March 30: You Cannot Succeed at Anything Without . . .

Day 26

View Video Transcript

I’ve always been fascinated with people who are excellent at something, world-class at something, or phenomenally successful at something. And it’s fascinating to me to see the similarities between people who are phenomenally successful in business and people who are phenomenally successful in sport and people who become saints.

There tends to be these themes, there tends to be these connections between all of these things. One of those themes that has just continued to strike me throughout my life as I have explored the lives of successful people is the theme of delayed gratification.

It would seem to me that you cannot be successful at anything without delaying gratification. Success doesn’t just show up and make itself yours. There’s a process you go through to be excellent at something, and that process always requires delayed gratification.

If someone sets out to become a saint, guess what? There’s a lot of delayed gratification there. And if someone sets out to be successful in business or successful in sport, guess what? There’s a lot of delayed gratification there.

You can’t be successful in marriage unless you’re willing to delay gratification. It’s not possible. You can’t be a great parent unless you’re willing to delay gratification, because the sense is just to embrace whatever feels good and whatever seems good. But sometimes you realize, “Whoa, I’ve gotta hold back a little bit here.” Sometimes you realize, “You know what, loving my child is not giving my child this thing, loving my child is not giving my child this thing.”

The Church wants you to experience excellence in everything you do. The Church wants you to become the-best-version-of-yourself. There’s genius in Catholicism, and it is phenomenally practical. And who else for two thousand years has been saying, “Delayed gratification is one of the keys to living a happy, fulfilling life”? Nobody. It’s unpopular sometimes to announce the truth. And it’s certainly unpopular at this time in history to announce, “Hey, delayed gratification is a path to happiness, a path to excellence.” But the Church is always there.

And so as we make this journey together, I think it is important for us to ask ourselves, “OK, how do we delay gratification? And why does it matter? And how is not delaying our gratification hurting us? Or how has not delaying our gratification in the past hurt us?” Because I think the first thing is that you’ve got to be really convinced that this concept is real—that there’s truth in it, that there’s wisdom in it. Because you’re not going to apply the concept powerfully into your life unless you have that belief.

“God wants us to have a strong mind, a strong heart, and a spirit that soars with so much strength that nothing in this world can weigh it down. These things can only be accomplished with prayer and fasting.”

Matthew Kelly, Resisting Happiness

Share this quote.


You cannot succeed at anything unless you are willing to delay gratification. This ability and success are intimately linked.


Say no to yourself at least once every day.


Jesus, I want to deny my false self so I can find my true self. Grant me the strength and the courage to trust that delaying gratification leads to happiness.

Today’s personal reflection features Dynamic Catholic team member Dr. Allen Hunt. Allen is our senior advisor, coming to us from Atlanta, Georgia. Allen once was a drummer, likes to eat nachos three times a week, fondly remembers the days he had hair, and has visited every state except Nebraska.

How do you practice self denial?

Let us know in the comments!

We encourage you to comment on this reflection. All viewpoints are welcome, but we ask that you remain on-topic and respect other members of the discussion. Please remember that we are trying to help each other become the-best-version-of-ourselves. We reserve the right to make editorial decisions regarding comments, including but not limited to removal of comments. Be Bold. Be Catholic.®

  • Dee Gipson

    Nine Words. Time to re read! Thanks Allen.

  • Michael Baur

    I have not been the best at self denying my self. I loved spending that I did not have on stuff that was not important. I have been practicing self denial by saying no to my spending habits.

    • Lynn Nguyen

      Michael, have you taken the Financial Peace University course? Many catholic churches offer it. The program is by Dave Ramsey and it’s helping me alot with spending habits.

      • J Schodron

        That is a great way to handle finances. I used to be able to listen to Dave on the radio.

    • Carl

      Hi Michael,
      I can certainly relate. It changed for me after a visiting priest hit (in my opinion) the bulls-eye with: “Only in America do we spend money we don’t have, to buy things we don’t need, to impress people we don’t particularly care about.”

  • mrcpuhead

    Last fall, when my wonderful wife and I committed to do the 17 Day Diet, we found out what self control is all about, at least in the physical sense. While now the commitment has waned from the initial 2 or 3 17-day cycles, I’ve found that by having multiple goals – the toughest of which is my waist size goal – I’ve at least improved my chances of success in sustaining some delayed gratification. I say “some” as my progress has slowed so much that I know I need to do better. Lent has provided the structure to practice more self control!

    • Mary B.

      Wow! I can totally relate to you because I too have tried the 17 Day Diet and you definitely need self-control! I was my happiest when I was following it because of how much self control I had in all aspects of my life! My delayed gratification was how it taught me what foods to stay away from (carbs) and it kept my weight off for good, after years of failed dieting! My real challenge in life is self-denial because Lately I feel like I have no self control when it comes to giving up desserts or alcohol! I certainly don’t want to get back to old eating habits! I really like the point Allen tried to make, “. Self control in the small stuff leads you to self control in the big stuff …. and that leads you to the best-version-of-yourself”! I am going to try and train myself everyday to say no to the lesser things so I can say yes to the greater and deeper things in my life!! These two videos were so meaningful to me – thank you again Dynamic Catholic!!

  • Martha

    I have people from different walks that are constantly looking for me to help with this that or the other thing. I try so hard to say yes to all there needs that I find myself “out in the cold” so to speak. Saddened that people are not more thoughtful of others… And tired, and out of fuel. Now, being in this place, I say to myself I’m not going to get here again, but please God get me gracefully thru this commitment. : ( the trick, of course is to remain patient, kind, self controlled… Oh, that is why I don’t deny myself of self gratification that is hurting me – I can’t say no to myself either!!! HELP

  • Susan A.

    Isn’t it funny that when you have a thought of self denial that’s when you want it most? The mind is a powerful thing. Allen shared words of wisdom and today when I deny myself something I will focus on Galatians 5, verse 22&23 (I looked it up)

    • John Corcoran

      Sometimes I say no because I feel inadequate. I am not acting in a positive way but out of fear of inadequacy not strength. I need to trust More to Jesus than I am able. John J.

      • Trish Byers Larcomb

        John, this is something I have struggled with all my life. Although I am not successful all of the time, I have, in recent years, prayed that God guides me to act not out of fear, but out of love. It wasn’t until a very painful divorce a few years ago, that was not my choice, that I gained some perspective on my life, and through prayer and counseling, look back on my life with clearer vision. Through that process, I discovered that most life decisions I made in the past were based on fear. Fear of not being able. Fear of not being worthy. Fear of not being enough, etc. I struggle with regret for many of those choices. But, now I ask Jesus *daily* to give me the courage to make each day about love and to trust in Him for everything. Praying for you that Jesus takes your fear away and you can rest easy in His arms.

        • Kelly

          Trish, I am so sorry you had to go through such a sad thing as unwanted divorce! I do appreciate what you say about fear stifling your choices. You helped me see that in me! Let’s both pray to learn to trust in Jesus more and to indeed grow & act more in love!

      • ann

        Hi John, I too have struggled for most all of my life to love myself, thus resulting in fear, inaction and wallowing in the aftermath (depression) of negative self judgment. I had trouble trusting Jesus and very fearful, therefore not fully accepting of his forgiveness and the joy of a full relationship with him. Trust, specifically emotional trust, has always kept the true-me hiding inside. However Jesus calls us to be our true and best self, to reflect him in our being to others in this world. Not until one day in my morning scripture, prayer and meditation time did it dawn on me that if I have no business judging others then that includes me! Only Jesus is the judge of me, therefore I do not have to feel bad about myself, because he loves me unconditionally, and he sees me very differently than I do. So what am I doing telling my self what I deserve or don’t deserve, it is not up to me, but to our lord. This wonderful revelation did not happen over night but was one of the “duh?of course!” moments that happens through the Holy Spirit. I can now act out of the sense that God will give me the courage and strength when I need it to act when I am fearful. God is in control, not fear. I thank God that he has renewed my mind, and when I do feel fear, it simply is not the same. I do hope this helps in some way John, I will pray for you that when you are afraid, as at times you will be (we are human of course) that it will not be crippling but a wonderful experience to take God’s hand in trust, and make that one step beyond the threshold of fear. God bless you John, you will end up loving yourself through our Lord, Jesus.

        • Diane Grohn

          What you have written is a revelation to me. I am criticizing myself bc I was taught that is the way to improve. It is not working for me. i find it easy to accept others flaws, better than my own. of which I am constantly aware. When I was younger under 40, I often had panic attacks. Therapy and medical care has helped a lot. Being raised constantly being told You are nothing, came from nothing, and will become nothing, is in my head often.

          Parents need to realize children listen and remember these brutal statements.

        • Kelly

          Ann, wow! Thank you! I wrote a lot of this down in my notebook.

      • Lisa

        I’m with you. Taking that first step forward is terrible, isn’t it.

    • Kathiehc

      Thanks, Susan!
      I wrote the list & noted his reference but would have looked up the verses later!

    • Annette

      That is so true, Susan, and I know I feel so much better when I live the Friut of the Spirit in my life! There is a true sense of peace you feel inside you and I know it is coming from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit! I agree with Dr. Hunt, this is the most powerful verse in the Bible to live by!

    • Songmoa Nkemnge

      That is true when you deny yourself something that is when the devil want you to eat so bad so it will accuse you later, i pray God help me die in my flesh.

  • Paula Gregory

    I am a g glutton. I have great great self control during the day, but after I go to bed I’m up 3-4 times a night eating and eating a lot. I’m so sick of this. I have been doing this for years, but the amount is getting worse. Help me.

    • Paula Gregory


    • Jane Deutschlander

      Paula – I understand your pain… I have struggled with overeating most of my life. I recently sought counseling to help me not only learn strategies to stop but to look into the underlying reasons that I do it. I am now finding more success in denying myself in these areas. If you haven’t tried counselling you might want to try it… there is no simple solution – I pray for you that you find answers.

    • Donna Sweesy

      I’ve never had that experience but I did have the urge to eat before bedtime. What cured me of that was learning that when you are in a horizontal position, food does not leave your stomach and when it sits in there, it putrifies and rots which is why your breath smells when you wake up

    • Lynn Nguyen

      Paula, have you used an accountability partner? It’s amazing the progress we make when someone who cares for us and committed to hold us accountable. Prayers for you.

    • Trish

      Paula, I can empathize with you. I too in the past had a challenge with gluttony. It was a vicious cycle until one day, I was reading scripture, and there it stated Ezekiel 16:49 Sodom’s sins were pride, gluttony, and laziness, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door. I went to confession, then I have been on my journey ever since. I have made a commitment that nothing but water enters my mouth after 7pm at night. I read much scripture and keep my eyes focused on Jesus, and I often implore the help of Mary by reciting the Memorare when it gets tough. Recently, I have deepened the journey to where I can now fast twice a week. Our world is so dark now, and my mind shift is that because denying myself the pleasures of food, perhaps in some small way, this sacrifice brings honor to Jesus for the reparation of souls. Is my gluttony completely gone? No. But has it lessened over time? Absolutely. Do I still confess this sin? Many times throughout the year! I consider it one of my many crosses to bear, and offer my sacrifices to Jesus to use as He pleases. I know Jesus is happy because I am making a sincere effort to overcome this sin. Hope this helps!

    • Peggy Ann Foss

      Paula, check the book out “Trim Healthy Mama” written by two Christian sisters. It has helped many women.Their are suport groups on facebook that keep you accountable, plus it’s not a diet but a lifestyle based on the bible. I know it really helped me.Praying for you.

    • Liz C

      Paula, something in your post touched me and I just want you to know that I just spent a few minutes praying for you. And when you wake in the night with temptations please think about this one person here (me) praying for you. Perhaps that will give you some comfort, and assurance that the Holy Spirit will strengthen you. God Bless you.

    • Lisa

      Temptations that occur when you are barely awake are the hardest. Ask Mother Mary to protect you and your guardian angel to keep you asleep at night. If you do wake up, try praying the rosary. God Bless you.

