Our family Bible verse is:
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, because anger does not produce the kind of righteousness God requires.”
We love and know these words and remind each other of them often. We practice memorizing them after time-out sessions. : )
Even my little ones remind me of them.
I get frustrated over stupid things. I get angry.
A humbling moment:
My oldest watched me from across the room as I let out a good, hearty, frustrated grunt when my youngest slammed her head on the hardwood floor because she didn’t get her way.
“Mama, you don’t need to get so angry,” reminded my oldest.
Then my youngest walked over to my oldest and hit her, for no good reason.
“Mama, did you see how little sister just did that mean thing to me? And did you see how I didn’t get angry with her?”
(It’s totally fine with me if you are cracking up in your chair right now!)
I can’t remember if I responded with an embarrassed nervous laugh or a sincere apology or both.
Regardless, my six year old had an intentional teaching moment with me about being slow to anger. My six year old lead by her example of graciousness and self-control.
It’d be easy to go down that path. You might know the path I speak of? Thoughts like: I suck. I’m a failure as a mom.
But more often, I think more like this: Where is this coming from? This isn’t like me.
It actually looks similar to who I was before I gave my life to Jesus at the end of high school. The BC version of Danita. Not the AD version! I am not the same person I was! So… why this sudden relapse in irritabilty, instability and lack of self-control?
[Now please don’t go worrying and imagining what all this anger might look like in my home. Honestly, my acting “angry” is likely very mild to how most people would define it. But that’s not really the point.]
The point is… I am ANGRY!
Lol! : ) Boy! That feels good to get off my chest!
I remind myself that 2.5 to 5 hours of broken sleep will do that to a person. Makes you irritable and irrational. But when that is my day to day reality, I hate it. It’s everyday.
I shared this with my pal Sallie and told her,
“But I’m not trying to make up excuses.”
She was very gracious and spoke some truth. She affirmed me:
“But that’s just the thing, Danita. You aren’t looking for excuses. You are looking for answers.”
Here are some answers:
A month ago, I was driving to a doctor’s office for my first visit there. I have heard very good things about this doc and her blend of both MD and naturopathic backgrounds. She sounded like the perfect fit for me.
On the drive, with my long list of symptoms and ailments scribbled next to me, I prayed,
“Lord, are there any symptoms I am forgetting that I need to mention?”
The word kept coming to mind over and over.
“What? That’s a symptom??”
When I got to the office, I circled probably 75% of the two pages of possible symptoms she gave me. And as I waited in the room, there was a pamphlet for a few ailments in all caps on the wall. Things like INSOMNIA, IRRITABLE BOWELS, MIGRAINES… yada yada. But one was out of place. ANGER.
“Weird,” I thought to myself. I didn’t even read it.
Then the doctor came in and we discussed everything. She said it sounds a lot like a hormone imbalance, so let’s start there. She gave me the ZRT test kit and showed me a list of different symptoms people experience with different hormone imbalances. My jaws dropped when “anger” was actually one of the bullets.
Huh. I was kind of stunned.
God was right.
Anger, for me, is a legit symptom.
I read that list a few times a day the following week. It brought me hope somehow and it gave me permission to separate my identity from my illness.
“I knew it honey! I am NOT an angry woman!” I told my husband as we debriefed.
“It’s NOT who I am!”
“I know, honey. I know. I agree,” he responded. He is gracious.
But during this last turbulent season, I had begun to think he decided in his mind, “Yep. That’s my wife. The angry woman.” Thankfully, this conversation confirmed that was not his thinking. Whew!
It’s just a natural consequence of all these other things so out of balance. It’s just a sign, a symptom, that something is off.
I have struggled with why I’m so irritable. Wondered where it could be rooted. Was it anything spiritual/emotional I needed to deal with?
But I have forgiven everyone who has hurt me. And I keep forgiving. And I have dealt with all my junk with the Lord over the past 10 years of my life. (At least, all I know about so far!)
So that conversation with the Lord on the way to the appointment and this list of symptoms felt incredibly freeing!
It’s like when my child has night terrors. I divorce who I know her to be at her core from the behaviors she is exhibiting. Because that’s just simply not her in that moment. I think God was showing me the same thing about me.
He knew that irritability was not part of the woman He sees in me. Just a symptom that my body is crying out for help.
What kindness of God!
How kind of Him to remind me my behavior doesn’t define me.
Yes, I’m dealing with some anger. But I am NOT an angry woman! It’s not part of my identity!
I am a redeemed woman! I’m a forgiven woman! I am a woman waiting at the feet of Jesus for some healing and some stability! And I belong to Him!
How about you? Are you NOT an angry woman?
Or maybe you actually are an angry woman? Do you have some of that junk I mentioned and you feel like it’s time to deal with it instead of stuff it further? (I know it might feel scary, but let me encourage you. When that junk comes to light in Christ, you are set free!)
Either way, there’s only ONE man who can understand you, understand your emotions and help you through them.
He is our constant source of stability.
His Name is Jesus.
Just ask Him what your anger is about. He knows. He made you. He was there when it happened. He is there with you now.
You see, even if we are quick to anger and quick to speak, the Lord is not. Not ever.
Jesus is always quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger with us.
I feel like a handful of people reading this might understand where I am coming from. Is it you? I’d sure love to hear your half of the conversation. : )
p.s. Bless a friend! Get a book! (giveaway!)