Self-Control

We all know that mother who hovers over her child. The mother who is always half a step behind her child so the I s no chance to trip and scrape a knee. The mother who will answer every question on behalf of her child. The mother who hesitates to even sign her child up for any group activity for fear that he will not succeed or not be the best. To a certain extent we are all this mother, but because of the freedom found in being Spirit-controlled we do not have to live in constant fear over our children.

The “helicopter mom’ has been called by many other names, but we all have seen the extreme versions of this at schools, parks, and play dates. One way we as mothers can display self-control is to allow our children to grow and learn in natural ways. When we want to hold their hand as they explore the play ground, we can stay a few steps back and allow them to learn about balance and gravity. When we want to introduce them to all the new friends they might meet, we can instead allow them to approach new playmates independently. Are we choosing to live a fear-controlled life or are we willing to live self-controlled lives?

It seems impossible, right? There are just so many things that could go wrong at any given moment! Cuts, bruises, chipped teeth, broken bones. Hurt feelings, rejection, inadequacy, defeat. We want to protect our children from any and all pain. The amazing thing about self-control is that it is actually Spirit-control. When we live Spirit-controlled lives we are able to be self-controlled, train our children in faith and function, and entrust our children fully to the Lord.

When living a Spirit-controlled life we are empowered to live a self-controlled life. Second Timothy 1:7 encourages us, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” When we enter into the family of God we are granted His Spirit dwelling within us. The Holy Spirit overcomes our fear and allows us to control our thoughts and actions. When we think we cannot, the Spirit gently reminds us that we can do all things through Christ (Philippians 4:13). Mama, have confidence! The Spirit of God is within you and controls you allowing you to live in self-control.

When living a Spirit-controlled life we are equipped to train our children in faith and function. If we mother in a controlling way, then we want our children to act exactly the way we prefer and we cringe at every toe stepped over the line. When we mother in a self-controlled way, then we are able to focus on training our children to make correct choices and to learn self governance rather than on merely rule following. In Psalm 32:8 we read, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” We trust the Lord to guide us. We are Spirit-controlled so we are able to model this wise instruction for our children. Just as the Lord so graciously teaches and trains us in righteousness, so also we should be gracious in teaching and training our children in faith and function. With self-control, we are able to let go of our desire for control over our children and their decisions and able to equip them to make wise choices on their own.

When living a Spirit-controlled life we are able to entrust our children fully to the Lord. So often mothers feel the weight of imparting spiritual truths to their children and strain over their eternal security. What a relief to know that the Lord calls His people to Himself. Romans 8:14-15 states, “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba Father!’” Not only does God the Father love our children infinitely more than our capabilities allow, but also He has given us His Spirit to combat fear and anxiety over the welfare of our children. We want a step by step guide to leading our children to salvation, but the Lord desires for us to walk in faith with Him and to be Spirit-controlled in our shepherding our children. When we trust the Lord to call our children to Himself for His own glory, then we are living in self-control by being Spirit-controlled.

The problem with being a helicopter mom is that so little is actually within our control. We can try to control who our children interact with, what they participate in, where they go, when they experience certain things, and how they learn and grow; but our children are tiny people with their own hearts and minds. We cannot control their responses, their decisions, or their actions. We cannot control the winds and the rains or the physical and emotional storms that may arise. But mama, we can live in self-control over our fears and our worries because we are Spirit-controlled by the One who is in control over the winds, waves, and the entire world.

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