  • Susie Caughey

    After reading the comments on the reflection of yesterday, I was very moved by one which spoke of “literal” fasting. I had actually done this twice in my teen years on Pilgrimage at Lough Derg, Co. Donegal, Ireland. It was not easy. Upon reading, “Rediscover Catholicism”, Matthew had written, “Fasting to the body is like praying is to the soul. Indeed bodily fasting leads to spiritual feasting.” (something to that effect … I used this in a talk I gave on Retreat a few years ago.) Fasting is a perfect way to delay gratification. I have to say I really have not practiced fasting so much at all this Lent but I have some time left. I’m on my commute to experience The Bread Line at St. Francis of Assisi Church now in NYC. I believe it will really open my eyes

  • Pat Dodd Polito

    i guess I can say I practice self denial each time I deny myself in order to meet the needs of My loved ones. I don’t normally think about it. It’s done out of love

    • Karen

      Amen especially when it is your children, who always come before you! A very good lesson!

    • Maria Vaccaro-Sardos

      Now that you mention it I do too. But does it count? Like you say i don’t think about it, i automatically do it, do i have to say i offer it up, to be aware of it? I guess I feel that that’s my job of being a mother. Well thank you for pointing this Out to me. I feel uplifted by it.

      • Lisa

        I think it counts twice.

        • Maria Vaccaro-Sardos


  • jesspinosa

    A flash bulb just popped in my brain – delayed gratification + self-control = patience. I have a refrigerator magnet that says “Dear Lord, give me patience, and please do it now.” That’s me in a nutshell. When I receive something I order that needs assembly, I am so excited and impatient that I assemble it immediately without reading the instructions, and more often than not, I do it wrong and have to start all over again, this time reading the instructions carefully. I blush when my friends call my attention for being so impatient because it is so true. I am grateful that I have a God who is so patient with me and continues to love me as I am.

    P.S. Like Dr. Hunt, I remember with fondness when I had hair, feeling the breeze running through it. Those were the days, like a thousand years ago! ☺ The upside is I save money on shampoo and don’t have to carry a comb in my pocket.

    • Judy Twomey

      I often say, ” like a thousand years ago” and get strange looks! 😉

    • Stevie Mick

      Slightly off topic here but want to just encourage you. After my hair loss I eventually decided to grow a full beard. Once again I can feel the breeze blowing through my hair!

      • Amarilis2012


    • Lorraine

      And a good man always comes out on top AND you are the first to know when it rains! Have a blessed day.

    • Mixed Chick

      Thank you for that! I put that quote into my notes on my phone. I think that I have been plagued with a spirit of anger. It’s a combination of many things. The biggest thing I struggle with is the further decline in my hearing and how this affects my communications with others. By the time I hear someone call me for the third time, I startle and I do get aggravated because it’s like an explosion. I guess what I am really aggravated with is not being able to come to terms with this loss and wondering, “Why me?” I have a little bit of tinnitus which sounds like a twitter in my ear. Instead of struggling with it and letting it remind me of my loss, maybe I can use it as a gentle reminder, like the song of a bird, to slow down and listen as well as I can to God and to my fellow human. Maybe I can use it as a call to patience. It is a loss that I didn’t choose, but I can offer it up and make my reaction a part of my fast.

      • jesspinosa

        I am not only follicle-challenged but eardrum-challenged as well. I have been wearing hearing aid for a year now, and I can hear homilies better, better homilies and worse homilies as well.

      • mjtav240

        Have you considered hearing aids? I work with students with hearing loss and am amazed at how much difference it makes when they can hear. It must be so frustrating not to hear! I pray that God will bless with His grace to follow His will for you in this affliction. God Bless You!

        • Mixed Chick

          Oh yes I have hearing aids. Thanks so much for your prayers and blessings.

      • Becky Ryan

        I just had the conversation with God this morning, “If you could just get rid of the Tinnitus, I could deal with the deafness.” That’s only half true. Being hard of hearing (nerve deafness they call it) has been a real disappointment for me and I have struggled to accept it and to offer it up as a sacrifice. Thanks for sharing and the idea to slow down and listen is a great reminder of what we should all do, hard of hearing or not.

        • lisa

          I too have nerve deafness since I was a year old (deaf in one ear, very minimal in the other), I have been wearing hearing aids for the last 5 years, my biggest fear was the constant buzzing sound in my good ear would be magnified with them, my audiologist assured me they would not because of something to do with the brain and the balance of hearing. I was 50 when I got them and cant imagine life without them! Best thing I ever did! Good luck & God bless!

      • David

        I have been dealing with sudden hearing loss for the past year. It is very difficult to come to terms with. While the standing treatment is high doses of prednisone, I find the effects of the drug even worse. I have now found that I get great results with a low sodium diet (<1500mg/day) and periodic 24 hour+ fasting which I never used to do. The results have been amazing and I am able to maintain my hearing without any drugs. For Lent I added 15 minutes of meditation and I feel that the combination better eating, fasting and meditation has brought me even closer to God.

    • Lee Lynch

      Love the quote about patience – I work in Oncology care, and that immediately went up on my “inspiration” bulletin board.

    • helena handbasket

      I have a follicly challenged friend who says he “combs his hair” with a wet washcloth.

      • Karen Kotzbach McCreary

        Helena handbasket , That reminded me of my Dad , he used to say he was just getting more face to wash ! Thanks for making me think of him and having a smile .Acceptance leads to patience as a real virtue.

    • Lisa

      Fr. Hampsch (Claretian Ministry) likes to say that: Lord, give me patience, and do it now.

    • John S.

      Dr.Hunt also said he was a drummer; I say once a drummer always a drummer, for I am one myself. I’m also going bald AND wear hearing aids! (I bet you can guess why)….I’ve learned how to not accept every musical offer that comes way and “delay that gratification” so as to stay home more with my family!

    • Tina

      Delayed gratification is not only a hindrance to virtue and success.
      I had success because I had a God given talent. I was “top dog”. But then I became overly confident. I thought I could afford a little self indulgence or enjoyment, which became self gratification. it turned into a very slippery slope.
      Getting back, almost making it, was very, very hard work.

    • Debra Kyser

      Yes, delayed gratification along with self control means patience. Oh, how I need that one too. I have learned through circumstances to learn this lesson sometimes the hard way.

    • Amy Augustine

      “When I receive something I order that needs assembly, I am so excited
      and impatient that I assemble it immediately without reading the
      instructions, and more often than not, I do it wrong”

      I’m a little behind in watching these videos, and I’m really glad God gave me a little nudge to your comment! Your sentence I quoted is so so SO me it’s ridiculous. I do so many things wrong lately that I was starting to wonder if I had some deeper, maybe physical, issues going on, but you made me realize it’s all about my extreme impatience! Hopefully the saying is true that admitting you have a problem is half the battle…and hopefully God will help me out with this right now! 🙂

  • Susan E

    Great theme today! Thank you Dr. Hunt very practical examples of self denial!

  • Linda Carmelle

    I’ve been in the field of Early Childhood Education since 1987,believe it or not 1 of the life lessons/goals we try to teach from infancy on up is the concept of self control. I’ve seen this fundamental concept introduced in many different theories of education. For anyone who is struggling with Self Control or Delayed Gratification my suggestion is to begin in again,be reborn ,so to speak. Start as you would to teach a child these concepts.You may also try looking for suggestions by Maria Montessori or how Head Start model teaches such concepts.Even as a parent,you may read your child’s preschool or day care handbook and website,you will find resources there .If you are able to start with yourself in this way I believe it will be a smoother transition to practicing all Fruits of the Spirit. Remember we are all Children of God,No matter how young or old we are. My Grandpa used to say at age 100 I’m still a Child of God you know. Always Remember how important you are to your Holy Father and He will help you succeed . Our God is an Awesome God! Have a Blessed Day!

    • Jennifer Haeussler Brewer

      HI Linda,
      I am an early childhood educator also and entered the field about the same time. I taught preschool for about 19 years and now am teaching at the university level. I’ve been here 10 years and have seen a decline in the ability of our young adults to practice self control.
      I agree that self control is taught at a very young age and follows us through our life.
      We all need a little more God in our lives.

      • Connie Bland


      • Linda Carmelle

        Do Not get discouraged,just try to plant the seeds in the young adults when you can….I do the same with the new young teachers I work with and mentor. Some days are more of a challenge than others,and some days I see even those teachers who are my peers can lead others astray. Just do the best you can in the moment,believe that God will continually be providing opportunites for growth and development in the lives of His children. There is a learning curve with all of the temptation and distractions out there. We have our lifetime to improve ourselves and those around us are effected by our changes too.

      • Karen Kotzbach McCreary

        Jennifer, I am acutely aware of the need for instant gratification by our younger people . With 11 grandchildren aged 23-2 yrs., the little ones are better at waiting “just a minute” ,than the older ones. I think and pray about this a lot . Trying to tell their parents (our kids) is like talking to a brick wall . I’m afraid they will all have to learn everything the hard way . And yes, continue to be miserable . I refuse to judge ; just pray.

    • Winnie Svikhart Supple

      Jennifer and Linda. I too am in the same field. 30 years and just retired. But as the mother of 6 that’s easier said than done. The outside world ( including the schools) does little to reinforce lessons taught at home Perseverance and prayer. God bless you

      • Linda Carmelle

        Congratulations on your retirement,I’m sure you had positive influences on so many lives during your career.! Enjoy your new role and time with your family.Its a challenge when we work in a secular school and we have Christian values to uphold. Our philosophy(religious and personal) do not always unite with the schools philosophy and teachings. I have been honest with my families and explained the differences in beliefs when the opportunity presents itself.You said it best with we need to have Perserverance and Prayer to help reinforce lessons. I like to think of it as God allows me to translate His Word in a language others may understand and relate to. However, if it doesn’t happen in that moment(or in other future conversations) I try to remind myself that God will provide another opportunity for others to receive His message. He can see the bigger picture than me, He may use me to plant the seed,that’s all.Just keep communicating and Believe in God’s Plan. =)

      • Karen Kotzbach McCreary

        Winnie, you’re 100% spot on ! Thanks ! Love *_* K

    • Lisa

      Yes, compared to the saints in heaven, 100 is just a kid!

    • Connie Bland

      God Bless I t0tally agree

    • Carolyn Orsi

      Thank you for your suggestions Linda. I will not explore them now, although I really want to, because there are other things that I need to do today. I guess that will delay my gratification of learning something new. My grandchildren are a prime example of not being able to delay gratification. I will take the blame on that, because I spoiled my daughter, and because she hardly ever heard the word ‘no”. My daughter struggled with ADHD, Bi-Polar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder and bullying as she was growing up. Because she struggled with so much mental anguish, I tried to make her life comfortable. That was a mistake, because she still looks to her father and to me to “bail her out”. She has a difficult time in delaying her gratification at the expense of her children. I have learned to say “no” emphatically, I hope that I can teach my grandchildren the importance of delaying gratification, because their lives will be so much better.

      • Linda Carmelle

        I do understand completely. Both my brother and I had struggled with physical and learning disabilities growing up. My Parents did their best to keep us on track ,they had the same expectations for us as most of our peers in that generation did(we grew up in the 70’s and 80’s–a much different time frame and our parents values were very 1950’s and 60’s.) We were given certain “induldences” for our lacking abilities,but it was mostly material items,inexpensive toys and a large playroom in an otherwise very small basement apt. of my Grandparents home. Their logic,friends and peers for my brother and I were very hard to come by,sometimes because kids can be cruel and sometimes because adults can be ignorant and afraid. I give my parents credit though for putting limits on our behavior and disciplining us for socially unacceptable behavior. Delaying gratification was a huge part of our upbringing,we saved our allowances,gift money,and earnings from lemonade stand sales to pool together for the big stuff we wanted,like the 1st t.v. we earned when my brother was 4 and I was 8. Those were very powerful life lessons which I am able to pass onto my the parents of the children in my classes now. I was truly Blesssed to have my family give me the gift of a religious upbringing,being able to develop my relationship with God(even in moments when I was just doing it for my family and not for myself and God), and having picked a career in which I could learn the remainder of what I didn’t receive from my family by gaining knowledge from other theorists. I am still in this field so I can pass on that knowledge now at a time when we are in most need. All Catholics and Christians I hope you can give a little of yourselves too, in any field/career you are in to do the same. The world is in great need now. Keep up the Good Works everyone=)

        • Carolyn Orsi

          Thanks, Linda. Your students are lucky to have you as a teacher!

