Saturday, July 16, 2011

Temper, temper!

I have a terrible temper.

Most people don't believe this about me.  Generally I'm a pretty sunshiny, Pollyanna type of person who skips around surrounded by chirping birds, crowned by rainbows in a sky where the only clouds have sequined outlines of silver.  My little world is a happy place and I stay there as much as possible.  But I don't always stay there. Oh, no.  Sometimes unpleasantness creeps in, embedding itself under my skin, irritating more and more with every breath until it becomes so difficult to ignore that my happy little world dissolves into a cacophony of dissonance, thunderbolts and lightning storms that leaves me gritting my teeth and digging my fingernails into my palms. 

Now don't think I'm easily angered.  I do my best to let things roll off my back and focus on the big picture, asking myself "In the grand scheme of things, will this really matter?"  So when the steam starts coming out of my ears, be assured it's been building for quite a while, which might explain the level of reaction when it finally comes. 

So I find myself this healthy?  Is it normal?  I never really had a positive example of how to handle anger when I was a kid and, more than anything, I want to avoid the constant violent outbursts that punctuated life in those days.  Then I come across this:

But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.
—Colossians 3:8
and things start to fall into place.  While I have a bit of pride over the fact that I am fairly slow to anger, the reality is, that's not good enough.   Temper, anger, whatever you want to call it - it's not from God.  It's a very real example of how easy it is to slip into the "me" mentality when my goal is to always be looking up.  If I give in to the foot-stomping and muttering, I'm grasping tools that, instead of helping me out of the pit of temper I'm in, will tear and bite into the ground to create a chasm of misery.  Looking at things that way, the answer to my question is obviously no, this is not healthy and this is not good.
It's never easy for me to admit I'm wrong, especially when I know I'm right.  My angry thoughts may well be justified.  Let's face it, people in general are not kind, they are not altruistic and they often hurt others in order to benefit themselves.  Anger is a natural reaction.  But it takes something more, something otherworldly, to refuse to let that take hold, to push it aside in favor of humility and obedience and maybe even forgiveness.  A work in progress, I'm nowhere near mastering any of that.  But I can do pretty much anything with God's help, so I'm going to keep trying.


Jamie said...

Well said, my friend.

Rainbow Bekah said...

oh, love it! A great reminder to not let the "little things" build up, always go to the Word first. Love you!

Jamie said...

Where aaaaaaaare you, blogging buddy?

Fern said...

I'm here, but lacking motivation lately. I come up with great blog topics at 3 am when I can't sleep, but do you think I can remember them once I've had my morning coffee? Bah!

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