Why can’t I control my anger? Or stop overeating? Or wasting time online?
Why can't I seem to finish my projects? Or make progress in my spiritual life?
Why do I fall for the same stupid temptations over and over again?
When we fail, its easy to make excuses or blame our circumstances. But let’s face it: the biggest enemy is usually the one staring back at us from the mirror every morning.
We lack self-control.
Self-control isn’t very popular these days. We tend to think of it as boring, confining, the cop that shows up and shuts down the party. But the truth is that people who cultivate this vital virtue lead freer, happier, and more meaningful lives. After all, our bad habits—from the slight to the serious—bring a host of painful consequences. Ultimately, they keep us from becoming the people God created us to be.
Your Future Self Will Thank You is a compassionate and humorous guide to breaking bad habits and growing your willpower. It explores Scripture’s teachings on how to live a disciplined life while offering practical strategies for growth based on the science of self-control. Whether you want to deepen your spiritual life, conquer an addiction, or kick your nail-biting habit, this book will help you get motivated, stay on track, and achieve your goals.
Sure, self-control is hard, but it doesn’t have to be that hard. Get the help you need to be freer, happier, and more productive. Your future self will thank you!
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About the Author
DREW DYCK is the managing editor of Leadership Journal at Christianity Today International. Drew holds an M.A. in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. Before coming to Christianity Today he was the editor of New Man magazine. He and his wife, Grace, live in Carol Stream, Illinois and attend Jericho Road Church.
Table of Contents
A Foundation For The Soul
Why I Need This Book More Than You Do 9
1 Why Self-Control?
Because It Leads to Freedom and Flourishing 17
2 Sorry, Self-Control Isn't About You
How the Right Purpose Guides and Fuels Self-Control 35
3 Meeting The Enemies
What Scripture Says about Fighting the Flesh and the Devil 59
4 Hope For Growth
How to Grow Your Puny Willpower Muscles 75
5 The Transforming Power Of Habits
Making Self-Control Automatic 95
6 Training Your Elephant
Building Healthy Habits into Your Life 115
7 Grace Means I Don't Need Self-Control
… And Other Dumb Things Christians Think 141
8 Disciplines Living In An Age Of Distraction
Strategies for Self-Control in the Digital Era 165
9 Learning From Addicts
What Rehab Programs Reveal about Self-Control 191
Life Under Control
My Prayer for You 213
What People are Saying About This
Praise for Your Future Self Will Thank You
Few books have the potential to change your life as much as this one. I found it personally encouraging and challenging at the same time a profound and practical reservoir of wisdom. Don’t just read it. Highlight it, underline it, and most of all, implement its teachings in your life. Transformation awaits!
Lee StrobelNew York Times best-selling author of The Case for Christ and The Case for Miracles
It’s strange to describe a book on self-control as compulsively readable, but that’s how it is. I had no idea that learning how to get a grip on myself could be so enlightening, inspiring, and flat-out entertaining. And helpful, to boot. But that’s how it is. Drew Dyck’s latest work is a page-turner and an eye-opener. I simply couldn’t muster enough self-control to put it down. But before you judge me, you try, and see how well you do.
Mark BuchananAuthor, Your Church Is Too Safe
It isn’t an overstatement to say that nearly everything ailing our society, our communities, our families, and ourselves is rooted in our lack of self-control. This malady was addressed in the past by celebrating the virtues of self-discipline and self-sacrifice. In other words, the culture helped us acquire the self-control necessary to create a flourishing existence. Those days are over. Now virtually everything in our culture celebrates self-centeredness and has convinced us that not satisfying our desires is a form of self-betrayal rather than self-improvement. Where our culture has failed us, however, Drew Dyck has stepped into the breach. His book is a winsome and important exploration of the forgotten virtue that has been foundational to the Christian life, and to free societies, for two millennia. This is a conversation more churches and Christian communities need to be having, and Dyck is the right voice to start it.
Skye JethaniAward-winning author and co-host of the Holy Post Podcast
This book was exactly what I wanted it to be: Big Science + Deep Bible + Practical Next Steps. I love what Drew has done here!
Jon AcuffNew York Times bestselling author of Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done
Here’s the straight up truth: you need to read this book. The only thing wrong with this book is that it wasn’t written and handed to me when I was a teenager! Drew Dyck’s newest book is necessary on every level. Not only is this book true and practical, it’s a lot of fun! Drew has a winsome way of explaining things that make the book a pleasure to read. I plan on getting this book into the hands of everyone I know.