        • Karen Kotzbach McCreary

          Linda, I used to feel badly about not being able to give all our kids more. We didn’t dwell on it and made the best of it . They had all their needs met and many “wants” . They just didn’t have what friends all seemed to have . Now, they are the ones who can’t seem to say , “NO!”, to their kids – and have no , mean no . It has already come back to a couple of them but the others I’m still trying to “gently” lead in the right direction. Prayer and perseverance are the guideposts of the moment . Thank You, God, for my faith and this community.

    • Paula Hecker

      As I read your post I was reminded that we are told in the Bible that unless we become like a little child we cannot enter into heaven! Sometimes we have to go way back to the beginning reteach ourselves don’t we?

  • Patricia

    Dr Allen Hunt, wow, the Fruits of the Holy Sprit. A beautiful lesson to open up to this morning, thank you.

  • Sherry McCollum

    My lifestyle has definitely changed since my husband retired at the end of this past year. When he was working, we would only see each other on the weekends where we would spend money to go out to eat. I don’t think we would spend a Saturday at home eating a home cooked meal. And now that he is home every night we are now having all those meals we missed during the week every night. I also believe that when we were not together at home I was denying myself the gratification of a good solid marriage, we were more like two ships passing in the night and now that he is home more we have become closer and have developed a stronger marriage because of it. Looking back, him not being around so much during the week was God testing our marriage and love for each other. Not sure of other couples would have stood the test of time to stay together without seeing each other so much. I guess it is true what they say; “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” and I am a true believe of that.

    • Kj

      Blessings on you and your husband! Wonderful testimony!

    • jerseyangel

      I am going through this same thing right now. My husband, who should be retired, has a job a little too far to drive home every night so I insisted that he take a room there. It has been almost two years now. This past week I have really been feeling lonely despite having two grown boys home. Talk about ships in the night. The boys, I hardly ever see. I keep busy, and I work during the day and go to things at night. Not sure how long him working out of town will last. We have fun weekends together so that is good. We certainly can use the money as we are still helping pay off kid’s college loans. Please pray for me that I can delay self gratification of seeing him every day and stop having negative, lonely thoughts pop in.

      • Sherry McCollum

        I will definitely keep you in my prayers. Wishing you hope for a brighter future. Our son will be starting college courses in September which will be another test of our lives together.

        • jerseyangel

          Exciting time. Will be praying for smooth transition and safety.

      • ann

        I sympathize with you, my husband is only home on weekends as well, and it is really hard. I never looked at it as self-denial since it isn’t my choice, it’s his. I struggle because we are only granted so much time on earth, and each day we go without spending together is another day we will never get back. I pray this situation changes, or at least that I can find a way to put a positive spin on it until we can have a normal, daily life together, and I pray for you too!!

        • Karen Kotzbach McCreary

          ann, my husband and I were separated aa year with him getting home maybe once a month or every 6 weeks . With 5 kids, my Dad , 80 chinchillas and a very long and steep hill for a driveway . I never thought that house would sell, that we’d move to TX, or that a month would go by without something major breaking .The 2nd week he was gone , our well pump died and we were without water for awhile . Faith and a crazy Irish sense of humor got me through. Now, we’ve been married 53 yrs. and are retired. We have lived in TX 36 yrs, and while I do not miss one single snowflake , I’d give anything if I could go back. . But, the kids are out of the house, only one practices her faith and I am putting in my time with a very quiet house ,and probably a couple birthdays left. Enjoy every moment even when lonely. Plan little surprises for when he comes back . Planning these was more fun than anything money could buy ! I substitute taught at the little Catholic school where we were, became an EM, was a lector, worked in the lunch area (only 1x a week) but it all worked . I filled my time because I had no choice. I was able to do all this and maybe couldn’t have done it if Joe had been at home. All the “horrible” things that happened to me were gifts in disguise. I had to wait 36 yrs. to see it. Having read this, maybe you will see your gifts sooner and be a little bit less lonely, a little bit happier and a LOT closer to God . That is all that matters in the end anyway. Happy “Surprise Planning” ! *_* K

        • jerseyangel

          Yes, I agree with that we only have so much time on earth, especially since my husband is older. He is trying to find a job closer to home but he hasn’t found anything. I may also look for a job where he is and we can rent a place for a couple of years until we both retire. That would mean by both boys who are certainly old enough will have to find a place of their own as well.

        • jerseyangel

          Oh and thanks for your prayers I too will pray for you Ann that both our husbands find jobs closer to home or that our situations resolve themselves soon. It’s Friday and my husband will be home by the time I get home.

          • ann

            Thanks and God bless you and your family!

    • ann

      I am in a similar situation with my husband and I having opposite schedules, and am struggling! How long was it like that for you? How did you deal with all the solitary time and feeling lonely?
      Prayers for you both, enjoy your time together!!

      • Sherry McCollum

        My husband and I will be married 29 years this year and I think for over half of those years I felt like a single parent but we came out stronger in the end. I kinda liked the quiet at times but most not. You tend to get used the solitude but could not wait for the weekend to arrive. Things do get better over time. God bless 🙏

    • Margo

      It speaks to me of the character of yourselves that the marriage has withstood such testing.

  • Holly Lanford

    I remember when my boys were young enough to go to Vacation Bible School- we taught the fruits of the spirit as a theme one year. It had a huge impact on me, too! Thank you Dr. Hunt for this reminder. I struggle with self control and am thankful for this reminder of how important it is. I believe with the message from yesterday of fasting and prayer, my self control can be increased.

    • Melanie Franey

      I remember that VBS! I’ve been singing the song in my head since listening to Dr. Hunt’s reflection.

  • Jacob

    It take time to see success. It will be better but, I think it like we want it “NOW”. Only because we live in a faster society. We want to live in the fast lane. Success doesn’t work that way. I will work for my success. I will pray for my success.

  • Daniela D.

    I do not struggle with self denial, I have a very strong self-control, so strong that sometimes I cannot allow myself to feel joy because I think I do not deserve it. I guess it is a struggle after all.

    • amber

      Daniela, I understand exactly what you are saying. I too deny myself quite often until I find myself in a place of frustration and resentment. When we were asked what we thought God was asking of us, I believe God is asking me to accept the joy He puts in my life, that is hard because when I do I feel guilty. But today I woke up and the prayer God placed on My heart was, ” please Lord, help me recognize the joy you give me today. Also, through the practice of a daily examen, I have recognized how much time I do spend helping others and can hear God say how much he loves me for it. I start that examen by telling God what I relished in that day and end by asking his forgiveness for distancing myself from him in any way, then I sit with that until I feel his forgiveness.

      • Daniela D.

        Thank you Amber, very insightful words. God Bless.

  • Teresa Adohu

    Matthew talks about delayed gratification. This has been a theme in my life. You live paycheck to paycheck to save for later. Now that I am older I’ve paid myself back some. I need to be better st doing this spiritually. Banking my good deeds and prayers so I can see God more in my life…

  • Diana

    As I was listening to these videos, I realized how often I DON’T deny myself. I like the action for this video because I think I need to be reminded of the importance of delaying gratification. In our society, everything is conveniently at our fingertips. I hope to say no to finding out the answers on the internet when a question pops up; have some grit instead of a sweet; pray instead of playing on my phone. I have a lot of work in this department. Thankfully, God’s will is stronger than mine.

  • Jim

    Dr. Hunt ‘got to me’ this morning. It’s the first video that has REALLY got me thinking about my lack of ‘self control’ in my life. I am planning now to view is video each day for a while to helm me remind myself that I am not very good at self control in my daily activities and need to make this my goal to be good at it to enjoy the rewards of the items he presented from the verse in Galatians. Thank you Dr. Hunt.

  • Marilyn

    Today’s message was really an eye-opener for me. I think because I was raised as a people-pleaser, I said yes to a lot of things that took me away from my own causes and needs. It has taken me seven decades of life to realize that it’s ok to say no sometimes, even if it doesn’t fall in the category of self-denial. It’s self-sustaining Little things we do during the day should help us focus on the spiritual choices we can make instead of the physical pleasures and it’s the way to strengthen our faith and feed our souls. St. Mother Teresa tells us we can’t all do great things, but we can do little things with great love. Today I will try to live that message.

    • Jacqueline Shukla

      Marilyn, like you I struggle with being self-sustaining. I have had to learn to NOT deny myself crucial things rather than to delay gratification. I’m not perfect at delaying gratification, but I need to work harder at taking care of myself than I do at delaying my gratification so I don’t end up with an “empty gas tank” — so depleted that I can’t do anything. I reached that point yesterday morning, so I have just had a recent wake up call! I had to collapse into Jesus’ arms and rest instead of doing the things others needed or wanted me to do because I was completely exhausted, both physically and emotionally.

      • Karen Burke

        I totally agree with you Jacqueline. I haven’t quite collapsed yet but, I feel myself coming closer to Jesus!

      • Marilyn

        Like you, I recently said no to something that others expected of me, and I stopped giving excuses. I’ve learned not to feel guilty about taking of myself first, and most importantly not running out of gas – perfect analogy. Collapsing should not be an option.

  • Elaine

    One way I practice self denial is to visit my favorite Thrift Shop where I’ve always found something I had to have. I’ve noticed in the past several years although I still enjoy visiting the shop and see many things I’d like to have, I deny myself the pleasure and usually leave without purchase. I understand the concept and focus more on what is most important in my life.

  • Janet Marusiak

    Wow, this topic is so good for all of us and mostly for parents today. Today both parents work and they feel bad leaving their kids alone and what do they do, give them what they want when they want it and so they grow up thinking they can have anything if they want it. They do not learn how to work for something; how to fail at something and the satisfaction of getting it right or success. No confidence is being instilled in them to be able to face the world with their own skills and experience of failure. Failing at something in my life was my best learning too.

    • Mike

      Janet, I agree with your post. I struggle as a parent to find that balance.

  • Nighten Gayle

    This is so perfect for today. I have been practicing self-denial through fasting and prayer for several months. I started back in the Fall when I heard one of Fr John Riccardo’s homilies and he gave a challenge to his parishioners to begin fasting and praying every Wednesday for our nation (U.S.A.). The focus or intention of the fasting later changed (in January) to praying for families, marriages and priests. As a Protestant I never understood the importance and spiritual benefits of fasting. I’ve now come to understand that the Holy Spirit can better mold us and make us when we yield to Him through our fasting. God truly becomes our “potter” and we are his “clay.”

    • Robert

      Huge Father John fan here. So miss being in Michigan where I could attend his services in person. Just hearing his name brings a smile too my face and more resolution to my cause.

      I follow through Facebook still to give me the occasional,dosage of reality😎.

      Keep on learning Gayle and prayers for a rich Lent for you.

  • Mick Peterson

    Self-control, self-denial are both ways to avoid complacency in my life. We are not going for the “participation trophy;” our job is to EARN heaven. The only way to get there is to be, like our pastor says, a “grinder.” Roll uup those sleeves, pick up that cross, and get busy. Every day.

    • Diana

      Mick, we do not Earn heaven,Jesus did that for us. We do these things in thanks for his richesness. To help us to be the best version of our selves to please God & bring others to him.

      • Mick Peterson

        I respect your views Diana. True…He did. I should have said earn our spot in heaven. It’s not given to us.

        • Diana

          Mick, I hope I wasn’t offensive, I didn’t mean to be. You are right we want to earn our spot in heaven.

          • Mick Peterson

            Not at all Diana. I love the sharing of thoughts
            God bless

  • Waiting Patiently

    This makes me want to go upstairs and repack my lunch. Food for me is hard. I have given up so much, its like the last vice that I have which makes fasting very hard. I want to become better. I know longer pack the 20 lbs. of food everyday but I do still find myself taking “goodies” out of the fridge and to work. Instead of lounging now after work I take 2 of my boys on a mile run and then lift weights afterwards. l linger in the kitchen instead of vegging infant of the TV so I can hear about my wife’s day, but my wife is such an AWESOME cook it’s hard to not gorge myself every night at the dinner table. Reflecting on these videos though I can see how all the dreams of my youth failed. It was because I wouldn’t delay gratification. Inspiring thoughts here.

