Thursday, August 2, 2012

Anger Management

Me: Girls, come on up for dinner!

Anna: What's for dinner?

Me: Chicken, with mushrooms, and tomatoes. Come on up!

Anna: {Sigh} We are NOT {huff} eating CHICKEN with mushrooms and tomatoes!!

Me: {Frustrated sigh. Mouth Tightening. Prayer under my breath: Please Lord, help me deal with this situation with grace.} You still need to come upstairs.

At this point, I'm trying to learn how to not make a big deal over little things, because usually it turns into a battle of the wills and then no one is willing to budge. If Anna and her friend didn't want what I prepared for dinner, fine. But I wasn't going to make something else, either. We had somewhere to be and I didn't have time to be a short-order cook. Plus, I don't do that when we don't have friends over, so I wasn't going to make an exception on this night.

I continued with dinner preparation, making salads and preparing plates for the rest of the family. I called everyone up and asked them to sit down.

Anna: Why? We're NOT eating that.

Me: {nose flaring} Because I asked you to (I swore I'd never say that, too).

We sat down together, the girls silent except for one-word answers to my questions. I could feel my frustration rising with every minute that went by. She sure does know how to push my buttons. And I don't always feel like being nice.

5 minutes before we need to leave:

Anna: We're hungry. Can we have something to eat?

Me: Sure. Would you like some chicken?

Anna: {scoffs} No.

We loaded up the car and got in. Once we got settled, it was discovered that my daughter had snuck some granola bars in the car with plans to eat them when we got to the field. It wasn't the fact that she had a major attitude about dinner. I was ready to forgive that, even though it made me angry. The final straw was that she was so willing to be sneaky, which in my head equals dishonesty.

All of these dramatic thoughts started running through my head: what's next? Sneaking out of the house? What will she be like when she's a teenager? I can't believe she is so willing to be sneaky. And she willingly lead her friend to be sneaky along with her--in my house, too! I was caught somewhere between a scream and the death silence (death silence is silence so deadly that all you have to do is look at the  targeted person and they will know how mad you are. Except that because you are silent, they have no clue just how mad you actually are. However, the fact that your nose flares, your mouth tightens to a straight line, and brows furrow to become the dreaded unibrow should clue them in.).

Angry face. Note the unibrow, flared nostrils and mouth in a tight line. The unsightly and untimely wrinkles??

I was quickly coming unglued.

I needed to pray, and I needed a fast response, or I would react in a way that I would regret later. My prayer was short, because I couldn't think of anything else to say: Lord, help me deal with my anger, or it's gonna be bad.

Proverbs 29:22 says "A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression."  I don't think that the actual emotion of anger is wrong or bad at all, but how I use it can be. When I become angry, it seems like all other logical thinking goes by the wayside and the only thing I can think is: Mad. That's what I am. Mad.

Proverbs 14:29 says "Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly." I know I react too hastily in certain situations (usually it's a situation where I feel like I am losing control of the circumstances). I need to remember that "Good sense makes one slow to anger..." (Proverbs 19:11), and God gave me "love, power and self-control" (2 Timothy 1:7). I just need to learn how to use the self-control He's given me.

One of the most important parts of my relationship with Him is that He is "gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love" (Psalm 145:8). While I feel justified when I am angry, it is helpful to remember that He is slow to anger with me. Maybe the people in my life deserve the same grace and mercy that has been extended to me.

On this night in particular, God was gracious yet again. He did help me with the anger I was feeling. I held my tongue and didn't slam any car doors or stomp around as I am prone to do. Instead, I tried to stay calm on the outside. It was really hard to do, but now that the situation is over and I can see things a little more clearly, it was the right thing to do. I didn't do anything I regret (besides the whole tightening up my lips to virtually nothing. Creates untimely and unsightly wrinkles around the mouth.). Now that I am calm, I can ask God to help me talk to Anna so that she understands what she did that made me so mad in the first place so that we can avoid situations like this in the future. Will she change right away? Probably not. But I don't always immediately change my behavior, either. We are both a work in progress.

1 comment:

  1. Great post! I also love the "angry face" pug...seems he's spent a great deal of time frowning noted by his excess wrinkles. ;)