Daniel FuscoPastor of Crossroads Community Church Author, Upward, Inward, Outward: Love God, Love Yourself, Love Others
This book is perfect for the times we are living in. Society tells us to go for the instant gratification. “It’s all about you! If it feels good, do it!” Yet on the whole, I don’t know if we have ever been more unfulfilled or restless. This book convincingly presents the opposite viewpoint—that discipline is the path to contentment. Of course that’s easier said than done. I appreciated the author’s self-effacing tone, and his invitation to ride shotgun on his personal road trip to discovering the ability and virtue of self-control. The truths this book uncovers about this all important character trait give hope to all of us. Read Your Future Self Will Thank You because your future self really will thank you.
Matt BirkFormer NFL player and Super Bowl ChampionCEO, Matt Birk and Company
Self-control is something we all need but not something we like to admit we need. In Your Future Self Will Thank You, Drew Dyck pulls back the curtain on our lack of self-control to help guide us to help (and the Helper). Your future self will thank you for reading and heeding this book!
Trillia NewbellAuthor, If God is For Us, Fear and Faith, United, and the kids' book God's Very Good Idea.
Over the past decade, researchers have developed a rich understanding of how self-control really works. They’ve answered questions such as how to get more of it, how to best use it, and what depletes it. In this important book, my friend Drew Dyck does a great job of making sense of what this research means for Christians. He engages it with a biblical worldview, and tells us what we need to know to live more fruitful lives of more self-control. Well done!
Bradley Wrigh Sociologist, University of Connecticut Author, Upside: Surprising Good News About the State of Our World
I couldn't help but endorse this book. I had no control over the way it both challenged me and also gave me hope. As someone who has struggled all my life with personal discipline, it was a helpful guide. Most of all, unlike most self-help books, it comes at you from two unique and often unheard perspectives: from someone who actually struggles and someone who has wrestled with grace. This book will not beat you up, but it won't make you feel warm and fuzzy. Instead, it is a gospel-saturated, science-based approach to stewarding your life. Drew Dyck is one of the most arresting writers in the evangelical world. So go get this book today. It will be the one impulse buy you won't regret!
Daniel DarlingCommunications VP at Ethics and Religion Liberty Commission Author, The Dignity Revolution: Reclaiming God’s Rich Vision for Humanity
Drew Dyck writes with candor, humor, and urgency about a subject that has never been more essential, but more elusive than it is today–the importance of self-control. Your Future Self Will Thank You is a well-researched, accessible, and practical book about one of the Bible’s most central, but most overlooked principles for living a godly, joyful, and purposeful life.
Karl VatersAuthor, Small Church Essentials and The Grasshopper Myth
In our cultural moment, I cannot think of many subjects more in need of discussion than self-control. And I can’t think of a better person to lead that discussion than Drew Dyck. Dyck’s winsome voice pairs approachability with theological clarity and direct exhortation. He made me smile and see my own folly at the same time. I have much to learn on the subject of self-control, which makes me especially thankful for this book.
Russ RamseyPastor of Christ Presbyterian Church Cool SpringsAuthor, Retelling the Story Series
Okay, I’ll admit it: I procrastinated picking up this book. But was so glad when I did! Your Future Self Will Thank You combines rich biblical insight, fascinating scientific research, and on-the-ground practical wisdom on the nature of self-control and how to integrate it into your life. While temptations and distractions are everywhere in our digital age, Drew Dyck ivites us—with humor, wit, and a lot ovulnerability—to join him on a journey of transformation that ultimately empowers us to better love God, others . . . and our future self.
Joshua Ryan ButlerPastor of Redemption ChurchAuthor, The Skeletons in God’s Closet and The Pursuing God
Your Future Self Will Thank You is a practical manual and insightful field-guide to living a productive, fruitful life. With a mixture of informative psychological studies, interviews, biblical wisdom, and personal stories, Drew Dyck has written an incredible resource to help you create a life-giving future story.
