Question 8: Are you undisciplined?
Do you regularly eat too much, spend too much, stay up too late, or spend too much time on social media? Are you constantly late? Do you struggle to live within any sort of boundary lines or limits?
I wonder if you’re asking yourself this question: What does discipline have to do with control?
Let me help you make the connection. Control Girls love control, right? They like to have and keep and take control. And the one thing they despise most is losing or giving up control.
Control Girls like to be the one deciding for themselves, not deferring to some other authority. Listen to this quote Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth shared from a listener of Revive Our Hearts:
“I am very undisciplined… I know what to do, but I don’t do it… There is a dread of being trapped or stuck. Actually, God has been showing me that it is an authority problem. I do not want to be under the control of anything.”
See how this listener makes the connection between wanting control and hating discipline? She says she is undisciplined because she doesn’t want to live under control. She wants to be in control not under control.
I can relate. This desire to be in control, not under control, is why- as a Control Girl- I struggle with limits. I don’t like being boxed in. I hate restrictions. I downplay consequences. And I sink my teeth into the the very things that are least beneficial.
Interestingly, limits aren’t a result of the Fall. They were there from the beginning, in the Garden of Eden. Even before sin entered the world, God designed for us to live with restrictions.
Think about the forbidden fruit. Why would God even put it within reach? He didn’t have to plant that tree in the middle of the Garden of Eden. Why would He do that?
I think that fruit posed a question. Would Adam and Eve surrender to God? As they enjoyed the rest of the garden, would they submit to God and restrain themselves from eating from one “off limits” tree?
Well, we know the rest of the story. Eve was willful and independent. She broke past the “keep out” tape and sank her teeth into the one thing that could destroy her. And women ever since have been doing the same.
Why do we crave the things that are not good for us? Why do we push the limits? Why do we overspend and overeat? Why do we struggle with substance abuse or promiscuity? Is it not because we hate being confined? We want to be in control, not under control.
God has woven limits into our daily life. Everybody gets 24 hours in a day. Everybody gets 100 cents per dollar. Everybody gets 300 calories per donut. Nobody gets to escape limits. But Control Girls sure do try.
What limits do you tend to push? What are the problem areas in your life? I’ve previously confessed to you that I am consistently late. That I struggle with overeating. I also struggle with going to bed and getting up on time. Those are my top 3. What are yours? Go ahead and list them out, either in your head or on paper. I’m guessing you know what they are.
Now, here’s some encouragement. These Top 3 areas of struggle offer the perfect practice exercises for our “Control Girl to Jesus Girl” transformation.
Course Correction by Degrees
Take food, for instance. For me, food is the perfect way to practice surrendering to God, because my cravings never stop. Every time I pass a drive-through or hear the chocolate cake calling my name, I have a new opportunity to train my heart in the art of surrender, saying, “God, I surrender to you, rather than caving in to me.”
But what happens, when I live within the limits, rather than caving in to my own selfishness? My heart is redirected. I alter the course of my life by a tiny degree. I’m choosing to be under control, not in control.
And what if I do that 27 times over the course of a day? Or 189 times in over the course of a week? Or 5,070 times over the course of a month? Well, that’s a lot of course correcting! That’s a lot of surrender! And it adds up to something.
The more consistently I surrender in these moment-by-moment ways, the more my life changes directions. The more I change from a Control Girl into a Jesus Girl.
For you, it might be the craving to spend. Or the craving to be noticed by a married man. Or the craving to drink too much. For me, it’s the craving to eat foods that aren’t good for me. But each craving is an opportunity to retrain my heart to follow God, not follow the path to the Oreos.
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Join me for a study of seven Control Girls of the Bible, who struggled with control in the same way we do: they pushed for their own agendas, tried to make everything turn out according to their plans, and made everybody miserable in the process. By comparing their stories with ours, we learn—in hundreds of ways and examples—that God is in control and we aren’t. And He invites us to live like it’s true.