  • Nancy D.

    I really enjoyed listening to Dr. Allen Hunt. I have written down St. Paul’s versus because it is so true. I was able to practice self control yesterday by not saying words that I so wanted to say at work. These words are so “juicy” that I still feel compelled to say them today. It is taking a lot of self-control not to say these words even today, but I will push these thoughts out of my mind and move on. I can see how this type of self control is difficult, but in regards to the bigger picture it makes sense. We need to focus on what is really important and matters than on the small things that may give us happiness, but in the long run is only temporary.

  • Nick Rizzi

    Actually, my theme for Lent this year has been self-control. It’s tough when you’re young to learn to have patience. I am finding, It’s equally tough on the other end of the age spectrum. I have found myself thinking, “I have been __________(fill in the blank, dieting, exercising, saving, praying, etc.) long enough! Enough already, I deserve this now!” But, the further down that path of thinking you go, the more dangerous it becomes. Please pray for me that I rediscover the discipline and delight in sacrificing for God.

  • Theresa Yamasaki

    As a kid my parents always said no to me and my siblings…all 5 of us. As I have grown older I am just not interested in things..material possessions etc. .. My husband and I woke up one morning about 10 yrs ago to the realization that we were close to 80k in debt! A Chinese adoption (our sweet baby Malia), husbands student loan and credit card (not frivolous stuff) got us into a state of fear I will NEVER forget. Our marriage could have ended easily but we buckled down and learned together..Worked together to become debt free (except for the house). Talk about delayed gratification. Sheesh… We did the Dave Ramsey Total money makeover and I will never forget a few things I learned. “No going out to eat unless you plan to stay there and wash the dishes” and here is my most favorite..” Live like no one else today so you can live like no one else tomorrow” ..In other words. … delay gratification until you learn self control regarding finances. It took us 5-6 years but we paid off EVERY LAST PENNY!! No vacations, no eating out, no extras for 5-6 yrs! About 4-5 yrs ago we realized that we needed a new car. Our Subaru had close to 200k miles. We saved and saved for down payment and my husband is now so happy w the recent purchase of a used Chevy Volt electric car. Because we didn’t rush out to buy one we paid for half in cash and our monthly payment is very doable. Matthew Kelly is spot on w his msg for today. It’s humbling and a great lesson in becoming a better version of ourselves. Our sweet baby Malia is a spender so I try so hard to teach her that God’s love is all she needs to feel happiness. …Instead of buying bubble gum and candy. 🙂

    • Suzzz

      WOW! Getting rid of 80K in debt? Phenomenal! Congratulations!

    • Karen Kotzbach McCreary

      We have lived that way our entire lives. By only putting things on a charge card that we knew would be paid at the time of billing . We’ve never had a brand new car, a vacation, and only eat out at inexpensive places as a treat every other month or so. NO debt except house payment . No worrying at night losing sleep over who to pay or not pay. I wish more young people could see the value of living this way .One word description : FREEDOM ! That way you can share with others and not feel badly about not being able to share. Think about it . People are being consumed by their possessions and not the other way around .If we have Jesus, we have all we need . Everything is just stuff . It was a pleasure to read your story ! *_* K BTW You will love this : , Our car is now 30 yrs. old with a little over 100K miles on it . I have to admit , it’s as tired as we are ! LOL

  • Holly

    I have finally accepted that I have very little discipline so I practice self denial with little things and for the big things such as wanting to stop drinking, I have a support group. God, of course is who helps me with all of it!

    • Suzzz

      Good luck, Holly! You are definitely on the way to the “Best version of yourself”

  • Alice

    The biggest way I practice self denial is forcing myself to do things that I know are good for me when I don’t want to do them. Fighting Resistance is a big part of this act. I am going to embrace the fasting and prayer that we discussed yesterday today. I am already a little anxious but know by the end of the day I will be stronger. The concept of saying no to myself once a day is scary but I will also try this today and in the future.

  • Eduardo Hoover

    I don’t think it is so much practicing the fruit of the Spirit because they give forth inherently, the reward for not living by the acts of the flesh which are listed in Galatians immediately before the eight fruits of the Spirit.

  • Susan E

    I would agree that delayed gratification is key to a better life with Christ. The Lord asks us to be patient and pray and work hard and persevere. I believe that the key to raising great kids is to teach and practice delayed gratification. It is also the key to a good solid marriage. Reflecting on my own broken marriage, I truly believe that this would have helped.

    • Mike

      Susan, I’m struggling with this in my marriage because my wife and I don’t have the same view of delay gratification. This is a real challenge for us. Your post made me think about what I can do but I can only control myself not her. I need Gods help here.

    • Paul Stuart

      As a fellow Nebraskan I would also encourage Dr. Hunt to visit Lincoln which has the best Newman Center in the country and the (20th or so) best football team in the country!

  • Mrs. B

    Dr. Allen Hunt, I invite you to come visit our small Catholic school in Nebraska! Check the state off your list!

  • Rosanna Connelly

    Why not nebraska? Come visit us and you’ll never want to leave.

    • Doug

      At least visit Scottsbluff, NE. Beautiful country. (Also happens to be my hometown.)

  • Mike

    I also struggle with delayed gratification. But the other part of the self control challenge I have is procrastination. I’m making a daily list of the three most important things I need to get done in my life, not just my work and I review it in the morning and in the evening to hold myself accountable.

    “Do or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda

  • Jennifer Haeussler Brewer

    WOW…. you spoke to my heart this morning

  • Amy

    I used to fast more as a child/youth… it seems the older I get the harder it is for me to fast and give up those things I’m used to… but I heard a wise priest once say that if you want to break a bad habit, start by denying yourself something small every day – no salt on your food, no katchup on your burger, etc. Start with one small sacrifice a day, and eventually you will build up enough self control to give up the big things. I’ve been so happy this lent, waking up early to pray, fasting and praying throughout the day, that I don’t want to stop when lent is over… I feel like I am spiritually feasting, as one of the comments stated. God is good!

  • Donald Marquez

    I think I try to live by the philosophy of “do the next right thing.” Every single day we are confronted with hundreds of decisions to do this or do that, to go here or go there, to respond in one way or another. By themselves, those decisions are hardly life-changing. But I find if I am choosing the “next right thing” often enough throughout my day, well that becomes, in itself, life changing.

  • Robert

    Another excellent topic and lesson.

    I have so much to learn, what have I been doing with myself all these years?

    I’ve been pretty lucky with some of the big picture self denial topics such as saving money and treating people with respect and loving them for who they are versus where they are in society.

    But I struggle with some smaller things that are now confounding me in my ability to regulate. I am losing confidence in my ability to ever turn the corner.

    I look back at my “wins” and sometimes I think I owe my “successes” to a) an inability to not self control my devotion to the job (risking my marriage and relationship with others), and b) a strong education from and example of my Mother on how to treat others (thank you Mom!).

    In other words, these successes may not me my doing per se, but maybe more the outcome from some other bad habit or a great Gift from God in terms of being born into such a loving and caring family.

    Well I am babbling here, but they’re part of my therapy I guess. Now it’s time for me to get back to work on these little issues.

    Thanks again to DC for this wonderful program and this forum for the many insights that are shared.

  • Judy N

    The times in my life when God is the parent saying “No”, are the hardest times to accept the delay of gratification for me. Knowing that he always give us what we need and that may need not necessarily be what we want, is sometimes a hard delay to accept. One of the most beautiful songs about God’s answering of prayers is Collin Raye’s “I get what I need”. In it he sings, “these days I’m getting better at going with the flow, knowing that sometimes the answer to a prayer is No” . The fruits of the spirit of which Dr.Hunt reminds us, are gifts, yet we must freely accept them. In Galatians Saint Paul reminds us “if we live in the Spirit, let us follow the spirit.” (Gal 5:25); something we have been given the freedom to freely choose. It’s that choosing to accept the gifts which requires us often to delay our gratification. A lesson I am continually learning.

    • Carlos

      Judy, thanks for your insight and for the connection to Collin Raye’s song. There is a contemporary Christian song out right now by Mercy Me called “Even If” that has touched me in a similar way. The chorus is, “I know You’re able and I know You can, Save through the fire with Your mighty hand, But even if You don’t, My hope is You alone.” In saying “No” at times in our life, even if every fiber of our being feels that it is right and just, God is delaying our gratification on our behalf by saying “No” to the lesser and “Yes” to the greater. Jesus sees the good in the bad, the purpose in the pain and God’s presence in our problems.

      • Judy N

        Carlos, thanks for the reply. I love that Mercy Me song as well. Loking for God in the problem is an interesting statement. I definitely look for Him in the answer, but not the “problem “.

  • Frances Tooley

    Today’s message has hit me more so than any other, as self-control is definitely an issue that I have struggled with this year. I retired after thirty years in January to pursue completing my education and become a teacher. It’s a dream I have always carried in my back pocket, but not being needed daily for support from my team and being focused only on school, in an online environment, has been a much tougher transition than I expected. I love what Dr. Hunt said and this verse really does describe the best version of myself. Today I will focus on saying no to resistance ……

  • Renee

    For lent I decided I would Pray Double, Eat Half. I have done this since Ash Wednesday. It is to increase my discipline. If I prayed one rosary, I now pray two, if I attended one extra daily mass, I now do two. Eating my meals, if I eat out immediately divide in have and get a to go box. It is a discipline that turned out to be totally blessed for if God was not center in my focus I could never do this ..

    • Jesse

      That’s such a wonderful idea Renee, thanks for sharing! The result must be so gratifying. You’re spot on to place God as the center of your focus. In all that we do, when HE is the center of our focus, the result is just totally different!!

      • Renee

        It is more spiritually rewarding than I ever dreamed. I may continue it even after lent. Father Mike, pastor and friend, tells me Jesus loves it when we fast. Yes, blessings abound, beyond my expectations. So very blessed.

  • I’ve just started waking up early again, even though I don’t technically have to. It’s painfully hard at the moment the alarm clock goes off (I mean, talk about resistance!)….but once I’m up, the feelings of calm, peace and focus that I have are worth it. It gives me extra quiet time to pray, do spiritual reading, or write before breakfast.

  • Rosie

    Wow. tough question. Although I do say “no” to myself in many things that include enjoyment, I’m not sure if that is a good thing. I work too much and am not able to enjoy the simple things in life like taking a walk in the evening or visiting with my family enough. Those are the important things, being able to smell the roses. I’m not sure how to make that change. Working two jobs has just consumed my life, day and night. I am not greedy. I am a simple person but find it hard to say “no”, especially to the second job which I can do at home. It consumes my nights when I get home from the first job and my early mornings, before I go to my first job. Thinking about it now, I would be much happier if I had some free time to do what I enjoy and deny myself the gratuity that comes with the second job. I keep saying it’s for my future, but what future if I continue the way I am going. But time goes on and years go by and I am missing the most important parts of my life. This has made me really consider the options I do have in my life and how denying myself needs to take hold of me.

  • J Schodron

    This is an area that can always be hard. I have a sweet tooth and saying no to myself can be very hard. Sometimes I even convince myself that I certainly wouldn’t want to waste your it and let it spoil. I constantly need to remind myself that I don’t need it and to ask for Gods help. During lent I am watching what I am eating and trying to stay away from the added sweetener in many of our foods. It amazes me how many products have high fructose corn syrup. Staying away from all the sweet things is definitely something that I ask Gods help in saying no to.

    • Lea Novak

      I always give up sweets for Lent…I have quite a sweet tooth, and it’s too difficult to give it up on my own, but I find that I can do it for God… Sadly, as soon as Lent is over, I’m back into the sweets. Easter candy does me in! I will have to try saying No to sweets at least once a day, even after Easter!

  • Kelsey Dusenbery-Graves

    I think this is a good one not only for adults but children too. I think some children need to also learn self denial. I can say that my child is still learning self denial but I’d getting better.

  • Freda

    This made made me remember a book I read over 40 years ago. The Road Less Traveled.

