This week in Sunday school the students will be studying–and hopefully personally wrestling with–self-control. To prepare for the lesson, I’ve been reading online lesson plans, parenting articles and biblical commentaries. And additionally examining my own issues with self-control!

This morning I drove Catherine to school  and found myself impatient with her as she slowly got her things out of the van, focusing on an issue with her hair and fretting about that instead of just getting out, getting her backpack and heading to school. I will admit, without writing out the actual thought, that I have an extremely negative, profane reaction in my head to her dawdling. I do think she was controlling the situation where she saw I was trying to get her moving because I needed to get to an appointment. However, my frustration could have taken a much less drastic turn had I had more self-control. Fortunately the words didn’t come out of my mouth (ok, I had *some* self-control!), but I wish I hadn’t even thought them.

Then I rushed off from there to an appointment, impatient with each vehicle in traffic and each red light. I know I wasn’t driving my safest. Again, what was to be gained from my recklessness and lack of self-control?

There is so much to be gained in acquiring this Fruit of the Spirit. I frequently point out to my family members that the way they say things and act towards others directly affects how others respond to them. And a good part of the time I exhibit self-control. We can’t be perfect, but we can strive.

I did try to recenter and refocus myself by reminding myself of all the Fruits of the Spirit we’ve been studying–love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. Just taking the time to study these traits and exploring other passages of scripture that weave so perfectly with the message about the Fruits of the Spirit has reinforced to me that these “fruits” are integral to following the Holy Spirits direction in our lives. And they are a reward in themselves. Who can say that “growing” the Fruits of the Spirit has negatively impacted their life? Yes, there may be push back from people who don’t want your love, joy and peace, but those things filling each of us is a blessing I truly want to receive.