It’s difficult to practice self-control during a time where everything appears to be out of your own control. Living in a new country, it’s easy to want to try everything, do everything and eat everything. It’s incredibly difficult for me to walk by the glowing light that beckons me into every posh shop I pass on my way to and from class. It’s hard to choose the healthier option on the menu when there are sickeningly sweet treats for half the price. It’s challenging to be health-conscious, money-conscious and time-conscious when there is so much to explore and do.
Self-control is typically something most people struggle with during time abroad. Anxiety of ‘what if I never return’ fills students' heads as they buy souvenir after souvenir, only to realize that, come May, less than half of it fits in the tiny suitcase they brought. However, God calls us to exercise our self-control, even when we don’t want to.
Self-control is also about your limits and knowing what is and isn't okay. Just because you’re in a place where it’s legal to drink doesn’t mean you should drink to excess—or even necessarily drink at all. Although I’ve had some wine here every once and a while, I’ve practiced self-control in stopping after a glass or two and making sure I am careful. While it’s normal to want to let loose and go crazy, God promises us that a self-controlled life is not only the path he wants for us, but also an altogether more fulfilling life guided by him.