  • Magalis Muniz

    I have a hard time with denying myself things that are not good for me. My anxieties kick in and I get irritable. I will read Galatians 5 and read it everyday to work on self control. Please pray for me.

    • Karen Kotzbach McCreary

      It is good to read that passage. Remember too, the next few verses tell us to, “Help carry one another’s burdens. ” ,which is what we are doing here. Everyone here on this Lenten journey together is in my prayers ; I lift you all up to God that your burden may be lighter . Love to all .

      • Magalis Muniz

        Thank you

    • Kelly

      I was having similar problems. I found that when that happens, that’s the time to turn to God and pray, “God I need you. Please be my strength. Fill me with your peace. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.” Oh my gosh, what a difference!! 🙂

  • Jean

    Love the second video msg❣

  • Christine Overkamp

    Dear Matthew and Allen, Wow!!! Delaying self-gratification and ties to to example of self-control. I love the simple, yet profound connection. I am very conscioius of this today and will put it into practice as part of my day. Thanks so much for the challenge for today. I have worked with people many years regarding self-gratification – I am a retired Jr. High/High School teacher and Catholic School Principal. I often would talk to students about doing their best in whatever it is that they are trying to accomplish BUT always seasoning it was the idea that they CAN BE THEIR BEST without diminishing anyone else!! I always reminded that that God walks with everyone and God would not lead us astray, we just need to ask for his help to do the right thing. I love working and talking with students and parents, so much fun to get their side of things, because as I found, a parent will normally always say that “My child would not do such a thing.” Only to be shocked when their child admitted that they did!! It is a humbling moment for all involved and very much so for the student who is told to talk to their parent in front of me either in person or over the phone and admit to what they had done that was inconsistent with school expections of a student. Lots of wisdom to be found in such times. God bless.

  • Ruth

    I need to practice self-denial when I want to rush through projects or when I am having trouble starting them. I need to find patience and care in my work sometimes and not worry about the time it is taking especially, if I start when I should.

  • Vince

    Dr. Hunt – you need to come visit Nebraska! Matthew was here last year – maybe he’s coming again and you can come with him!

  • David Borzenski

    Dr. M. Scott Peck (American Psychiatrist, May 22, 1936 – September 25, 2005) did a great job writing about “delayed gratification” in his book The Road Less Traveled published in 1978.

  • Stephanie Rodriguez

    I’ve always been a saver and not a spender, but in the consumer culture in which we live, I find it hard to stop those little impulse or “convenience” purchases. I shop second-hand for myself and kids (75% of the time, anyway), but when the blood sugar starts to crash and the kids start to get cranky, Chik-fil-A drive thru to the rescue. Nothing wrong with nuggets per se, and I don’t want to “deny” my kids. But wouldn’t self-control would dictate that I spend a few extra minutes packing snacks so as to avoid the extra spending? Ah, such a minor example but still speaks volumes into my own life. Taking time to prepare. Good. Denying waffle fries. Tough! 🙂

  • Mel Babin

    One way I practice self-control is to sit in silence with the Lord and ask where He wants me to be. There are endless tasks for us to complete on a daily basis, but do we ask the Lord what he wants us to accomplish today. Today’s reflection is a great one. Self-control in small things leads to self-control in greater things…. There are great things that the Lord wants us to know and to have if we practice self-control.

  • Kathleen Cranford Kelley

    Saint Augustine wrote, “Conquer yourself and the world lies at your feet.” And how can I conquer myself?

    Through the Fruits of the Holy Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Generosity, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control.

    Thank you Dr Hunt for your message!

  • LDC

    Self Denial – 😳 That is definitely not the message our capitalist culture sends. Immediate gratification is offered everywhere; fast food, internet content, investments, technology, almost everything that we consider progressive.

    Daily I fight the overwhelming desire for self indulgence. Hope seems to come from a new diet, instead of from my faith. I long for a healthy lean body, yet I repeatedly succumb to temptation through indulgence. Today I pray for an increase in my faith.

    Lord, help me with my struggle. Give me the will to overcome my desire for immediate gratification. Give me the strength to, consistently, live your word found in Galatians 5 – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Amen

  • Mike L

    Wow the first thing I thot of after listening to both men was the abortion issue, talk about delay gratification and self denial. We would have 50 million more children here with us, rather than in heaven with The Lord.

  • John Sankovitch

    Dr Hunt, I really appreciated your video. I got the following prayer from a monthly prayer book, Our Daily Bread a few years back and say it often. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your comment on Self Control – my biggest challenge. I have found doing Mother Mary’s Undoer of Knots Novena to be very powerful.
    Here’s the prayer:
    Good morning Heavenly Father, Good morning Lord Jesus, Good morning Holy Spirit. Father I pray that I may live this day in your presence and please you more and more. Lord Jesus, I pray that I may take up my cross and follow you. Holy Spirit, I pray that you will fill me with yourself and cause your fruits to ripen in my life; Love, Joy, Paece, Patients, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control. Holy and Blessed Glorious Trinity, Three Person’s in One God have Mercy on me, Amen.

  • Peggy

    I guess I didn’t want to actually look into myself but after listening this morning to Matthew & Dr. Hunt I struggle with delayed gratification, self control & patience. Now I can see that without delayed gratification and self control I will never have patience. Thank you both so much for opening my eyes.

  • Laura LaDue

    I have found that the only way to be happy is to work toward something. That means giving up on something to do so. I have done that for a long time. If I have a goal to achieve then I find it easier to hold off on other things.

  • There’s a lot of ways I sacrifice during the day—especially during lent. Snacking is something I really enjoy and it usually helps me get through the day. During lent, I don’t snack between meals. It’s hard, but I offer it up for souls. Service is also something that I keep top of mind during lent. Wherever I can, I pitch in and help without grumbling—dishes, laundry, taking out the trash. It’s easy to let those things feel like a barrier to what you want to do, but when you offer them up, it’s a small sacrifice. Therese prompts us to make small sacrifices throughout the day. Social media is a big draw for me. But during lent, I try to refrain from that activity as much as possible.

  • Mary

    That is my favorite personal reflection so far. Thank you Dr. Hunt!

  • Constance Griffith

    Thank you Dr Hunt for your insight today. I am a new Catholic and will be having my confirmation this Easter. I’ve read Gallatin 5:22 and 23 but never really thought of it as a guideline to live my Christian life on a daily basis. I taught my children that before they speak to think, ‘Is it true?, is it nice? or is it necessary?’ the fruits of the spirit is such a wonderful and better check list to ask myself before I speak or do anything.

  • John Bridges

    Doctor Hunt with a grand slam! Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us. I will practice more self control to honor the Holy Spirit. Delayed gratification is a great way to live for something better. God Bless You and all those you love Dr. Hunt!

  • FiftySevenRambler

    all well and good but what does he have against nebraska?


    do you know what the “n” on the nebraska football helmet stands for?


    – not too fond of nebraska either

  • Scott Kramer

    Thank you, Linda for such wonderful and inspiring words…God bless you today and always!

  • Linda

    I have a saying to remind me of today’s lesson:
    “Giving up what you want at the moment for what you want most”.

  • cmacri

    I’ve read several books like How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character or books about economic theory of inner cities, and they keep pointing to delayed gratification as a powerful method of avoiding failure (not necessarily as a way to become super sucessful, mind you). And I’ve always thought to myself, “Well, gee, as far as time horizons go, isn’t the day you die the ultimate in postponement?” It is one more thing pointing to the wisdom of our faith. Living your life as if it has eternal consequences greatly extends your ability to delay any type of gratification. 4 years of college vs. eternity? Peanuts.

  • This is such a challenge for me, particularly in the area of parenting. Denying your children is denying self in many situations. It’s so very difficult for me, as often the reason to say no is only because of the need to teach them about self denial. It’s hard to explain “why” they can’t have something, especially when your children do not ask for many things, yet saying no is valuable to both them and me. I also struggle with my own impulsiveness, which is often followed by regret. Thank you to those who mentioned the same book and to Dr. Hunt for the bible verse. Some research is necessary….

  • Mary Ann Stafford

    For some reason, I seem to be focused on food too much since I lost my husband of 60 years. So during this Lent en period, I have vowed to give up one of my favorite foods or drinks each day. Sometimes it is coffee; sometimes bread, and sometimes the 4 c’s — cookies, crackers, chips, and candy! I’m so glad to find that I can really deny myself something I like each day.

  • Tony Pantera

    I have been saying no to myself for a long time. When it comes to eating & exercise especially. However, if I don’t say no to myself enough, the benefits are watered down (saying no to eating a dessert once a month for example). Say no too much and bad things can happen as well (Saying no to resting in instead of running a marathon each day.). There must be a balance between too little and too much. That is sometimes the hardest part for me to figure out.

  • Cherise

    I really liked Dr. Hunt’s concept of being in training. Kind of like being an athlete for God.

  • Bob Krumm

    One of the most difficult things I have had to face is being on the Internet for hours. Checking Facebook and replying to posts have eaten up so much of my time and limited my accomplishing anything during the waking hours. Still, viewing Best Lent Ever videos and reading the comments have given me hope. Perhaps, if I delay my gratification and limit my time on line and spend more time in prayer and service to others I can become the best version of my self.

  • Jeff K

    I have found the wisdom and beauty in delaying self gratification is that it opens the door for something very productive to take its place. My New Year’s resolution was to stop watching TV every night and I have read six books so far this year.

  • Andi

    I’m saying no to myself by cooking more meals for my family. I have neglected this part of my role as a wife and mother. It’s amazing to me how much this has brought me peace and the family is happier and closer. I am so grateful for how God is using this program to bring me closer to Him and to the best version of myself!

  • Maureen Ashburn

    Amazing! I want what he has and am so willing to do the work.

  • Joseph Marvil

    Can’t control myself: Just curious as to why Dr Hunt has said no only to Nebraska 🙀

  • Joyce W.

    Practicing self denial or delayed gratification is something I was really falling down on, so I have been making them a priority this Lent, and not doing too badly, but halfway through Lent is often a time of derailment for me, I’ll cheat just a little on something I have decided to abstain from (eating a loose chocolate chip from the cookie package? – pathetic!) Yesterday evening I decided I would delay reading the local paper until after some bible reading and specific prayers, then I read the paper and spent ages on the crossword, and realized at bedtime that I had not prayed the Rosary, so that was down to one decade before going to sleep. It really is a challenge sometimes to fit it in, which is quite ridiculous when you think about it!

  • Paul

    I recently downsized my employment to a much simpler job paying far less. I found that to do this required many sacrifices, but none that I regret. I need to think more seriously before making any financial decision, instead of just saying yes to everything. I have been afforded the luxury of more time away from work, and less,time thinking of work.

  • Scott Sowers

    How can anyone, especially our young, sometimes very young people, practice delayed gratification and self denial in this day and age? From the moment you got your first remote control TV the world changed. In less than 50 years, thanks to technology, it has snowballed into a state of instant gratification of “anything” and “everything” at the tip of your fingers or the sound of your voice. It’s gotten so bad that people actually get in fights or go nuts if they can’t get their fast food burger in two minutes. Amazon now boasts a 2 hour delivery service. Why? Because as a whole we have fallen victim to advertising, corporate competition and greed. If ever we needed to slow down and just try some patience and self denial, it’s now. I have been a victim of it myself. I am constantly reminding myself to slow down and pay attention to those things that mean the most to me, God, family, faith, friends and health. Needless to say, I pray, a lot. I was driving around downtown Atlanta yesterday waiting for my aunts to arrive at the Greyhound Bus Station. I saw a rough neighborhood. I saw the homeless sleeping in parking lots and poor people just hanging out our milling about. It was disheartening to see this in one neighborhood when four blocks away a billion dollar dome is being built for pro sports. I love our country and I’m all for capitalism, but it does make you shake your head, you know. Then today’s lesson is about self denial. God works in mysterious ways. I think if we could just block all the distractions we have in our daily lives, take a moment to understand that we don’t “have” to always get what we want, when we want it, actually deny ourselves, maybe not forever, but just for a while, we would appreciate our lives just that much more. It is a blessing and by the grace of God, to have the choice of self denial. I could be homeless or on the streets where all we want is a meal and safe place to sleep. Where self denial is not an option, it’s a fact of life. God bless.

