I always felt like living as a Christian was the most boring thing ever!!
There were thousands of rules and regulations, you could not do this, you could not do that! I hated it. I wanted to live free. You Only Live Once (YOLO) right?
So what was the point of living your whole life chained like a dog to a post when the entire world awaited you out there? I wanted to live free, explore, learn, love, and live life on my own two terms. That is why I avoided all those campaigners of no sex till you get married. I hated those advocates of always doing good, even when someone has wronged you, I hated anyone who told me that I could not enjoy life to the fullest, it was always about waiting and waiting. What if I died a virgin? huh? then what?
This was before I came to understand the true meaning of freedom (Thank you Lord for wisdom). That true freedom is not doing just what you want to do, but true freedom is choosing what you really need over what you want. Allow me to break it down;
During our early days as a married couple, we loved going shopping together. We were young, fly, and high on love. We shopped till we dropped (Bank account balance, I mean 🙈🙊). We absolutely had no regard for shopping lists, comparing prices or bargaining. Soon enough, we ran out of money and we realised that we had spent all our money on what we WANTED and not what we NEEDED. It was like having a really cool fridge, but with no food in it. Even though we wanted to live life on our own terms, we realized that we needed to plan and budget so that we would avoid the unnecesary and spend only on what was truly necessary.
Also, we loved eating out during our early days. Lots of fast, fatty food to be precise 😂😂😂😂. We enjoyed the freedom of not having to be stuck rewinding dishes in the kitchen as we had experienced from our parents growing up. So, we regularly patronized Kenchic, Sanford, and Pizza inn. Life was great, this was the freedom we had always craved for. Soon enough, we discovered that our waistlines were disappearing faster than we could say ‘abracadabra’. Now we were forced to sign up for those smoothy diet plans and working out frequently. Such a bore!
So What is Self-Control?
Self-control to me is basically the power to tell your body NO or Wait!. No to what is unnecessary and YES to what is necessary, and wait to what seems urgent but is not truly necessary. That is true power. What I call conquering yourself, which is the hardest battle in the world. Listed to what the wisest man who ever lived said
Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.Proverbs 16:32
Patience is one of the most important fruits of self-control. One time, I was driving around with a friend in Nairobi traffic. This friend of mine is the most patient driver I have ever met. He stopped at all junctions to give people way. He followed traffic patiently always keeping the 2m rule and giving space to all the matatus that were cutting in, in front of him. It drove me nuts!!!!!
Gathoni keeps telling me that I need to learn to be patient on our roads. And that is why God keeps placing us in traffic because He knows I need to learn this principle. Shucks!
Patience needs self-control. Those of us (Everyone basically) who have beautiful wives like me and Mwangi (he’s married Gathoni’s sister) have experienced 1st hand what it takes to keep a woman looking this good. We have been forced to learn to be patient. A lesson that we are still struggling with up to today. Solomon says that a patient person is better than a warrior/soldier. Basically, he is saying that it is easier to conquer a city than to conquer yourself.
Those who have watched those medieval war movies/series like Game of Thrones, understand what it takes to conquer a city. You have to breakdown the thick, impregnable walls, then have to deal with the archers on the walls and the soldiers on horses and on foot. Capturing a city is no easy feat. Solomon says that it is easier to conquer this city than to conquer oneself.
Basically it is very very hard to tell yourself NO or WAIT!
Training Yourself For Self Control
To be able to conquer any city will take a lot of practice and training. Similarly to conquer this city called ‘self’ will need a lot of training. There are no shortcuts here. Your opponent is powerful and very cunning. He/she has a lot of tricks up their sleeve. And the most depressing thing is that your past successes do not matter. This is a war that you must fight every day.
This is my favorite Muhammad Ali (RIP) quote. Ali knew that training was not easy, it was painful and ugly. What got Ali through his training was the PRIZE at the end of it all. He focused on the price (Success), and he was able to endure the painful training.
