This past week I joined the Ultimate Blog Challenge and life happened, so I missed Days 2 and 3. Today is Day 4. They offered topics on “fours,” but I didn’t like any of them, so I’m choosing instead to blog about losing it.
Last night I lost it with my husband Ray. Yelled and said things I shouldn’t have. Yes, me, a Christian speaker and author.
My family and friends IRL (in real life) know all too well that I’m not anywhere near perfect. Those who have heard me speak and read my books and my blog know it, too, because I’m very open about my sins and mistakes, much of which I share in my new book, Promises In The Dark. You may not know this about me and may be shocked and surprised.
My entire life, I’ve struggled with a temper. I hate it. I’ve prayed and prayed, begged God to take it from me, asked God to kill me so I wouldn’t have to deal with it anymore (or my family), fasted, renounced it, received deliverance and inner healing, had counseling, taken a variety of medications prescribed by doctors, walked, exercised, changed my diet….and still struggle with anger at times.
To make things worse, Ray has a temper too. So we often butt heads. And we have children with tempers, too. It often runs in families. (Exodus 20:5, Exodus 34:6-7)
I’m not alone in this. Others who have battled a temper are Moses, Naomi, Job, Elijah, Jeremiah, Joyce Meyers, Lisa Bevere, Russell Crow, Justin Bieber, Nicolas Cage, and many women I know (yes, Christian women. Yes, we love Jesus passionately but we aren’t immune to losing it.)
Penelope Trunk, who has founded 4 startups, lives on a farm, homeschools her 2 sons, and who blogs a lot about careers, college and Generations Y and Z writes about yelling at her kids in the morning using the “F” word.
I usually lose my temper with Ray, not my kids. (And vice versa. Ray says I can push his buttons faster than anyone he’s ever met.) But I don’t want to get mad at him – or anyone. I don’t want to be known as an angry woman, or for “greasy grace”, but this is my desire:
“God wants to use our mouths as channels of His life and blessing, but we will never be His prophets if we talk like the world. Let God clean up your conversation.” (J. Lee Grady, Why I Don’t Use the F-Word, www.charismamag.com/blogs/fire-in-my-bones/18379-why-i-don-t-use-the-f-word
Here’s some other things that tend to set off my temper. Do you relate?
- people who drive slow or who drive on my car tail
- slow bank or grocery lines (which I always seem to get in)
- computer problems, like my printer eating paper yesterday
- techy issues on webinars and teleseminars (this actually happens frequently to people, because technology isn’t perfect)
- loud noises in the morning (often Ray)
- burned food or other strong smells (again Ray)
- women or children being controlled, manipulated, abused, neglected, or mistreated
- when I’m hot, hungry or tired.
Anger, by definition, is “a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure or hostility; belligerance provoked by a wrong; pain; grief; trouble.”
The Greek surgeon and philosopher Galen and Greek statesman and philosopher Seneca regarded anger as a kind of madness. (Source: Wikipedia) I can relate to this. Billy Graham’s wife said it well when asked if she’d ever thought about divorcing Billy. “Divorce? No. Murder, yes.”
Buddhism teaches that anger brings misery and confusion rather than peace, happiness, and fulfillment. (Source: Wikipedia)
In Hinduism, anger is believed to be packed with more evil power than desires. (Source: Wikipedia)
In Islam, anger is considered to be instigated by Satan, stemming from selfishness, arrogance, and excessive ambition. (Source: Wikipedia)
I think anger is often provoked by the enemy Satan. He knows it will steal our peace and joy, and render Christians ineffective for the Kingdom of God. The Bible tells us that we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities. (Ephesians 6:12) However, we can’t go around always blaming the devil when we get mad. Many times it’s just the flesh! Sometimes there are other factors involved, too: fatigue, lack of sleep, illness, stress, hormonal problems, worry, etc.
