"Better a patient man, than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than who who takes a city" -Proverbs16:32
We recently walked through what it means to put on our full armor and be ready for battle. We are in the army of God and are called to do those things but sometimes it is all for not, if we let our temper get the better of us.
I read something once that said, "Love is hard to offend and quick to forgive." If our love wasn't quick to forgive, my husband and I would not have been together for these last 25 plus years. There are days when I wonder if this is true in our relationship though.
I remember a time when my husband came home from a long day at work and barely said two words when he walked in the door, he wouldn't answer my question until he was ready and then made a comment that he knew would rub me the wrong way before going out the door. It wasn't that he was doing it on purpose to be mean, he just didn't withhold his frustrations and I was the one that happened to be in the way. He had something bothering him and so did I. However, I couldn't even react to his snarky comment except to thrust my mop down in the water so hard the water flew of my bucket. Only to think to myself..."why'd I do that, now I have to clean it up." [sigh] It immediately made me think of how we can spill so much over onto others when we are shaken, what do we spill over? Whatever we are full of.
I know it was silly but I anger easily sometimes. It makes me want to scream in frustration that I lack so little self control but screaming probably would look much like self control either. In reality, I know I need to do better. I need to not throw a ridiculous tantrum and try to practice more patience and kindness.
"...the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness." -Exodus 34:6
"The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion..." -Numbers 14:18
"...But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love." - Nehemiah 9:17
"But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness." - Psalm 86:15
"I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity." - Jonah 4:2
I don't know about you but I want to be known in this life for something, I want it to be that I am compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in love. These verses strike a cord with me every single time a read them.
Slow to anger...slow to anger...that is something I don't feel I naturally come by. My husband has known me a long time and certainly knows which button to push if he wanted to get a rise. He knows what rubs me the wrong way and how to irritate me and I know I'm not alone. As a "loving wife", I should be gentle and calm, cheerful and self-controlled. I cannot be these things part of the time. I must be these things all of the time, right? If it doesn't anger God, it shouldn't anger me because ultimately my reaction is probably what would have made God mad and not the fact that my husband didn't pick up his own laundry or call when he was going to be late. My emotional self control would do much more for my marriage than a romantic weekend getaway ever could (although, that would be nice).
We need to learn to quickly forgive and forget at a much faster rate. We need to keep our day and our lives better balanced and pace ourselves so that we do not feel the stress of being a wife and/or a mom all of the time. We need to be more grateful for the life and love that we have. How do we do that exactly?
Breathe! We just need to breathe. Standing still, closing my eyes for a second while chaos tries to overwhelm me, and breathe. Isn't that what God commands of us. Be still and know. Be still. Breathe. Then we can thank Him for just being Him. For being the calm in our storm and our strength. Thank Him, praise Him. Just speak His praise out loud. "Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Jesus." Oh how those words take you from a place of less to a place of more; from a place with less hope to a place full of hope. You know that in your thankfulness, that you have allowed God to pour out on your life, everything you need, in His fullness. He will fill you up. So that when you are shaken, you splash Him everywhere. There will be mess then to clean up. Let Him fill you. So, now...you can let it go. Let go of the anger, let go of the frustration, let go of the weight that you just tried to pick up and carry. He never intended for you to carry that.
Next time you find yourself with your head in your hands and you aren't feeling His peace, do this. Take note. Write down exactly how you are feeling at that very moment. Then, praise God. Just jot down or say out loud a truth about God. (i.e., "Lord, thank You for...") After a moment of praise, take note. Write down how you feel after your praise. I promise you, He will take you from a moment of feeling less to a feeling as though He is about to do something amazing, something more.
The reason we get so angry is simply because things aren't going the way we want them to go. We were not in complete control of the circumstance. It cannot be that hard to start letting God handle it and trusting that that He has our best interest at heart. Even if things aren't going our way, being slow to anger, is a virtue that can save a marriage.
Father, I thank You that You have mercy and grace in Your heart for me. I will continually bless and praise You. Your word is true. Your love never fails, and Your mercies endure forever. I am blessed that you are slow to anger and let love abound. I can put my trust in You because my hope, confidence, and expectation is in You. I will not let my anger cut off my hope and blessings a day more. Holy Spirit, be my guide, rain down on me the fruit of Your Spirit that gives me the patience and long-suffering that I need. It is a fruit that you can bestow so that I can continually hope in You. Your heart is for me and I know that You will not withhold from me these things that I ask. These are the ways in which I can become more like Jesus and You give them freely. Teach me to breathe and rejoice, breathe and rejoice. Thank you Lord for all You have done, are doing now, and about to do in my marriage. My husband and I need You're presence Lord and Your Peace. Thank you Father. In Jesus Holy and Mighty Name, Amen.
I am married to my high school sweetheart. We've been pressing ahead together for over 24 years. We have 5 beautiful children; 3 by my own body and 2 through foster to adopt. I wrote this Bible study in 2009, years ago, for myself and shared it on my blog. It is very dear to my heart. It's been tweaked and edited many times and I'm proud to be bringing it back to you. Over the years I received countless emails from women who credited this study with changing their marriage for the better. Since removing it from my old blog I have received just as many emails asking when it would return. I hope you enjoy spending your time in God's Word with me.