In Titus 2, “older women” are instructed to teach the younger women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, and to be discreet…
Discretion: showing good judgment and wise self-restraint in speech and behavior.
In other words; self-control.
The first time I sat under teaching on this subject, the teacher asked us to pick something in our lives to work on being “self-controlled” in. I left class, determined to pray about it and then pick a random thing from the list a mile long of things I needed to change in my life.
How God surprised me! He didn’t point out my poor eating habits, my tendency to hold grudges, my lack of Bible reading… Wash the dishes every night before bed. That’s what he said! I could hardly believe it either.
Yes, there were times when the dishes piled up. But, to be honest, it wasn’t like I was a terrible housekeeper. On any given day my house is relatively neat. It was just that I dread the dishes. I’m so busy during the day and then at nighttime I just want to sleep!
Still, I couldn’t escape the impression that this was my area.
For one week my dishes were washed and put away every night. And guess what? It wasn’t so bad. In fact, after the first day, it was roughly 5 minutes a night that I spent at the sink.
My mother walked into my house the next week, looked around and said, “Tasha! Your dishes are done!” I just smiled. Yes, they were.
Being “discreet” doesn’t have much to do with washing dishes… except, well, for me, it did. No, not the dishes but rather the fact that it is a daily decision. “Am I going to accomplish my goal and get the dishes washed before bed?” became “Am I going to be self-controlled today?” Which included all those other things… eating, holding grudges, reading my Bible, watching the words that I speak, being faithful in the things I have determined to do…
There is something else that washing the dishes helped me realize: I can change. As silly as it sounds, I really had come to believe that I would always hate washing dishes and they would pile in my sink. Now, it is months later and I’m sitting looking at a lovely kitchen with all dishes washed.
This, in turn, means that I can choose to not hold grudges and someday I really will be a gracious person. I can choose to watch what I eat and someday I will not be carrying these extra pounds. I can choose to watch the words that I speak… Well, you get the idea.
[note: my dishes do, still, pile up at times. more often than I like. But there is a difference now. I am recognizing that it is a daily decision and I get to make the choice.]
Make it Real:
Pick one area in your life that you need self-control. Write it down on an index card and search for Bible verses to aid you. (In my dishwashing escapade, I found verses on diligence.) Then for one week try to maintain self-control in that one thing. Don’t get over-zealous. One thing. One week. At the end of the week have a talk with God and see what he has to say…
You might be surprised!