TO BE SELF-CONTROLLED MEANS TO CONTROL YOUR WORRIES AND FEARS INSTEAD OF LETTING THEM CONTROL YOU.
Bible Reading of the Day: Read Mark 4:35-41.
Verse of the Day: “When I am afraid, I will trust in you” (Psalm 56:3, NIV).
“Mommy!” Jeremy screamed. He tried to peer through the darkness. The soft yellow glow of his night light had disappeared; the bright red numbers on the clock beside his bed were gone too.
He could hear the wind blowing outside his bedroom window, and every once in a while lightning and thunder pierced the sky. He cried again but soon felt his mother’s presence beside him. He stretched out his arms and wrapped them around his mother as she sat on the side of his bed. She held a flashlight in her hand.
“I’m scared, Mommy,” he said.
“I know, sweetheart, but it’s only a thunderstorm.”
“Don’t you ever get scared?”
“Everybody gets scared, sweetheart,” Mom said. “But when I’m scared I pray about it and ask God to help me not be scared. Would you do that with me now?”
Jeremy nodded and closed his eyes tight while his mom prayed a short prayer. When he opened his eyes, Mom was already looking at him. “Do you feel any better?”
“A little,” he answered.
“You know what else I do?” she asked. Jeremy shook his head. “I try to control my fear instead of letting my fear control me.” “How do you do that?”
“Well, by praying … and by doing something to help me forget my fear.” “Like what?”
“I’ve got an idea,” Mom said. She handed the lighted flashlight to Jeremy. “Why don’t we play a game? Every time you see a flash of lightning in the sky, you try to turn the flashlight off before you hear the thunder. Then when you hear the thunder, you turn the flashlight back on until you see the next flash of lightning! See how many times you can beat the thunder!”
“OK!” Jeremy said. He waited quietly for the next streak of lightning. When it came, he jumped a little before remembering to flip the flashlight off. A second or two later, he heard the thunder. “I won!” he said. He did it a few more times while Mom sat next to him. Finally, he turned to his mom. “Can I keep playing?” he asked.
Mom nodded. Then she stood and backed out of the room as Jeremy sat staring out his window, waiting anxiously for the next flash of lightning.
TO DISCUSS: To be self-controlled is to learn to control your worries and fears instead of letting them control you. Are you ever afraid? When? How did Jesus’ disciples (in today’s Bible reading) respond to their fears? How did Mom and Jeremy (in the story above) control their fears? How do you think you can control your fears?
TO PRAY: “When we’re afraid, Lord, remind us that you are with us and that we can choose not to give in to fear.”