This reason for anger is the most disturbing to me. I think my anger flares the worst when Little E is exhibiting some of my same sin tendencies. I don’t think it all out at the time, but when I see my own detestable sin in my children, I hate the behavior all the more. You’d think I would have more grace for the behavior since I understand it well!
I’ve seen this in other people–it’s nice and obvious from the outside, of course, but me, too?
Mr. C is devastated because he didn’t win a game? Huh, I think my running coaches could tell you some tales of tears over goal times not being met–almost every race. JP is complaining? Yes, I have been known to have that attitude inside of me. Temper? Well, I don’t usually scream loud enough to burst ear drums, but after all, I have been able to write six blog posts on anger. I’m usually annoyed when Little E moans and grumps but refuses to put words to her problem–she’d rather try for sympathy as long as she can first. But I don’t act the martyr, do I? Actually, I don’t like to admit it, but I have gotten a little weird pleasure out of that now and then. For example, “No, Greg, I’ll finish cleaning the dishes” (…even though I just spent two hours in the kitchen making dinner and getting the kids to eat it, and I’ve just told you how exhausted I am. I’ll do the work anyway. Don’t help me; it will ruin my martyrdom).
How am I going to fight against this anger when I don’t even realize what I’m doing at the time? This is where we get to what I’ve found to be the answer to any anger, no matter what the trigger is: selfishness, expectations, control, stress, and mirror of my own sin. I can know all my triggers, minimize their occurrences, and write about them. I can do things like get accountability and exercise to relieve stress, but if I don’t honestly go before God every day, asking the Holy Spirit to fill me up, I will continue to get angry.
That’s all. Rely on God to work in me and help the fruit of the Spirit grow in me: “…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…” (Galatians 5:22, 23). If I am full of this fruit, there will be no place for anger. It’s hard to be patient and angry at the same time.
I’ve found that when I do ask God for help, He really does help me. I find myself tucking the kids in with a good attitude instead of one of hurry and annoyance and am surprised to think back through the day and not find one time when I lost my temper with my kids.
As this new year starts, let’s make a resolution to take a minute or two to go before God every day (hopefully before we interact with those who normally make us angry) and ask Him to fill us so full of Him that we have no room for anything else!