By and far, my biggest struggle is my temper, which generally shows its face as anger. And no one brings it out in me more than my two adorable offspring. I love these precious boys God has entrusted to me, but they can push my buttons like none other!
Lately, I have been spending more time in prayer about this sin in my life. I know it needs to be removed, but in my humanness it is impossible.
So while I would love a divine healing from my rash responses to life, God instead gives me tools from his word that I can use in these difficult moments.
“Be angry, [yet] do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent.” Psalm 4:2
First, a quick side note. The words “be angry” might be confusing. Isn’t anger the sin? Well, no actually; the sin is in how you respond to the anger. Righteous anger can be a good thing. It’s what fuels movements to save babies from abortion and women from sex trafficking and children from intense labor. But the anger I too often feel towards my children is not productive. It does not bring glory to God.
So what’s a frustrated parent to do?
“…ponder in your own hearts on your beds…”
The only solution when I feel by blood pressure rising is to get away. I love this verse because it commands me to not only get away, but to rest. And then, when I have calmed down I can think back on what caused the situation to escalate and develop a game plan to (hopefully) keep it from happening again. On your bed, in the closet, outside on the porch, hiding under a blanket. It’s not the where that’s important, it is the separation from the situation that is causing so much anxiety.
But what about those situations where you can’t walk away; the grocery store or restaurant where you children will not obey and you just want to scream? We can still escape into the presence of God. Start a game of who can be the quietest and then retreat into the presence of God. When your children start in again, be honest. More than once I have told my boys, I’m sorry, but you can’t talk to me right now because I’m about to lose it and I am talking to God so I can reset and not start yelling at you. It works. And on the days it doesn’t, then I have my six year old pray for me. If he’s going to be talking, it might as well be to the Almighty!
“…and be silent.”
When nothing else works, just shut your mouth. Refuse to respond and eventually those loving children of yours will stop provoking. It won’t be easy, and you best be praying the whole time, but it will work.
Finally, let’s look at Psalm 4:5.
“Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord.”
When it’s all said and done, whether you failed or obtained victory, surrender to God. Thank him for the victory or pray for forgiveness from the defeat. And then trust that next time he will be right there with you. Because he will. He loves you too much to let you fail.