  • Carlos

    One of the topics under denying ourselves in Matthew Kelly’s book “Resisting Happiness” is addiction. These addictions, whatever they may be, can and often do take us away from the best version of ourselves. I took on Matthew’s challenge about conquering an addiction in our life. I have been a soda and coffee drinker all of my life. Just prior to Lent, I gave up caffeinated beverages. It was hard at the outset and my body resisted it, giving me headaches and nausea. But after the 3rd or 4th day, I found that the cravings subsided. Experiencing these relatively minor withdrawal symptoms associated with caffeine gave me a new appreciation for the struggles of anyone with an ongoing addition to drugs or alcohol. Hearing yesterday’s reflection that there are some demons outside of our own abilities to control that can only be cast out by prayer and fasting has shed a new light for me on the powerful physical and emotional additions of drugs, alcohol, smoking, etc. I pray for all those who are struggling with addiction and for the family members who try so valiantly to love and support them through this process of conversion. Seek help from God that the balance of self denial can be restored. God bless!

  • dcn. morales

    A humble note to Mr. Kelly: It might be wise to substitute the reference to Church with Christ Jesus. I know a number of people, yes even Catholics, who bristle at statements like, “The Church wants us to”… but would accept your wisdom more if you were to say, “Christ wants us to”… It’s the TRUTH anyway, isn’t it? Just sayin Thanks.’

  • Frank Ruzicka

    The writings of .Paul can really bring home the idea of delayed gratification. Consider the fact that Paul wrote his letters while imprisoned, more than likely he was at some point chained and tortured. Despite his circumstances he professed a positive message of hope and salvation. No matter what our circumstance, we need to remember the current circumstance is only temporary and only of this world. The greatest of all gratification awaits all who are willing to accept Jesus and follow the path He has placed before us.

    • Gail

      Thanks, it is easy to focus on the minute because we have to start with baby steps but you are absolutely right; denying ourselves is to become the best version of ourselves so that we can ultimately meet Jesus face to face!

  • Sammie M.

    After listening to today’s videos and reading the comments of many on here, I am reminded of how each of God’s messages speaks to us in different ways. For some, self-denial means ordering a salad instead of fries or taking the elevator instead of the stairs, as Dr. Allen Hunt said in the video; however, for me, it means ordering fries instead of a salad and taking the elevator instead of the stairs. I struggled with an eating disorder, so to choose a salad was the easy thing for me to do, while ordering the fries was the harder thing. I think it’s important to make sure we each translate the messages to our own lives, and to remember that God works in amazing ways, all we have to do is listen and surely we will hear his voice echo throughout our lives and the lives of those around us.

  • Debbie King

    Have learned this to be true…the hard way in some moments but nevertheless have learned it to be true.

    The Scripture that comes to mind…Isaiah 40:31

    They that hope in the LORD will renew their strength,
    they will soar on eagles’ wings;
    They will run and not grow weary,
    Walk and not grow faint.

  • Taryn Macary

    I believe I practice self-denial when I reach out to others, willfully, in love, when it isn’t easy…when I do things for my 20 year old daughter who is overwhelmed with her last semester of nursing school and I clean her room, laundry,etc., or reach out very frequently to my niece who is battling cancer, or I contact my husband (who is often very mean/cruel to me) who in a nursing home to say hi and ask how he is doing, knowing he will not ask how I am…to name a few examples. It is redirecting from myself, my “navel gazing”…to the needs of others.

  • Dale R Evans

    I am uneasy with a lot of the logic expressed in this post. I became a devout Christian when I understood (finally) that I needed God. I needed a constant infusion of love, aka, Holy Spirit, to function. Without that I pursued heroic visions of self that were self destructive. The primary words for prayer in the New Testament were new words that had not existed in the Greek language prior to the Gospels. Those words were not related to “asking.” Prayer for me is entering into an intimate relationship with our Lord and being empowered by the Holy Spirit. It took time – I had to grow up all over again. Many times I was harshly corrected. As I grew I was able to positively affect others – my wife, my children, friends. As I grew in the Lord I was given more difficult assignments. If I reach full maturity I will be required to give my life.

    • Joy

      Re being given more difficult assignments, thank you for that insight Dale.

  • Along with prayer, this is something else I need to work on. Be it with food, time, or even–masturbation.

    I have a feeling the prayer might help with the other 3. . .

  • Karen

    I think self denial can come in a variety of forms,it is by practicing the smaller forms of self denial such as not having that extra slice of chocolate cake for dessert that we grow and strengthen ourselves for the larger forms of self denial and become Christ’s living body to care more for others who are in need

  • Joy

    When I think of self denial it is more in terms of how can I improve a relationship or how my actions can deliver more peace within. For example, rather then reacting hastily to another’s opinion, I have been teaching myself to hold back, think first, pray and know that Jesus has owned the problem…and feeling the grace and strength of His hand on my shoulder takes away the weight of an earthly burden. Simultaneously, I also try to keep aware of how my body feels, what behavior of mine is most calming for my spirit. What can I best do to try to grow in holiness?

  • Rita Gahr

    Self denial was easier when my children were young, now they are adults and self supporting. Fasting from food is tough because of medical conditions but lately I find myself making the wrong food choices all too often. I think I need to step back and say do I need this or do I just want this. The last week’s of Lent I am going to ask God for help on this.

  • C Jay Poli

    Just remember the Marshmallow study … children offered 1 marshmallow on a plate but told if they waited 20 minutes before eating it, they would be rewarded with an extra marshmallow. An in the moment, living example of the rewards or delayed gratification some achieving it; some working on it; others ahhhh…. forget it! My bottom line is to work at each level of wherever I am at that time and then move forward because the rewards are great.

  • lizmvr

    I think most recently my self denial has been in the form of delayed eating or eating less. This is good because I do feel like I’m fasting and seeking God as substance, but also because it’s helping me lose excess weight. I still procrastinate with work and exercise, and I do need to gain strength to accomplish my goals in those areas.

  • CathieHeenan

    Lately I have been trying to be a good Christian, by helping my ex husband out who is very sick. Recently though his illness is getting him to make bad decisions and he starts to argue. I have to say no to myself and walk away. Even though I am the one trying to make him safe, he doesn’t want it. Not to hurt our children, I back off and leave the room. It is very difficult for me to do that.

    • Stephanie Mongelluzzi Sholly

      Walking away from those situations that challenge our self-control is good but difficult. Those moments where our control of the outcome is threatened are sometimes the hardest to let go. But you are right in thinking of your children here. It is better for them that you let it go and walk away from the no-win situation rather than lose self-respect and eventually theirs as well. Think of it as being the best version of yourself instead of the alternative. And it is through example that children learn best to immitate what is good, what is strong. Remember the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit.

  • Frank Matanane

    God always times everything right. Oh how this post was so spot on for me as I have been struggling with saying no to some of the little/big things I need to get a hold of. I’ve just started praying on this, specifically for my desire to quit smoking and get on a healthy diet. Thank’s Dr. Hunt for sharing. Just may become my favorite verse too.

  • Shyne4 god

    Wow I Love that deny yourself once a day ! As of Lent I have given up shopping and denying what I desire Dailey ! ( it takes a lot of recognition on my part ) but I do it like instead of Starbucks Water ! And honestly at the end of the day I feel awesome ! It’s self control and I really love the feeling of helping someone else verses splurging on myself ! Love what st Augustine says “Conquer yourself and the world lies at your feet ”

  • Anci

    One of the most difficult I have faced since I started menopause. No one told me that was a part of it but I do practice self denial when I am having hot flashes and want to just be crabby. I think of funny things to say and do and it has become quite a joke in my family that the kids don’t want to play WII bowling if I am having hot flashes because they really make me a better bowler. This is just a process that I talk to God about to get thru. The harder one is delayed gratification with food but I am working minute by minute, hour by hour….very prayerfully to practice this!

  • Sarena

    I’ve truly cut back on coffee and I am making an effort to let go of being so in control of everything.

  • Deanna DiLorenzo Powell

    Whatever you do, do it in Love !
    Mother Theresa

  • Gail

    I feel like since day 1 of this series I have been denying myself almost daily! Being a procrastinator, I have made a point of recognizing resistance in my life daily these past weeks and it has made a real difference in my health and productivity; I feel better knowing that I can recognize resistance which typically means denying myself of the instant gratification of sitting down and putting things off! I get more steps in daily because I am not sitting as much and I spend more time with my husband!

  • Amarilis2012

    It has been a long process for me, but after analyzing my social life and the people I used to call friends, I decided the time for moving on and starting fresh had come. I have been working very hard this year to start from zero, I try to imagine that we have moved to another state, to develop new friendships for me and my husband. People that I can be more comfortable and are more relatable in terms of our faith. It is important to me that if I require my kids to be wise about the friends they have, I do the same and as a couple we show our kids how important that is to us.
    It is not easy to leave a close knit group of friends and then face the isolation that comes from that but I trust God that he will answer our prayers to put the right people in our lives over time. When he closes one door he opens another, I enjoy the time-alone and trust his timing while developing different hobbies and learning more about the Catholic faith through radio, reading, Mass and I also enjoy listening and watching a lot of apologetics shows like Patrick Madrid and Matthew Kelly and I’m finding this process so enjoyable. I deny my self invitations to social gatherings that do not align with the person I want to become, one day at a time.

    • Linda Carmelle

      You are on the path of uniting yourself with like minded souls and with God’s Teachings…Blessings to you and your family. Keep up the Good Work!

      • Amarilis 🌺

        Thank you so much for your encouragement, I really appreciate it. It’s very dificult for Social Butterflies​ like me lol, but I will just trust, trust & keep on trusting that God will lead me in the right way.

    • Karen Kotzbach McCreary

      Amarilis, You go girl ! WOW ! You will have the best life for what you have done . All you have to do now is spread some of that around ! The world needs many more like you ! You will have had “The Best Lent Ever” and the best Easter ever ! You are a real breath of fresh air ! ((HUGS)) *_* K

      • Amarilis 🌺

        Thank you Karen. Disengaging completely from a social structure that I was part of for so long and really following what God has been whispering in my heart for equally long is proving to be a much challenging task than I imagine because I do feel isolated. But instead of letting that isolation bring me down, I see it clearly as God’s invitation to draw closer to him. Everything about our current society dictates us to do the opposite, to go the easy route, but I feel I have no more time to waste in superficial relationships. I’m really looking forward to finding out where God wants to do with me.
        Again, thank you Karen!! 🙏

  • Kathleen Cranford Kelley

    Dr Hunt,
    Through the Fruits of the Holy Spirit we given Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Generosity, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control
    But I believe there is one more gift from the Holy Spirit………Courage! Courage to face our demons with love, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, Faith, gentleness and self-control.
    Thanks again

  • Paul Butler

    Believe in yourself!…. through God and with God we can do so much more than we think. I love “The Best Lent Ever” program… Affirm, Pray and Meditate…. “I am the best I can be today!!” and yes you must say no to lots of distractions along the way.

  • Janice

    Whenever I am cooking I like to sample everything as part of the process. So, as an act of self denial, I stop myself and say a little prayer asking Jesus to help me say no to bigger temptations that so often come onto my life.

  • Dorothy Huebner

    The first half of Lent, I had a sinus infection, laryngitis and bronchitis and therefore wasn’t able to do much of anything for Lent. For the first 2 weeks all I did was watch TV and sleep. I gave up playing computer games for Lent because I seem to be addicted to them. I can’t play only one game, but can end up wasting most of the day playing them. Every time I went on my computer those days I was ill, to read the daily best Lent ever, the devil tempted me by saying relax and play one computer game. Thank God, my guardian angel gave me the strength not to give in. I know I will struggle with this addiction to playing computer games after Lent, so I have decided to give them up forever.

