It was the thirteenth exclamation of “Mom!” in a half hour.
It was the bill in the mail that was higher than I wanted it to be. It was the remains of beard hair trimmings from my husband in the bathroom sink.
It was the dirty clothes scattered across my son’s bedroom.
It was the sticky splotch of… something… on the kitchen floor. It was all this and more…
And I lost it.
In the south, we sometimes call it “losing your religion” but whatever you want to call it and however you want to phrase it, my attitude was not pretty. Soon my actions revealed what was in my heart. My feet stomped through the house, I huffed in disapproval, and my tongue began to fire away all my feelings of agitation.
Suddenly it happened. In the middle of my ranting, a still, small voice began to tap on my heart prompting me to shut up, take a breather, and get alone with God before I did any more damage. Wanting to be alone anyway, I went and hid in my bathroom for some quiet. Immediately the waves of regret fell over me. The Holy Spirit began to remind me of my children’s eyes of sadness and my husband’s face of disappointment and I buried my head in my hands.
Kristen, you need to get a grip! I scolded myself.
Or, came the still, small voice, you could bring me your frustrations and let me teach you how to handle them the right way.
It’s always the little things that undo us. It’s the lost shoe no one can find as you’re trying to make it out the door on time. It’s the whining that ensues when carrots are put on your child’s plate instead of Oreo cookies. It’s your husband’s dirty socks lying on the floor three feet away from the dirty clothes basket. It’s the needs of others that demand you neglect your desires for comfort and ease.
We huff and puff. We roll our eyes. We mumble under our breath. We let our countenance get icy and our eyes shoot darts. We respond sarcastically. We put our spiritual noses in the air. Then once we see our temper tantrum for what it is, we neglect our duty to call upon the Holy Spirit and instead resort to motivational speeches! Friend, this should not be how we live.
The truth is, we can tell ourselves to “perk up,” “settle down,” “chill out” and “snap out of it” but pep talks are not going to fix the problem in our hearts. Picking ourselves up by our bootstraps and pushing through isn’t the remedy for frustration and impatience. Consider the wise words in Proverbs 14:29:
One who is slow to anger has great understanding;
But one who is quick-tempered exalts foolishness.
The apostle Paul urged the Christians in Ephesus to live a life worthy of Christ “with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3, NKJV)
As women, wives, and mothers, we are to imitate Jesus in our thinking, in our actions, and in our speech. Harsh reactions and hot anger do nothing to build up relationships or cultivate a peaceful home and when our frustrations are at an all-time high, a pep talk just isn’t enough. Maybe we need to ditch the bootstraps mentality and put on the mind of Christ, bringing our thoughts under the subjection of Christ and His Word. Maybe we need to stop telling ourselves to get a grip and instead get a firm grip on the power of the Holy Spirit that is offered to us through Jesus. We can do it. His Word says we can.
When we feel like we are about to “lose it,” may we be women who cling tightly to the saving and restoring power of God.