Ephesians 4:31-32, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (ESV)
I read something in my devotional this morning that made me laugh out loud.
“I was born with firecrackers in my blood.” (by Lysa Terkeurst – highly recommend this devotional!)
This is how I feel, a lot. This reaction swells up in me when I know I’m right, I’ve been wronged or I perceive someone is lying to me or treating others poorly. It’s a fight or flight response, and in this arena, I’m a fighter.
But recently my perspective seems to be on constant defense mode, like I’m waiting for the bottom to fall out or just waiting for something to set me off. I think it’s due to stress and a need to just relax and release. Stress is a dangerous thing. One that I allow in my life by worrying or trying to please others. I try to work things out instead of sitting back and letting God work things out. I know this is a sin, because it keeps me from God’s safe pasture (a place of peace and rest). I harbor the uncertainty in the center of my chest and feed off of it, like a cow chewing on cud. It does break it down into smaller pieces and sometimes I’m able to work it out, but I find that there’s a lot of time wasted in standing there chewing on cud, excuse me – crud!, when I could have focused on something that I enjoy, like writing or creating, or as is often the case, sleeping. A lot of my worry pops up at night as the day slows down and my mind speeds up. I ruminate over the day’s events, calculating and coordinating the to-be finished list in my head and collating it next to the list of accomplished tasks. The to-dos are always a lot longer than the to-dones.
And, when a wrench is thrown in my worry I respond with the fight, the firecracker, the Ka-blooey!! I think, “Don’t you see that I’m carrying around all of these other responsibilities that I don’t have time for yours?” when a friend pushes their own worry into my backyard … because with God’s grace, I’m known as an encourager, a listener. But without His grace, I’m a firecracker feeding off of worry ready to get overloaded and stress lights the fuse. The result, the explosion is anger. Anger towards at the other person’s insensitivity (or is it really the need for me to be more sensitive?) – and I will explode, privately, or “talk it out” with a friend or family member.
So for these little eruptions the last week, I must apologize to friends, family and God, and seek forgiveness. Will this end my frustrated blips on the stress radar map? I can only pray so, but I’m a realist and human, so I know there will be dirty moments where I fall flat on my face in a big pile of my own mud!
Lord, help me, especially in these moments, to be kind to others, be tenderhearted. Forgiving. Take away the malice, the anger, the hurt feelings and the need to be right or righted. Help me to remember that I can’t control it, and that you didn’t give me this responsibility to control – but to do Your will, with grace and exhibiting a peace that surpasses all understanding. Oh, yes, and Lord, please forgive me for my firecracker nature and help me learn to be a temperate, self-controlled and peaceful creature. In the name of Jesus, Amen.