Monday, January 24, 2011

Keys to Overcoming Anger- Part One: Humility

It had been a rough several months for me. From about the middle of my pregnancy onward, I had a daily battle of wills with my two year old son. Then the baby came. Then came sleep deprivation as my new little bundle worked out her day/night issues.

I remember one night in particular when my daughter was just a couple weeks old. She was challenging me yet again by not sleeping when I thought she was supposed to. I was getting up with her for what seemed like the umpteenth time. I headed toward the restroom before picking her up, and when she saw that, she cried even more. I snapped, "are you kidding me?! Just a minute!"

My husband was awake at that point, and said in response, "hey, don't yell at her. You're the one who told me that babies cry to communicate". I managed to mutter something snotty like, "thanks a lot" and he had to go in to our son, because by that time, he had awakened as well.

I sat nursing the baby in the dark living room fuming over that exchange. Who does he think he is? He's not the one who has to get up with her. He doesn't understand what I'm going through. I'd like to see him try to deal with what I deal with all day. I couldn't believe his "audacity." Suddenly, I heard Holy Spirit speaking to my heart, "quit making excuses. Quit blaming others for your response."

In a moment, my whole perspective changed. I felt ashamed for how I had been acting. This was not who I was. Nobody in my family had been spared from my wrath. Sitting there in the middle of the night, as I repented for my behavior, I felt God's grace wrapped around me like a warm blanket.

When my husband came out of our son's room, I apologized for how I had spoken to our daughter and to him. He quickly forgave me, and then went back to bed.

"But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: 'God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.' Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." James 4:6-7

God gives us grace when we humble ourselves. When we stop blaming others for our reactions. When we stop blaming others for our anger. When we stop trying to act like we're not the problem. His grace enables us to sit up in the wee hours of the morning with a restless baby. It enables us to receive criticism from others. His grace gives us the ability to clean up our toddlers "accident" or whatever it is that can get us annoyed.

If you are battling anger in your life right now, are you accepting responsibility for your behavior? Or are you passing the blame on to others? Do you find yourself saying (or thinking) things like "if they wouldn't act like this, then I would not get upset"? Take a moment to humble yourself before God.

Lord, forgive me for my behavior. I ask You to show me where I am wrong. Show me ways that I can better deal with the pressures in my life right now. I ask that You would pour your grace upon me right now. Help me to become more like You. In Jesus' name, amen.

Do you struggle with anger? I welcome you to share your experience in the comments. 

Linking up at Time-Warp Wife