Developing Character

Hiccups, Headaches, and Hot Weather Can Be Controlled

Ed, my old neighbor from Saskatchewan, was always certain anything can be controlled. He claimed that even hiccups, headaches, and hot weather need not be a problem. I thought of Ed when we faced moving into our condo in Chilliwack at the end of June. The day we got keys to our new home, Chilliwack was facing a heat wave. The thermometer was hitting higher than 34 C or 93 F. Our condo did not have central air so we could not control the heat with air conditioning. Ed even has air conditioning for his tractor, as that is the way he beats the hot weather.

It is easier to beat the heat with air conditioning, but when Ed heard we had no air conditioner his bright idea was for us to go naked and get a fan. Talking to Ed by Skype is not always productive. Nothing should be a problem, for me, my old neighbor claimed if I would have a little self-discipline in my life. According to Ed, “All the hiccups and headaches of moving and relocating to a new province should make the wife and me, masters of self-discipline.”

The true character demonstrates itself when you are under pressure. In a new province, you have to start over in a lot of ways. I told Ed that now I’m in B.C.  I could not expect they would handle driver’s licenses, car insurance, and health care in the same way as it was executed in Saskatchewan. We have to make the changes and adjustments. It is like being a new kid at school, where it takes time to fit in and feel at home. Everything that is different is not all bad, at the new school, and the old school was not all good.

Ed made a good point that life is best when we can act with self-discipline. Life presents us with a continuous array of choices and decisions. For, myself, it is difficult to live consistently with my best conduct when I’m under pressure. I like the words of Waldo Emerson, “What you do, speaks so loudly that I cannot hear a word that you say.” I know it takes great self-discipline to love your neighbor as yourself. I know how easy it is to love myself first instead of others, to let jealous thoughts make themselves at home in my mind. I can become angry as if I know all that is wrong with other people and situations. My personal desire is to live by the Spirit of Christ Jesus which is to act in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. My self-discipline/self-control is not always strong enough. Elbert Hubbard said, “Self-discipline is the ability to do what you should do when you should do it whether you feel like it or not.”

Self-discipline is not the first choice I always make. I may choose to do what is fun and easy with no concern for the long-term consequences of my lack of self-discipline.  Long-term considerations for this life and the next continually challenge Christians. As God’s chosen people in Christ, we choose to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and love towards others as our daily work in progress.

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Raymond Maher
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