I grew up in Tornado Alley. These vicious windstorms were a normal part of my life, but I wouldn’t wish them on anyone. Destruction and chaos and danger flying everywhere. But here’s what is especially interesting. At the center of this natural disaster is a place of calm. The eye of the storm. Despite the destruction circling all around it, there is stillness at the core of the tornado.
Maybe your life feels a little like a tornado. A messy work desk. A relationship in shambles. A complicated, chaotic family life. But at the center of all of this? Your spiritual core. A place of stillness, of safety, of self-discovery. Finding connection to your core will be a lifeline to peace.
This connection comes through regular spiritual exercises. Guided meditations, mantras, listening to peaceful music. We each have our own unique way to connect and learn the skill of self-control. Download Skylight’s app for simple activities that provide spiritual discovery and rejuvenation.
Self-Control? What’s That?
Nothing drives away the feeling of serenity and peace faster than someone else’s anger. And in their explosive moments, I just want to scream back to have some self-control. That would be a little hypocritical of me, huh?
Self-control means so much more than composing yourself and biting your tongue in the face of anger. Discovering self-discipline should be a priority if you’re looking for greater peace and productivity in your life. Let’s dig in and really determine first steps.
According to Wikipedia, “self-control, an aspect of inhibitory control, is the ability to regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behavior in the face of temptations and impulses. As an executive function, self-control is a cognitive process that is necessary for regulating one’s behavior in order to achieve specific goals.” I believe we often only think of self-control in regard to one’s temper and how they impulsively react in difficult moments. Let’s explore the definition of self-control in an executive function.
Self-control starts with your thoughts…because your thoughts are precursors to action. If you want to find happiness, think positive thoughts. Discovering self-control comes as you set goals and then work towards those goals with an intentional mindset change. Remember: this is a process and won’t come all at once.
It’s also important to remember that each of us have weaknesses. It’s a sad fact of life. But it’s also a beautiful aspect of your time here on Earth because it provides the opportunity for growth. Remember your identity as a spiritual being and set goals to live life as the best version of you.
Developing Self-Control Over Mind and Body
Gaining control over your mind and body is a life-long pursuit. You’ll have moments where you think you’ve conquered your addiction or developed control over debilitating thoughts…only to fall back into bad habits. Self-control isn’t a destination; it’s a journey of spiritual development. So, embrace the unfortunate fact that failure is part of the equation.
But where do we begin? “Self-mastery requires having a vision for your future self and harnessing the will to realize that vision. We learn to master ourselves by getting out of our own way. We strip away what we are not to realize who and what we really are, actualizing our potential in the process” (Scott Jeffrey). Self-control starts simply by belief in yourself and who you can become.
Once you can envision your future self, set specific goals and make correlating plans that will help you reach your potential. If you’re struggling with developing a healthy lifestyle, set the goal to stick to a specific diet or add a vegetable to each meal. Maybe your mind is weighed down by thoughts of failure and inadequacy. Make plans to free your thoughts and develop a positive mindset.
As you gain self-control over your mind and body—both homes to your soul—you will develop a strengthened spiritual core. This inner, authentic identity should be the foundation for your life, providing a solid landing place when life feels out of control.
Even if you haven’t yet learned self-mastery over your mind and body—even if those areas of your life seem to be spiraling out of control—there is quiet and calm in your core. Remember that. Have a little grace for yourself and believe in who you can become. Tap into your spiritual identity. Recognize how empowering it is to know you are meant for greater things. You have deeper purpose and God wants to help mold you into the powerful spiritual being you are meant to be.