    • Karen Kotzbach McCreary

      Dorothy, Good going ! I’m so glad I’ve never bothered with any of that junk . Isn’t that a feeling of freedom ? I love it for you ! *_* K

      • Dorothy Huebner

        Thanks for your reply. Yes it is a gift of freedom. God bless you and may you continue to have a good Lent. Dorothy

  • Leah Levitt

    I have been a vegetarian for many years. At first it was fasting, now I can’t imagine being anything else. I try to say no to myself by doing things my laziness doesn’t want to do. Like yes I will go to the gym. Yes, I will have salad instead of onion rings. I will cook instead of eating out. I will attend that special function at my church instead of staying in my recliner at home. Unfortunately my self denial doesn’t always win, like yes I’ll have that thousand calorie dessert. But I think that practicing self denial has made me a much better person than if I didn’t do it at all.

  • JayAW

    I read this book many years ago titled Zen In The Martial Arts and one of the stories is about a martial arts master that receives a letter from his father, and he is so excited to see that letter, but he puts it off to the side rather than opening it because he is in the middle of a meeting with the book’s author. The master said that if he opened the letter right then, he wouldn’t be respecting the letter or the author, so he put the letter to the side until the meeting was over, then he would open the letter when he was alone so he could read it. This story always sticks in my mind when I’m feeling impatient about something.

  • MaryAnne Casaul

    Self-denial. I’ve been limiting my time on social media and in it’s place keeping in mind every hour to place someone in prayer. It’s true I am finding that at the end of the day as I reflect on what I have accomplished it seems having more time for prayer and reading plus being more present to my family has brought me more gratification. Such a simple step can make such a difference. It’s a ripple effect in my everyday life.

  • Lisa

    When I was younger, I wanted to be a ballerina. Then I found out how hard they have to work to look effortless. Since then whenever I admire success in anyone, I look at what they had to do to get there. This keeps me from saying “God, why not me?” and instead I admire the person’s willingness to work hard.

    So, what am I successful at? I am able to give up a few meals every week and I do say morning and evening prayers consistently. One thing that is wonderful – a gift more than a sacrifice –
    is the hour a week I spend in Adoration. I always get back more than I give, week after week.

    What do I struggle with? I’m trying to greatly reduce the amount of sugar I eat. I’m trying to cook healthy foods for my family without cans or packages. This requires much more effort and planning you know. I’m trying to work with my husband to declutter the house. This requires both effort and patience. Oh, and exercise.

  • Glen Arcalas

    Investing a little at a time in things that turn in great habits. Getting to bed early, really talking to family members (children n wife), not putting off chores. A lot of electronics are tools to help foster relationships but it does not replace human heart.

  • Amy Reinhardt

    When I read the word “self-denial,” I think about being in denial about something. Not wanting or blatantly refusing to accept the truth about something. I don’t believe that denial is tied only to the process of grief, I think it’s something that we struggle with on a daily basis. Sometimes I fall into denial about my prayer life. I think, “Well I have my quiet time before Mass on Sundays, and that’s all I need/that’s enough to sustain my relationship with God.” I think there’s power in being able to see through the veil of denial and say to ourselves, “NO! That’s not all we need. We should always be striving for more.”

  • Mog

    Oh dear, my instant gratification! When I try to put time aside for prayer, I realise I expect Jesus to be ready with listening to, speaking to me, just when I can fit in time for Him…. not good! Will try to give Him more time & change my pattern.

  • Nancy R

    It never fails that I get what I need when I turn to God and my faith for answers. The beautiful thing is that we all have our way of interpreting the message when searching for answers. This is exactly what I needed to hear today.

  • Kelly Tallent

    Our family has started using Feast Days as celebration days. We abstain from sweets (desserts) all year long – not just during Lent. But when there’s a Feast day? We go to town! Candy with breakfast? Why not? Ok, maybe not candy for breakfast but we might break out the chocolate chips for our pancakes. It’s a great way to start teachng our kids temperance. Then we moved onto the parents only having alcoholic beverages on Feast days and the kids only having video game privileges on Feast days. It has been amazing! 🙂 Less has been more!

  • Lydia Ross

    I have said the same thing….God grant me patience…NOW! But just like my weight loss takes time I also have to be patient with myself and God and say in your time Lord, not mine.

  • Mary

    This is a tough one. I am impatient, I get angry, boy did I need this today. Jesspinosa thank you for the quote. My quote I say is Lord, keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand across my mouth. I can have quick, sharp words

  • Clare54

    Oh Dear> “How do I say *no* to myself”?
    I have listened to these video’s several times already this morning. I NEED and WANT to get this!! From what I am learning it seems that less I am resistant the more I will learn to create new spiritual habit’s. Getting closer to Christ is what I want. Thank Matthew!

  • Genie C Balantac

    Praying for self control today …

  • Kristi Landis

    I practice delayed gratification in small things by waiting five minutes for what I want. Often times the five minutes goes by and I get busy with other things and realize I didn’t even need it. And sometimes five minutes goes by and I can say thank you Lord for giving me the opportunity to practice a little bit of delayed gratification.

  • Crystal Dasburg Marchand

    This might sound silly, but I have to practice self-denial every time we are trying to conceive. We chart and I have on my calendar the important days and as soon as I can test (4 days before), I start buying tests and checking. And checking. And checking. Oh wait, did I mention checking? I get so excited at the prospect of being pregnant again that I want to find out as soon as possible, even if it’s not really scientifically possible! This time, I’m making myself wait a couple of weeks and then we’ll go from there 🙂

  • LJ

    The school of the Lord is for beginners. He awaits you. He awaits me.

  • Martin Tousignant

    Without confidence in the future, we have no motivation to delay gratification. If tomorrow looks bleak, then why should we wait?

  • Teresa Machicao-Hopkins

    When I went to confession before Christmas, Father Richard Mohr said to me, “Teresa, all of your problems will be solved if you just follow the fruits of the holy spirit.” My face probably went blank because I couldn’t think of all of them. He went through them, and for my penance, told me to think of the fruits everyday. I went home, grabbed a piece of paper and wrote, “Love Joy Peace Patience Kindness Goodness Faithfulness Gentleness Self-control” as a list and hung it on my vanity above the sink in my husband and my bathroom. I figured if I said it every morning maybe it would stick. When I am frustrated at work, I write it again. When I focus on those simple words, and try to put them into action, I cannot help but be the best version of myself.

  • Pearl Brown

    Self denial is something I have to work on. I just never thought about it til I listen to Matthew. I know this will be a challenge but with prayer I can do it. Help me Lord

  • Marco

    This was by far the most powerful video of BEST LENT EVER. Dr. Hunt’s patient explanation of the gifts of the spirit really hit home. Can anyone repeat them and remember them? I have listed them as a reminder to myself to memorize them and put them to into action in my life.

    The Fruits of the Holy Spirit

    When we cooperate with the graces and gifts we receive from the Holy Spirit, we grow as followers of Jesus. We see the effect of the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives in special qualities and attitudes that we develop as we grow in faith. The Church identifies these qualities and attitudes as the fruits of the Holy Spirit. The twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit are signs that the Holy Spirit is alive within us and helping us live the Catholic faith in our daily lives.

    Love—We exhibit the virtue of charity, or love, by our unselfish devotion and care for God and our neighbor.
    Joy—We live with joy when we recognize that true happiness comes, not from money or possessions, but from knowing and following Christ.
    Peace—We are freed from worrying about trivial things because of the inner peace we experience with God in our hearts. We work and pray for peace throughout the world.
    Patience—We demonstrate patience by treating others with thoughtfulness and tolerance. We know that we can overcome the temptations and sufferings of life because God is always with us.
    Kindness—We live the virtue of kindness by treating others as we want to be treated.
    Goodness—We exhibit goodness when we honor God by avoiding sin and always trying to do what we know is right.
    Generosity—We demonstrate the fruit of generosity when we are share our gifts and possessions with others.
    Gentleness—Gentle people act calmly and avoid actions that might lead others to anger or resentment.
    Self-control—We exercise self-control by working to overcome the temptations we face and by trying always to do God’s will.
    Faithfulness—We are faithful when we live out our commitment to the teachings of Jesus, the Scriptures, and the Catholic Church.
    Modesty—We exhibit modesty by being pure in our thoughts, words, and dress.Chastity—We live the virtue of chastity when we use the gift of sexuality wisely, according to God’s plan.

    And I will especially try to be gentle, kind, patient and loving with my children, and exercise self-control to not lose my temper!

  • Jane Lenzer

    Guess who else said things that were very unpopular? Our Lord Jesus. So if we are saying unpopular things, esp, in the eyes of our children, we are in good company. l have to say that l grew up with delayed gratification forced upon me and so l didn’t know anything else. We were poor. Six children and a sick, not working father. We attended catholic school, but the ”extras” were off limits. l didn’t go on field trips. l didn’t go to the Children’s Theater or the ballet. l didn’t go to hear the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. The money was not there. When l asked my Mommy if l could be a ballerina, she made something up so l wouldn’t feel the pain of being left out of yet one more activity. But l didn’t need it to be HAPPY. l still had roller skates, jump roping and bike riding. l had a loving parent who was generous with hugs kisses and affection and so that was my mold for motherhood. l understood delayed gratification pretty well, l say with an undergraduate degree and a master’s degree, but also because l would put my needs last to keep the peace. l still live on a shoestring income and if l didn’t have delayed gratification l would very truly be miserable.

  • Shelley

    I teach high school students with learning disabilities. This time of year, when we are all tired of being at school, I need to remember patience. Not only are they “done” for the year, it’s the time of year when we test them the most. I will do my best to be patient as we finish this school year.

  • Colleen Braun

    When I was a child my mom use to tell us to offer things up to God by saying All For Jesus and we would get a star in heaven! As I grew older and hurtful events or rude remarks would be made I would find myself offering it up to Jesus !!! To this day if I do something good and someone wants to thank me I say it’s not necessary I will get my reward in heaven! It keeps me focused on climbing the mountain to achieve heaven to be with God, Jesus all the saints and angels for eternity! It’s where I want to be FOREVER!

  • Michelle Brooks Soulliere

    Allen! Please come to Nebraska! We would love to have you visit here.

  • Kara Werner

    Following my colon cancer surgery, a few months ago, I have to be on a restricted diet, each day I must say no to all of the foods I used to love, cheese, ice cream, and anything with sugar. It is a great blessing to have to deny myself because through that denial I am completely poor in spirit, completely relying on God each and every moment of the day.

    • Linda Carmelle

      Beautiful attitude to behold!

  • Judy

    I try to offer up parts of my meal to unite my small sacrifice with the supreme suffering that Jesus made on the Cross. I offer it up for specific intentions…family, friends, the sick, etc. I learned of this practice from LightWeigh. In 2009. I’ve been trying; sometime successful, many times challenged, frequently rebellious. Yet I have never given up on the practice. Each day is a fresh start

  • Elizabeth Riley

    One thing about Matthew Kelly’s best lent ever program is that he tells us not to give up chocolate. Lent is a time to grow closer to God so I still give something in addition to this program. It’s a self denial to me to want soda pop because I want a tasty cold drink. Instead of having that soda I am forced to add ice to my water in order to make it a cold drink. This year I have decided to continue denying that coke or pepsi for an extended period of time. How long that will be I don’t know. Delayed gratification is that it will taste so much better once I do have that coke.

  • Maria

    I’ve had to practice a lot of self-denial lately for studying and paying attention in class. I have a few challenging classes that intimidated me for weeks due to hard assignments and detail-intense text book reading. I’ve come to acknowledge recently that I had to change my habits and actually try to read the material before class and work on my homework when I usually want to distract myself instead. It’s been tough, but I’m actually getting stuff done now and that’s great motivation!

  • Margo

    I read these entries and feel such a failure. Today before reading this I set myself a goal: not to lose my temper more than three times a day. Then I could love myself. 🙂

    • Susan Henderson

      Margo, that you want to do better is very pleasing in God’s eyes. I have begun to offer up even my failures to God in humility and ask Him to use them and to give me the grace to overcome these obstacles in my life. After trying to make myself a better person, I finally realized that I could not do it under my own power-that I had to ask God to do it in me. Using the graces from frequent confession and making my journey in the company of others helped me overcome addiction. I would urge you to find the pattern or underlying cause for losing your temper. Is it bc of a learned pattern of communication from your family of origen? Is it bc of ineffective parenting skills? Is it bc you don’t get enough sleep or take time for yourself? Is it bc your schedule is too full? Then set about remedying the root problem (i.e. counseling to learn assertive communication, parenting classes, taking up a hobby, rethinking/decreasing scheduled activities), say a prayer every time for the person you lose it with & learn to say “I’m sorry.” Before you lose your temper, ask yourself what you are wanting to get out of the situation (i.e. your children to do their chores) & if the means you are using will achieve it. Then rethink the means you want to use.