Focus on the Prize
This is a very important principle to remember when you take on the fight to conquer yourself. Focus on the prize, the end goal. Listen to what apostle Paul says
No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the PRIZE.1 Corinthians 9:27
Paul & Ali gave us a brilliant secret on how to endure the pain of training. FOCUS ON THE PRIZE. Focus on what you want to achieve. If you lose focus on the prize, you will give up and quit when you are halfway.
For example, Gathoni & I decided to save up for a family holiday at the end of the year together with some friends of ours we call the Skates. This meant that we had to sacrifice some things that we absolutely loved doing. We cut down on our eat-outs, cut down on buying junk, cut our clothes’ budgets, cut our outdoor date nights, basically we had to say no to a lot of good & fun stuff. What kept us going though was that we focused on our upcoming holiday to Mombasa. We focused on the endless blue sea and toes half-buried in the sand. Because we kept our eyes on the prize, it helped us say no to everything that was good but not necessary.
Addictions are powerful. They are not as simple as cutting down your pizza budget. Overcoming an addiction will be one of the biggest fights of your life. That is why I stopped judging people especially ‘bad’ drivers on our roads. Everyone alive is fighting their own fight. That is why life is called the ‘good fight’. We are in a fight folks, a never-ending fight. Saying no to something that has a hold on you is possible only for a short while. After some time you become weary and go back to your habit. Because an addiction never gives up on you. You will tell it NO today with all your strength, and it will simply come back tomorrow, and the next day and the next. How many times can you say no? All of us at some point in time will get weary of saying no and will lapse back to the addiction.
The Only Way Out
A lot of people will come up with many ways on how to overcome an addiction, but the problem is that you will always find yourself going back (relapse). That was what happened as I struggled with my sex addictions. I tried each and every solution in the book. All of them failed, simply becuase they were all pegged upon my ability to say NO. That is where all ‘rehabs’ fail in their quest of reforming an individual.
If my recovery is based on my ability to say NO, then it has flopped even before I sign up for it.
The AA Way
One of the most successful rehabilitation programs that has proved successful over the years is Alcoholic Anonymous (AA). I asked myself why it had proved so successful where other programs had failed, and I found my answer in their 1st belief statement:
The 1st step is to admit that you are powerless against alcohol and that the addiction has become unmanageable.
That means that you have to admit that you cannot rely on yourself to say NO. That is the 1st step towards overcoming any addiction. The 2nd step is to accept help. And the help that I am recommending is the physician who cannot fail. The one who manufactured you. GOD.
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.1st Corinthians 10:13
This verse should be printed and displayed beside the bed of anyone struggling with self-control/addiction. It should be the billboard that all Rehabs should display at their entrance and should be crammed and imprinted upon the hearts of all their patrons.
This is the secret fam. GOD! God is the only one who can allow you to escape the tight grip of addiction and even to bear it. Basically, overcome it. Note please; God, not you! That is why ‘Self’ control is not about you controlling yourself but putting your whole SELF under God’s control.
That is why AA is so successful. Below are the 1st 7 seven steps that AA has believed in all the 86 years that it has been in existence.
This my friends is the only proven way not only to overcome Alcohol addiction, but any addiction for that matter
- I admit that I am powerless over alcohol—that my life had become unmanageable.
- I have come to believe that only a Power greater than myself can restore me to sanity.
- I have made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understood Him.
- I have made a search and fearless moral inventory of myself.
- I have admitted to God, to myself, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- I am entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of my character.
- I humbly asked Him to remove all my shortcomings.
Surrender your whole SELF to GOD. Everything, surrender it ALL. Especially those ugly parts, the dark parts that no one alive knows about. Surrender that addiction to God and tell him that you are POWERLESS and just watch him work wonders in your life. I leave you with these words of our Lord and saviour to Apostle Paul
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in (your) weakness.”2nd Corinthians 12:8
TO GOD BE ALL GLORY
I am a disciple of Christ, passionate about serving God’s purpose to my generation. I am a husband to Gathoni Kiruthi and together God has blessed us with 3 amazing children