Anger and frustration. Those are two things I sometimes struggle with. Truth be told, I struggle with them a lot. Life is full and busy, and can be overwhelming as we struggle to fill all the roles we are called to play. My kids see my struggle and I don’t like it. I feel out of control, like I am stepping outside myself watching this frustrated, angry person and I don’t know how to stop it.
How many times do we feel that ball of frustration and anger swell? Starting in the pit of our stomachs, it pushes out in our chest, and eventually crawls up our throats until words are tumbling out of our mouths. Loud words, slicing and harsh words, even lower passive-aggressive guilt-filled words. Words you can’t take back. The words are out there. They can’t be unheard. Your kids heard them, taking shape in their hearts and minds. Your spouse, siblings, parents, coworkers, friends. Even that stranger that cut you off in traffic, most likely by accident. Maybe the driver couldn’t hear your words, but could see your response.
“Don’t sin by letting anger gain control over you. Think about it overnight and remain silent.” Psalm 4:4 (NLT)
Remain silent. Think about it. Gain control. What would change if instead of allowing that ball of anger to explode out of you, you were to stop, think about it and remain silent? Take a moment to breathe.
I think you would be surprised to find what was causing anger in you, wasn’t as important as you thought. Giving space and breath creates perspective and empathy. Seeking God grounds you and gives clarity. You just need to stop.
And in those times you lash out, remember to give yourself grace and forgiveness. Don’t hold onto the guilt. I’ve looked into my daughter’s eyes when I apologized for my moment of frustration and anger. And not only does she say, “Thanks momma, I love you.” But her eyes show her complete forgiveness and love for me. God doesn’t want us holding onto the guilt when we fail. We ask forgiveness and try to do better.
So next time you feel like you are out of control, standing outside yourself looking at an angry, frustrated person: stop, think, remain silent and breathe.