Paul AngoneAuthor, 101 Questions You Need to Ask in Your Twenties (And Let's Be Honest, Your Thirties Too)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book has given me a lot to think about: strategies I want to implement, truths I want to remember, attitudes I want to change. It's a lot to take in, and the trick is to figure out how to apply the information in a way that will stick. Because, as this book makes perfectly clear, we are weak and prone to stay in our ruts, taking the easy way with the habits we've already established. That's definitely true for me! I greatly appreciate both the practical guidance and the biblical perspective in Your Future Self Will Thank You. In chapter 7, there's a really great discussion about why self-control matters since we're saved by God's grace and sustained by His power. In chapter 3, the author provides some helpful insight on the temptations Satan presented to Jesus and Jesus's response. And chapter 8 sadly resonates with me as it addresses the very real issue of technology (especially social media) and its affects on our time and self-control. The meat of this book has to do with willpower and habits and approaching those things with right reasons and a view of our need for God's strength. It's eye opening to realize just how much our habits determine our days...and to face what might be feeding those habits we wish we didn't have. I like that these pages don't promise an easy way forward. Change is hard, and good habits aren't easy to establish (nor are bad habits easy to break). Finishing this book won't automatically change your life or make you feel like you've won the battle. But it's a great tool in that it make you want to examine your own routines and consider what you need to change (and how you might begin doing so) in light of God's goodness and power. *With thanks to Moody Publishers for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are my own.*
With avoiding temptation and taking practical precautions, he uses the story of Odysseus when they are sailing through the area full of sirens. How can they avoid the temptation of the siren song? Odysseus takes a realistic look at his nature, accounts for his weakness (being unable to resist the song) and plans accordingly, thus the crew makes it safely to the other side. At the same time, the author shows another way to approach temptations. In the second approach to self-control, he uses the story of Jason and the Argonauts. While they sail through the sirens, instead of tying Jason to the mast and the crew putting beeswax in their ears, they employ a musician to play louder and more beautifully in order to drown out the song of the sirens. And it works. The author doesn't stick with just interesting myths and stories. He often shares the struggles Paul dealt with during his journies and quotes him often. For those familiar with the Bible, you'll know the best know Paul quote regarding running the race. But one that I really liked (and looked up) was this one: "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." Romans 7:15. Isn't that the way for a lot of us? We really want to improve. We want to exercise 3-5 days a week as recommended. We want to quit smoking or drinking. We want to break the sugar addition. We want to stop seeking out damaging relationships, or cheating on those who matter most in our lives. We want to control our anger. Yet, for all that we want to do, we find ourselves doing what we hate. And that throws us into a spiral of guilt and self-criticism."Future me" has more time, energy and will power. But in the heat of the moment, in the present day, that will power falters. So what to do about it? Avoid those "heat of the moments" such as getting more sleep and, as my doctor always recommends, avoid stress. Well, duh. I don't have to have a medical license to figure out that stress isn't good for my health. Thankfully, the author recognizes that this isn't so easy. The thing is, I wish the rest of the world would have the foresight, the wisdom, and the compassion to recognize those hot states in others and learn to adapt to them. But no. Our society says, "It's not my fault that you're having a bad day. Deal with it on your own" as they cut you off on the freeway or in line at Starbucks. I try to make a point of it, when I'm in my "cool state" where I'm not as bothered by life, to recognize when someone else is struggling in their hot state, to be more understanding and compassionate regardless of their reaction. But how do I manage my own hot state when someone isn't so understanding? Therein lies the challenge as well as the opportunity for self-control. The author provides really good insight into why we struggle to go from good intentions to actually meeting those goals (such as weight loss). I highly recommend this for anyone that wants to exercise and strengthen their self-control "muscle" but needs the knowledge to be better equipped to recognize falters and failings and to try, try again. I received a complimentary copy from Moody publisher in exchange for my review.
I have been reading the book, Your Future Self Will Thank You, by Drew Dyck. I cannot tell you how fabulous of a read it is. I believe that God has provided us with so many resources but I don’t know that we always use them. This book is a resource to put perspective on how God can change the way you think, live, and do life. If you are looking to make positive, Christ-like change in your life I strongly suggest you take a look at this book. Dyck leads you through Gods commands, his personal journey, and relevant research in this book to confront the attribute of self-control in your life. As one of the fruits of the spirit, self-control is often thought of as out of our control but because God made it as a fruit of the spirit, he is telling us that we do have control and that through him, with him we can better our self-control. Dyck walks you through to understand what that means and looks like today in your life. This book is so full of highlights for me that you would think it was printed on colored paper. Go grab this book and take the time to read it from cover to cover!
I am not one who is into reading a ton of self help books, but I came across this title on Netgalley and wanted to try a book that deals with self control from the Biblical perspective. I couldn't be happier with it! It was relatively short and not long winded or too wordy(which I prefer in a non-fiction), right to the point. I thought the points the author addresses were valid and soundly answered. I am encouraged and invigorated by what I have learned,and I am putting into practice some of these strategies. I received a complimentary copy of this book through Netgalley and was not required to give a positive review. My opinion is my own. I may buy myself a hard copy to refresh my memory, and keep as a reference.
This book explains the virtue of self-control and how to strengthen it from both Biblical and psychological perspectives. There is a good explanation and history of thoughts about self-control. There are numerous Biblical references as well as quotes from historical and literary persons. The book is well-researched. Dyck teaches about keystone habits which are the basic habits that make other healthy habits more likely. I agree with Dyck's conclusion that "Self control is foundation. It leads to freedom and flourishing. Ultimately its what allows a person to live a life that blesses others and glorifies God." My only criticism of this book is that is weaker in the area of how to teach a person to increase their self-control. I am not sure that someone who is relatively weak in this area will have a clear understanding of how they can actually increase their own self control. Since this is would be the primary audience for this book, I am not sure if they would come away from it with a good action plan or not. I am thankful to Moody Publishers and net galley.com for an advance copy of this book.