As a little five-year-old girl, I ran around with all the neighborhood kids playing tag and hide and seek. Yes, this was back in the days when it was safe to play around the neighborhood unsupervised. One particular game of hide and seek is forever etched in my memory. It was the time I found the perfect new hiding place deep within the branches of a giant evergreen bush. I remember wondering to myself, Why is it that no one ever hid here before? The answer became painfully clear to me within a few seconds. Wasps had made their home in this most perfect of hiding places.
You can imagine I was never going to go back to that hiding spot again. I couldn’t believe those wasps got so mad at me. What did I do to them? Well . . . I guess I did intrude on their territory and compromise the tranquil safety of their nests. When you look from the wasp’s point of view it’s no wonder they get angry and sting people. The busy wasps work tediously for days to create a complex, multilevel wasp haven, then some careless kid comes along and disrupts their whole world. All that work completely dismantled by a little kid! What frustration!
Sometimes that’s the type of frustration we feel as moms. We work hard all day and night to love and care for the needs of our family, and what do we get in return? A messed up house, a disrupted schedule, and a feeling of being pulled in every direction mixed with whining and very little appreciation. It’s enough to make you want to sting someone. And unfortunately that’s what we do sometimes. Our words, actions and even attitudes can hurt or sting the people around us, but unlike bee stings which heal and go away, a mother’s stinging words can last a lifetime.
Now let me reassure you the emotion of anger is a normal, God-given emotion. Everyone experiences anger at times, but the important aspect is how we deal with it and how we choose to express it. A pattern of angry explosions is not healthy in building love and communication in our home, and our kids most likely will pick up the pattern of anger in their own lives. Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “In your anger, do not sin.”
How do we handle our anger wisely? We begin by recognizing what tends to trigger our own anger. We need to explore any underlying issues that may be stirring up anger in our heart and emotions. Dr. Ross Campbell writes, “Since anger is a constant force in our lives, it must be constantly and effectively confronted.” There are many ways we can confront our own anger, but the first step is to take our concern to God. As David wrote:
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
try me, and know my anxieties;
and see if there is any wicked way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23,24)
Ask God to help you recognize some of the issues that make you angry and examine the core reasons why these things tend to tee you off. Keep a journal and reflect on what God is showing you about yourself. Consider ways you can react differently or see these issues from a fresh point of view. As you grow to confront your own anger, ask God to give you His patience and love as you deal with challenges. He is slow to anger and abounding in love. Ultimately, isn’t that how we want our kids to describe us—slow to anger and abounding in love? Let’s care enough to confront our own anger issues.
For an Anger Self-Evaluation, visit www.PositiveMom.com