Recently, I attended Cafe Catholica, a Catholic Conference that was held once a week for four weeks. Each week, the conference offered a guided prayer and meditation, mass, dinner, and talk after.
At the conference, they offered free books which I have never been one to pass up. One of the books they were giving out was Perfectly Yourself, by Matthew Kelly.
The book is about becoming more perfectly yourself in terms of discerning which characteristics are your imperfections given to you by God and which characteristics are a result of a lack of self-discipline.
It talks a lot about discovering who you are in God, rather than who you are in the world. It’s an extremely good book and I highly recommend it.
I feel like I always set these goals and aspirations for myself, but constantly fail and it could never really figure out why. In the book, Kelly dives into self-discipline and self-mastery being the key to setting yourself free. Kelly states that,
“But the most compelling point for a life of discipline, character, virtue, integrity, and self-control is this: To the extent that you have these things you will be able to love and be loved, for to love is as if you could take your very self in your hands and give it to another person. But to give yourself in this way, you must first possess yourself.”
-Matthew Kelly, Perfectly Yourself
Let’s just take a moment to let that soak in. Read it again. One more time. This excerpt got me thinking. A lot.
Do I truly love myself?
Am I free?
I would say, in short, no.
When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is go make myself a pot of coffee. Even when I try to tell myself not to have coffee today, I usually end up having it anyway. And, even worse, I put creamer in my coffee even though I know I have PCOS and this excess sugar is detrimental to my health.
Why do I do this to myself?
Why does my will follow the passions of my body instead of what my intellect tells it to do?
It’s because I lack self-discipline. I lack self-discipline in so many areas of my life and my inability to deny myself coffee is an example of that. In turn, this lack of self-discipline inhibits me from loving myself authentically.
Love is willing the good of another and if it is best for me to not have creamer with my coffee, then why do I do it?
Until I master myself, I am not able to love myself authentically. Now I’m not saying that I have to be perfect and if I ever slip up and have creamer in my coffee then that means I don’t love myself.
What I am saying is that in choosing to have creamer every day when I tell myself I shouldn’t, I am showing that I don’t have control over my passions and am unable to love myself like I should.
This book brought to the surface that self-mastery is one area I really need to work on.
Are you the master of your self?
Do you possess self-discipline?
Are you in control of your passions rather than letting your passions control you?
Try fasting for one day and see if you can do it. Fasting is a great way to practice self-discipline and self-mastery. Try fasting for one day and let me know how it went in the comments below!
Want awesome recipes and faith posts! I recommend the spaghetti squash with pesto and prosciutto, the best chia seed pudding, sweet potato pasta with a garlic cream sauce, the one question I always ask myself before I eat, 3 things food reminds me of every day, 3 reasons why I fasted yesterday and why you should too!
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