Riding home in the car last night, my son announced another school event that he is required to attend the following evening. Frustrated, I snapped, “What?” suddenly all I could see was me driving 12 miles into town, 12 miles home, 12 miles into town, 12 miles home, over and over in one evening between kids and events. I snapped in anger, “How is that going to work?” My son sensing my frustration apologized and said that he just found out about said event. I paused and said that it’s all okay. I’m not mad at you. I’m mad at the situation. I’m realizing more and more that the source of my anger and frustration is often misplaced. How often do I take my anger out on my kids and husband when they have nothing to do with it? Too often.
“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, Ephesians 4:26 NIV.
because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. James 1:20 NIV.
Scripture tells us in our anger not to sin. Ouch. That is exactly what I do when I misplace my anger, sin. It is so hard to stop that snappy response that seems to fly out of my mouth before my thoughts from around it. I guess that is why I was always told to think before I speak.
Getting from snappy to thinking has been a slow process for me. Sometimes my responses are so ingrained, they are automatic. They can be undone with practice. It starts by catching the misplaced anger. For me, it began by apologizing after the fact. Yesterday it was apologizing and clarifying in the midst of it. (I did feel it was important for my son to know where the anger was coming from and where it belonged.) Sometimes, I can think before I speak and adjust my response before I misplace my anger. I’m a work in progress. Aren’t we all?
To add insult to injury, the same day as all of these events, my son broke the wire on his braces. This meant another trip to get him to the dentist and a complete reworking of the days plan. I was reduced to laughter. Some would call it Murphy’s Law, I call it God’s sense of humor.
Is this a struggle for you, too? Are you willing to work on it? Claim the verse from Ephesians and allow God to show you ways to handle misplaced anger. It is freeing to regain control rather than let the it control me.
Share your struggles and successes below and we can encourage each other.