      • Margo

        Susan, you are just gorgeous to write these things. When I say that I lose my temper, I actually don’t lose my temper but freeze inside and withdrawal. This is from my family of origin and how I survived as a child. Not to blame anyone, but WWII had a major effect on my family of origin. In the few days since I made the decision to allow myself to lose my temper three times a day (which means that when I “freeze” and withdrawal) it has been such a release and relief. I don’t berate myself for losing my temper. There is a lot of perfectionaism on my part and the need to make things right. I know you are correct on two accounts: I need to turn to God more. Thank you for confessing to addiction. While I am not an addict there is a fair deal of it in my family and some of my behavior could be considered obsessive. Your suggestion to get assertiveness training is very good and is the second point I thank you for making. I have certainly read about assertiveness, but it is a complex process. Deep inside, I somehow believe that if I make my needs known chaos will break out. Better to withdrawal. What do I want to get out of it? I suppose what we all do…to be heard. So often if I voice a concern or a fear, I get the platitude of “just be positive”. How nice it would be to have someone say, “Tell me more about your fear.” I know God hears me and that is what sustains me. But I will consider counselling. Thank you again.

        • Susan Henderson

          Thank you, Margo, for your kind comments. I understand a bit about withdrawal. I do this when I fear rejection or feel rejected. It is frustrating to have others minimize or trivialize our fears or concerns by trying to coat them over with the “just be positive” mantra. My husband and I learned a lot about good communication through Marriage Encounter, but I also had to use other avenues like assertiveness training. I made mistakes when I started trying to communicate assertively, but it was worth the learning curve to continue. Perhaps seeking out someone like a counselor who will really listen to you would be helpful. It was the first time in my life I ever felt listened to. God bless you on your journey!

  • Niove Candida Rosario

    I am at a stage in my life where I am really close to fulfilling one of the dreams/milestones in our life as a couple. Out of nowhere our loving lord decided it was time and started the process for us. I have seen his workings in this and in reading this chapter I see that the anxiety I’ve been experiencing is because I want immediate gratification. To get to where we want to be will take between 5 to 7 more months and I feel like I can’t wait. Stupid I know. We have waited for years so what is 5-7 more months? The desire for instant gratification is making me scare, irritable, doubtful and feeling a bit discouraged. I am praying for inner peace. I am praying for patience. I am praying for endurance because for several of those months I may need to handle a lot of things without the help of my husband. I feel I am a strong woman but the notion of having so many responsibilities without the help of my husband is scary. I know God will carry me through and I need to completely leave it up to him, be patient and have faith.

  • Nicole M.

    I need to do better with self denial. I feel like I make so many decisions throughout the day that if I thought twice about, could have led to a better decision. Listening to what Matthew and Dr. Allen Hunt had to say made me realize that it does start with the little decisions throughout the day like sleeping in for an extra 5 minutes or deciding to eat something unhealthy and not go for a run. These are the little things that make me a better version of myself.

  • Karen Kotzbach McCreary

    I have found that by practicing delayed gratification , I feel like a winner . Wait just 5 more minutes for whatever it is I want right then,I put off getting my hair done for 2 weeks, drink a glass of milk instead of diet soda, say one more prayer , read one more chapter of Matthew,(which I still forget to do daily) , and it really feels good . It’s almost a guilty pleasure ! LOL That’s just an old Irish thing . Now if I could just do it more . But, I’ll get there one little thing at a time . It really , really works ! I really love it . Learned it from all those years of Catholic schools , even college . They knew what they were talking about then and it is still true today.That’s one of the things I love most about being Catholic ,it’s timeless universality . So grateful right this moment . Happy Friday ! & Happier fasting / abstinence . .

  • Shonne Farrell

    I realized I don’t do denial very well. I’m going to work on this for the rest of Lent and hopefully for a permanent change. Please pray for me.

  • Lilia

    Growing up as one of 13 children delayed gratification was a way of life. Aside from child abuse, I learned not to focus on myself. The pleasure we shared were having and loving each other. Lent season was never a pleasant experience as we were force to give up any pleasures. Fasting, no tv or radio, or play time. We were required to pray and participate in any church activities. There was no Easter celebrations but I was happy lent was over.
    When my two kids were born I made a conscious effort to bring them up in the Catholic faith but in a joyful manner, with delayed gratification but not forced. I wanted to experience though them the true joy of lent and every aspect of the faith. I was blessed to be able to give them that foundation and in turn helped me heal. Delayed gratification is still a way of life but now it’s a choice. Now I look forward to lent and celebrateing Easter. I do need to make time for prayer to continue my healing. It’s been a long journey, I know it’s God’s will. Regardless of the strugles he never abandon me.

  • Donna R.

    I hesitated to post this because it may sound silly. But I know God has a sense of humor because He used M&Ms to help teach me delayed gratification in my struggle to lose weight. I love chocolate (I don’t think I know a woman who doesn’t!), and every diet I tried banned sweets. So, sooner or later, the craving for chocolate would cause me to cave and blow the diet. Then I read an article about delayed gratification and wondered if I could apply that to my chocolate cravings (or any other food cravings, for that matter). I bought a medium-sized bag of M&Ms, poured them into a pretty covered candy dish, and set it nearby, but not in my line of vision. When the cravings hit, I’d tell myself, “The candy is right there, and I can have it any time I want it, but I choose not to have it right now.” After 20 minutes or so, if I still wanted candy, I’d allow myself one or two of each color, and really focus on the flavor, savoring one at a time. In the beginning, it was hard, and sometimes I’d eat too many; so I decided to move the candy dish to another room so I’d really have to think about it–did I want it bad enough to get up from what I was doing to walk into another room to get it? As time went on, I found the cravings lessening. It took time, but now when there’s chocolate in the house (or pie, cake, etc.), it no longer has power over me. I also applied this strategy to other things in my life and found that the principle of delayed gratification really does work. And for me, God used M&Ms as a teaching tool!

    • Ginie

      I love your story, and thanks for sharing it. Delayed gratification does give us fruits…

  • Kelly Tallent

    I tried posting this yesterday but it didn’t go through.
    My family uses Catholic Feast Days as a way to practice self-denial. We deny sweets and candy until Sunday or special Feast days. It was hard at first but after about a month it became very easy to say no. Now that it’s Lent, struggling isn’t even a word that comes to mind when we have to deny meats or sweets. It’s like second nature. Denial – or temperance – is a word that has become old fashioned in our society…but it’s a beautiful virtue and well worth the effort.

    • Linda Carmelle

      We have always taken part in Lenten fasting in my household,growing up as a cradle Catholic. For instance on the Feast day of St Patrick the Church grants absolution so you may participate in festivities and tradition or on St Joseph’s day since that too falls within Lent.We would eat food or sweets of the region , like Zeppoli donut on St. Joseph’s day or Corn Beef and Cabbage for St. Patrick(which I recently learned isn’t something the true Irish actually did on the feast day).

      But is it like this for your family ? Do you also use the day to learn more about the Saint or celebrate the customs of the region? Explain more about how you are able th encourage your family to participate in this worthy virtue please….. Thank you

  • Mary Pat

    I know I am a day late to this discussion but Dr. Hunt’s video really made me smile. I was a preschool teacher for 4 years and our chapel teacher always taught the kids about the fruit of the spirit. As Dr. Hunt was talking, I was singing the fruit of the spirit song in my head. Patience and self control are definitely the hardest fruits to swallow. 🙂

  • Ginie

    For me delayed gratification is frequently saying no to my own desires to tend to the needs of my adult TBI son. The gratification is when one of my other children come and take their brother for an hour or a weekend.
    What I need to say no to it pushing Erik to go to church, it puts a wall between us, so I need to just love and accept him and continue to worship, pray and matter of factly tell him i’m going to church for…. Then leave him with a visitor or by himself for an hour or two. I know that the Lord may not be asking me to be the instrument of my son’s return to the church…he needs to shed his almost 7 year old anger and bitterness and blaming God. But I need to say NO to pushing/imposing my thoughts.

  • Emma Spaulding

    I practice self denial when I know I should be doing something else instead of what I want to do. This does not always happen, but I try my best at it. A simple example is I know how to portion my food and say no to unhealthy food and things that will hurt my body. I also sometimes give in to things because the person I am with deserves to be heard/ their idea to be put into action for a change and let them have the credit. I am known to be a nice person and let others go before me. I do not expect anything in return because I know God is watching me and will provide for me in the future.

  • Barbara

    Delaying gratification is something I need ti work on, I want to be patient but I want it NOW!!! I am using a newer, smaller keyboard and I’m ready to tear my hair out. Patience and self-control, please. Patience is a virtue!

  • CSL

    “Turning the other cheek” is not a habit that comes naturally but I am practicing surrendering hurts, anger, aggression to God- initially it feels like a self deprivation (denying the satisfaction of vengeance) but in fact this is an exchange that brings reward – God is a rewarder, not a punisher — the punishment comes from being separated from Him.

  • BO

    This reflection really was helpful! I have found all the Lenten videos so good. Matthew Kelly, thank you!!! And thank you to all the staff that has shared their meaningful life experiences to help others this Lent.

  • Rae Mims

    I practice self denial by remaining abstinent as I am not married. I also changed my diet because too many carbohydrates affect me negatively due to some medical conditions so I eat low-carb, which is not fun. I wake up and exercise first thing in the morning even though I am not a morning person and want to sleep longer.

    • Linda Carmelle

      Yes,I was married late in life,I was almost 40 at the time. God provided me with the right man in His time,but until then I practiced abstinence also. It is a challenge ,but you will discover when dating who truly respects and loves you and who is just paying lip service to the idea. This is an area not many children of God are willing to testify to,and its very important to share with our high school and college age counterparts that there are those of us out there practicing abstinence and why it is of tremendous value.

      And yes I recently too completely changed my diet,avoiding as much white flour, milk,and high cholestrol as possible. I went for a heart scan /cholestrol test after discovering through a c.t. for recent bout of pmeumonia that I had a fat pad collection on the right heart wall. Wanting to understand more I willing took the next step and the heart scan revealed tumors that are benign in the liver and a triglyceride count that went from normal to over 353 in a 3 month span. Since none of these are seeming to concern my overall health at the moment,but could in the future , I’m taking it as a reminder from God that I need to change some bad habits while I still can. I’m His child and I still have alot of His work to do in this world.

      Keep up your valiant efforts and remain in the care of God always.=)

  • Mike

    Todays topic relates to one of my most favorite lesson learned. A priest once spoke to a group attending a conference and read the verse, “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect, ‘ (Mt5:48) Then he asked, “Are you perfect?” To which everyone should have thought, “No.” He went on to say that one of the goals of Christianity is to not only serve others, but to change oneself to become more perfect. How do you do that? Dr. Hunt nailed it, “self–control.” I would add, and a whole lot of help through prayer, sacraments, and small faith group of like-minded souls trying to do the same thing. Thank you Dynamic Catholic for helping to make this truly the Best Lent Ever for me.

  • Angela M. Williams

    Love that the “fruit of the spirit” Bible verse was highlighted…I feel more intellectually nourished…

  • Alcide Bouchard

    I say no to myself by reminding myself (motivating myself) that if I delay gratification, I can have something better, healthier, more satisfying, more fulfilling….later. On the major issues of life (the choices between life and death), I am reminded by the Holy Spirit about who God is, that He has a plan and purpose for me, and that I want to die for something important; something that leads to life eternal.

  • Cindy Leslie

    I don’t have patience. I pray to God for love. To find some guy to love me back. Yet no gratification or answer. I guess God is saying no. Never. God give me strength to accept your will.

  • Vivienne

    Still struggling,most of the time I fail. Please pray for me

  • Becca

    Dr. Hunt needs to visit Nebraska! We’d love to have him come see our beautiful state!