I have watched the movie “Coal Miner’s Daughter” so many times that I can nearly recite the lines in the film from beginning to end. One of the scenes that I think about often is when Sissy Spacek, portraying country music legend Loretta Lynn, collapses on stage after emotionally falling apart in front of the huge audience that has gathered to hear her sing.

During those moments, she tells the crowd that her friend Patsy Cline was always telling her, “Little gal, you’ve got to run your own life.” Then Loretta confesses to her fans, “but my life’s running me.” And that, in essence, is the root of her problems.

The truth about who or what is running my life is at the heart of many of my problems, too. One of the fruits of the spirit is self-control, and for me, the most tangible evidence my life displays of whether or not it is bearing the self-control fruit is found in my schedule. I tend to overbook and overcommit myself. When I am living that way, I have made several significant mistakes.

First, I have placed the approval of the world above the higher calling of God. To please people, I have sacrificed my most precious resource – time. When I overschedule myself, I trade the time it takes to fulfill commitments with the time I need to spend with God, my immediate family, and my closest friends in order to have the level of intimacy I desire in those primary relationships. Every moment is used only once, and I have chosen the less valuable place to spend it.

Also, I leave myself wide open for temptation. When I am running on empty, I am less cautious about my responses and reactions. I have less grace for myself and others. And I give less than my best in everything I do.

It took me a long time to understand – a very long time, friends – that God cannot use me to the extent I am capable of being used in His design if I do not give Him white space in my schedule with which to work. When I am rushing from one thing to the next, I am not listening to Him. I am not talking to Him. I am often not even aware of Him. Ultimately, I am not able to be “inconvenienced” by divine appointments during my day.

Maintaining a realistic life pace is an ongoing struggle for me. From time to time, I put myself on what I call a “schedule diet” when I realize my commitments are too many. It always takes a while to get in a better place. It’s like body weight. I didn’t put in on in a day, and it’s not coming off in a day, either.

But controlling my schedule plays a significant role in my ability to follow the example of Christ. He continues to offer His grace, and I continue to receive it knowing that each step I take towards closer fellowship with Him will be abundantly blessed. Psalm 90:12 says this, “So teach us to number our days, that we may cultivate and bring to You a heart of wisdom.” (AMP)