit of self-control in your life in this area.
A Mom’s Prayer: Father, thank You for producing fruit in my life. Teach me how to have self-control as I mother. Show me how my lack of self-control damages the walls of protection and security for my family.