We are up to Week 3 in our Gentleness Challenge and this week I want to focus on our anger issues. There are several reasons why we may feel angry with our children. The book of Proverbs speaks directly to our issues. Let’s look at a few of the reasons we lose our temper.
1. Too high of expectations. If you hold to the philosophy of “I speak, and the children must obey immediately“, you will be angry often. How do I know this? Because by the time my son was 3, I had read many parenting books that convinced me my son was to obey “right away, all the way, with a cheerful heart.” Indeed, Ephesians 6 says that children are to obey their parents and it is my job to teach them to obey. BUT bad news…they have to be trained to obey…and this takes years and years for children who learn the hard way – and I have two of those types of children! lol!
So my expectations were very high for my pre-schoolers and that made my patience very short. James 1:20 says that human anger does not bring about the righteousness of God. And I had to learn that my children were 2 and 4…they had only been on the planet a SHORT time lol!! It was up to me to get creative – role play, read life giving stories, memorize verses with them, role model cheerfulness and joy, teach them to “try again” when they whined, give consequences for wrong behavior, pray with them, laugh with them, bond with them, enjoy them and praise them…and little by little, after year in and year out of daily pouring into them, I have begun to see fruit of my labor. Teaching our children to obey is not an overnight process! It’s a life long process and often God is working as much on us as mommies as he is on our children! And in our household – honestly – we have a ways to go. (and those of you who know me in real life would agree I do not have angelic children. I have normal children. )
2. Exhaustion. The reality is – when we are tired, stressed, and overwhelmed - it’s hard to manage our emotions. If you know you had a short night of sleep and your children are on your last nerve, zip your lip and pray your way through the entire day. Don’t require too much of anyone that day…do the bare minimum and get to sleep as soon as you can. Communicate this to your husband and ask him if he could help you get the kids to bed so you can go to bed early. Race to your bed! Nothing is going to make that day better but sleep. A well rested mommy is a blessing to her family.
3. Disorganization. I am not saying we have to be the queen of order but I will say that when we are running late, forgotten an important paper, lost our keys, laundry is piled sky high, toys are everywhere, and bills are overdue…we are going to be a tad bit edgey! Waking early enough to get alone with God, pray over our day, get filled with his word, think through everyone’s needs, and prepare for the day in advance before the day comes charging at us, will help our irritablity levels.
4. Bitterness in your marriage. Beware – if you are struggling in your marriage – there is a temptation to take it out on your children. I have noticed when my husband does something “annoying” I might not say anything because it’s “not worth fighting over.” But that annoyance can transfer over to the children. That is wrong. Deal with your marriage issues…within your marriage, do not let things simmer under the surface as the anger will come out when you least expect it.
5. Go to the book of Proverbs. Proverbs is stuffed FULL of wisdom for dealing with anger…here is a picture of what I did long ago to Proverbs in my Bible. I grabbed a pink highlighter and starting in chapter 10, I marked every single verse that referenced how I am to communicate with others. If this is a weak spot for you – I recommend you do the same. Once you complete this – commit some of them to memory. Let God’s word dwell richly in you – there is no greater transforming power on earth than God’s word.
I recently re-watched this week’s video and could see the sadness in my eyes. I had cried a lot the week that we made this video because of my frustrations in parenting. This video was recorded last July – and we have moved past this incident that I explain in the video. I can honestly say that we have seen God do a lot of work in this area but we are not out of the woods. Grab a cup of coffee and join the discussion between Angela and me.
If you are taking the challenge, I invite you to leave a comment in the comment section with feedback – how is it going? Take time to encourage other women in the comment section – we need each other. If you are a blogger, I invite you to “copy” and “save as” this button and put it somewhere on your blog and link it back to http://www.womenlivingwell.org Then link up below!
Walk with the King!