Hebrews 12:14: “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” (NIV)
I don’t know if you’re like me or not, but when things go wrong, stress builds up and I finally explode (either silently on the inside or outwardly by yelling, stomping, or sounding like a dinosaur roar which puts our three-year-old into a fit of giggles), it’s usually not really about what it seems. If I’m upset and blame the toaster for giving me a burnt bagel, it’s usually not about the bagel. If I pound my fist on the steering wheel and call the driver in front of me stupid, it’s usually not about the driver. Or if, and this is the one that hits me the hardest, I yell at my kids for being too messy, making too much noise, or accuse them of not listening to me, it’s usually not about them either.
Why is that? Why do we allow our insecurities, the areas in our life that we need to work on the most, and the things that put us on the defensive dictate how we’ll treat those around us? I’m starting to catch on quicker that if I’m extra short with my kids and their behavior hasn’t changed drastically in the last 24 hours, other drivers irritate me more than usual, or having a burnt bagel sends me over the edge, I need to stop and examine what is really going on in my life. Am I extra tired, burned out, worried about something, or has something that was said or done recently triggered an insecurity? Sometimes I can pinpoint it right away; other times I need to get alone with God and spend some real quiet time listening to His voice and letting Him speak to my soul.
Usually within a relatively short amount of time, God allows me to figure out what actually is at the core of my frustration and outburst…and then sometimes, as a result, the next time my buttons are pushed, I’m quicker to realize the root of the problem and then adjust my attitude accordingly, namely by not taking out my actions on unsuspecting and innocent bystanders.
So…I challenge you today. The next time you find yourself getting a little over the top about a minor infraction or inconvenience in your life, stop, go to God, and ask yourself (and Him) what really is the cause of your meltdown. You might just be surprised at what you discover and thankful for the revelation so that the next time what could have been Mount Vesuvius erupting will be just a little spark. I have to say…the more I get in tune with the real problem, the less I sound like a roaring dinosaur. I kinda miss my three-year-old’s giggles…maybe I’ll have to invite him to play T. Rex with me instead.