I was so frustrated that morning. I had waited weeks for an order I placed to come in and when it finally did, two weeks late, it was not what I had ordered. These days it seems to happen a lot – right? I called customer service and was greeted by a young woman who could not answer my questions, would not deviate from her script, and wasn’t listening to me – at all. Reaching my boiling point I just hung up on her. I was so angry!
Externally, I was angry because the woman was not listening to me or accomodating me. I felt justified to get angry. I was a consumer who wasn’t getting her money’s worth and wanted immediate action. Regretfully, as I write this, I felt entitled.
Internally, It pains me to admit it, but I was angry because I wanted what I wanted right then and now. I was also angry at myself for not having self-control and allowing my frustrations to get the best of me which led to feeling shame and embarrassment over my actions.
Most of us are born with a desire to be number one. It is part of our human nature starting with Adam and Eve rebelling against God. Infants cry out demanding to be fed that transitions into toddler tantrums and teen rebellion. Some of us are still throwing tantrums into our 20’s, 40’s, 60’s. I did just the other day. Why? Because we want our own way. We want what we want, when we want it, regardless of others’ needs or feelings.
And ladies, it ages us. Anger does not look pretty on the outside and if we allow ourselves to operate in anger for seasons of our life, that emotion wreaks havoc on the inside as well. From wrinkles, frown lines, furrowed brows, to intestinal and heart issues. It is a scientific fact. When we hold onto anger and bitterness our entire lives will suffer the consequences – our health and relationships – especially our relationship with the Father will suffer. Anger sucks the life out of you and them.
Hebrews 12:14 NIV, “make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness, no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”
The Holy Spirit did a heart check in me as I sat at my desk, face in hands, feeling defeated. He reminded me of a verse in Hebrews and conviction set in as I imagined that young woman’s reaction on the other end of the phone. It was time to stop and take an inventory of why I was feeling this way before it spiraled the rest of my day into a pit.
- Did I make any effort – let alone every effort – to immulate peace? No.
- Did I communicate or behave in a way that reflected the holiness of God? No.
- Did I fall short? Yes.
- Did I get an attitude that resulted in poor choices? Yes
- What’s my responsibility? My anger and my choices.
- How do I resolve this? Repent of my sin, release my actions to God, receive His forgiveness, and reset my attitude.
There is a recovery saying – nothing changes if nothing changes. It’s a humbling experience when Jesus steps in to your space where sin is happening, not with condemnation, but with a gentleness and kindness that grabs your attention. It’s not what we expect. Yet, he wasn’t what we expected either – a human being to choose us over his own life. We might expect him to breathe firey judgment, yell harsh disciplining words at us, or even guilt and shame us into submission. We might expect him to get….angry. Especially if we were raised in an angry household.
But that’s not who God is, who Jesus is, who the Holy Spirit is. Jesus completely understands the temptations we face and the emotions we struggle with. He faced the same battles we do. And, anger was one of them, yet, he did not sin. Jesus empathizes with us in our sin, has compassion for us in the struggle, and enters into the battle to lead us the way out to victory. He is our advocate.
Jesus, my Savior, I don’t like it when I get angry or loose my temper. I don’t like how I feel about myself or how it affects those I love. I want to change. I ask you to remove the root of anger, frustration, impatience, and harshness from my heart and mind. I reject every lie and assignment of the enemy that has used anger to cause destruction in my life in Jesus name. I ask, Lord, for self-control, patience, kindness, gentleness, and humility, the fruit of love, the fruit of your Spirit, to be birthed in me. Create in me an image of you , Jesus. Thank you, in Jesus’s name. Amen.