In Judaism, anger is seen as a negative trait “denying the hand of God in one’s life.” (Source: Wikipedia)
Psychologists view anger as a primary, natural, mature emotion experienced by almost all humans at times, and something that has functional value for survival. But psychologists say that excessive anger can increase your blood pressure, and other physical changes associated with anger make it difficult to think straight and harm your physical and mental health. It can cause problems at home and work. (Source: American Psychological Association)
Overall, anger isn’t generally viewed as a good thing.
Unless anger is a holy, righteous anger – like Jesus displayed driving out the money-changers in the temple and with the Pharisees’ and Sadducees’ lack of love and religious hypocrisy (which most of us rarely experience) – anger is destructive.
What does the Bible say about anger? The Bible most often warns us about anger.
“Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry – but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry.” – Ephesians 4:26, The Message
“Remember this, my dear friends! Everyone must be quick to listen, but slow to speak and slow to become angry.” – James 1:19, Good News Translation
“A foolish person lets his anger run wild. But a wise person keeps himself under control.” – Proverbs 29:11, New International Reader’s Version
“But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.” – Matthew 5:22, NKJV
“Also get rid of your anger, hot tempers, hatred, cursing, obscene language, and all similar sins.” – Colossians 3:8, God’s Word Translation
“Human anger does not achieve God’s righteous purpose.” – James 1:20, Good News Translation
If you have a problem with unrighteous anger, what can you do to overcome it?
Joyce Meyer says to get to the root of it and deal with it. One of the primary roots of anger is the family. Angry people often have angry children. Children learn and mimic what is taught and modeled.
Joyce says to confess to God that you’re not able to conquer your temper by yourself and that you need His help.
God created us with emotions. He allows us to feel anger when we are being mistreated. But even when we’re being treated wrongly, it isn’t right to vent our anger improperly.
Joyce’s suggestions are:
- Anger often stems from unmet needs. Go to God with your needs and desires. No one, not even your spouse, can fill you up. Let God satisfy you and fill that black hole inside of you. Spend time in God’s presence and let His love wash over you.
- Talk (when you’ve calmed down) to whoever you’re angry with so the conflict can be resolved. It helps to pray for yourself and the person before talking so clear, positive communication can be achieved and some type of peaceful resolution. Sometimes you have to agree to disagree for the sake of peace. At times you may even need to fast and pray before talking with someone about the conflict.
- Forgive. Unresolved anger and unforgiveness results in bitterness. Unforgiveness makes you the prisoner. Set yourself free by making a decision to forgive. That doesn’t mean you won’t have the feelings…the feelings often come after you choose to forgive.
- Deal with abuse. God doesn’t want you abused and treated like a doormat. Abuse of any kind, whether it’s sexual, physical, verbal, or mental, leads to anger. Deal with it to be free of it. No one should ever be abused. Set firm boundaries and leave if necessary. Seek counseling if needed.
- Stop strife. The Bible says that strife opens a door to disorder and every evil thing. (James 3:16) Strife results in arguments, bickering, resentment, and angry undercurrents. At the Branson, MO, marriage retreat Ray and I recently attended, the Trevors taught whenever strife raises its head, for a couple to stop and pray. Great words of wisdom. Also if you pray for your spouse, it’s hard to stay mad at him or her! (Frequent, passionate sex helps, too!)
- Confess jealousy and envy as sin. Cain killed his brother Abel out of jealousy. Jealousy is just plain ugly and it destroys relationships. God has a specific plan and purpose for your life. There’s no need to compete or compare, or feel “less than” others. Ask God to forgive you of your jealousy and/or envy and help you to see yourself through His eyes…and to discover and walk in your own, unique calling, using your gifts for His glory. He has a plan for you that you can’t even begin to imagine!
If you struggle with anger, keep going to God, crucify it daily, when you fall, get right back up and repent, and ask God daily to help you with “keeping a watch over the door of my lips.” (Psalm 141:3 – The mouth is usually where anger shows up!).
What about you? Do you struggle with a temper? What makes you mad? Leave your comments below.