Self control is the fruit of the spirit that has most eluded me. Recently, however, I've experienced significant measures of self control in two different areas, but they've come to me in two very different ways.
Freedom from obsessive thinking
Earlier this fall, I realized that I had gained a measure of self control that I did not formerly have. I’m not sure how or when this change occurred, other than to credit the Holy Spirit for producing this fruit in me sometime over the last year.
Specifically, I am now able to redirect my thinking from some negative, repeating thought toward something constructive, with much greater success than I have ever previously experienced. It’s usually as simple as asking God to direct my thinking elsewhere and then resetting my focus.
In past, I’ve at times been beset by obsessive, often angry or fearful, thinking, so this fruit of the spirit is a welcome gift. It seems, the Spirit quietly moved in the background. I am grateful.
Technology can help fight against doom scrolling
Still, in another area, I often find myself incapable of exerting self control — obsessively checking, refreshing and re-refreshing the news on my laptop. I’ve heard this called “doom scrolling.” It’s a work killer and a mood killer, and I am fed up with it.
About two weeks ago, I installed the Block Site Chrome Extension and added the five news sites I most often obsessively refresh. I then set Block Site to redirect these sites to a favorite theology site. I think there are several other tools like this.
Two weeks in, I’m grateful to report this simple tool has had a remarkable impact on my efficiency and my peace of mind.
Once I’ve set my intention on some goal, technology is good at extending or enhancing that intention. Block Site and tools like it are practical extensions of the good work the Lord can do in and through us.
I’m grateful for the Holy Spirit’s work in my life and his work in and through tools designed to bring order to chaos and self control to indiscipline.