In keeping with my last blog post and slowing down, I wanted to hit on another aspect of this: being slow to anger and slow to speak. The Bible tells us in James 1:19-20 Understand, my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry. For man’s anger does not promote the righteousness God [wishes and requires].
For some reason, as I have gotten older, I have realized that I am the opposite. I am quick to anger and quick to speak. And, if I am being honest, slow to hear. I am backwards! I am especially bad about this when it comes to being in certain situations with certain people. And, unfortunately for me, it is the same basic situation week after week. I feel like my life is Groundhog Day.
Obviously, I am missing something somewhere, right? God would not keep putting me in the same situation over and over and over again, just for the fun of it. Would He? Goodness, I hope not.
Typical me, I try and figure out what the problem is, because I want to fix it. The first thing I tend to do is look to other people and blame them. It couldn’t possibly be me, could it? No way!
I also overthink and overanalyze the situation to death. Unfortunately for me, this is my standard default. (Overthinking, that is.) The only conclusion I can draw is that, time after time, situation after situation, the only commonality is…well….me.
There--I said it. I admit it. The only thing I can figure out is that I am the problem.
Now, being the logical person I am, (at least that I think and hope I am), this means I need to change the way I think. What other choice is there? God has me in this same situation over and over for a reason, right? He must. So, there is something I am not learning, something I am not getting. It is like failing the same grade over and over. And, I am tired of it! I am ready to move on up to the next level for crying out loud!
Is this happening to you? Anyone? Anyone? Please say yes. I sure hope I am not alone. After all, misery loves company! (I know I do anyway.)
So, ok God, I am asking for some direction here. I need some guidance. Truly.
I read a post somewhere, more than a year ago, that I wrote down and come back to every now and then. I believe it was from Joel Osteen. He said something to the effect of, “I don’t like this job. These people are so negative. Nobody has a good attitude. Ask yourself, why do you think God put you there? They don’t need more light in bright places. This is an opportunity for you to shine.”
In other words, Be the Light.
This makes sense to me. It struck a chord with me. I mean, I wrote it down so I could refer to it. And, I actually do refer back to it. My problem is that I have a hard time “being the light.”
So, you are probably asking yourself, “what does this have to do with being slow to anger and slow to speak?” Well, I will tell you—everything! At least in my case.
I think that I have a hard time “being a light” because I keep finding myself in dark situations. And, these dark situations are fertile ground for the devil. And, as we all know, the devil loves to wreak havoc wherever and whenever he can. I know I can’t just blame the devil though. I am an adult and can take responsibility for myself and my thoughts and actions. This is where the slowing down part can come into play again.
I can easily get worked up. I let things get to me that I shouldn’t. I don’t know why I am this way, but I have been this way for a long time now. And, I hate it! (My hubby, Paul, often reminds me that I need to be like a duck and learn to let things roll off my back. And, I desperately do need to learn that. Maybe writing this blog post will help. When Paul texts me to be a duck, I reply back, “quack, quack’.)
There is something hard-wired into me that causes me to be quick to anger and often quick to speak when it comes to witnessing things I think are wrong. I get so aggravated and frustrated and I know I should just keep my mouth shut, but, alas, I don’t. Instead ugly thoughts pop into my mind and I spew ugly words out of my mouth. (However, I must say, there is just something so satisfying about getting stuff off your chest, especially if you are a girl.)
This isn’t to say that if I (or you) witness something wrong, I (or you) should not speak or do anything. On the contrary, if you see something wrong or inappropriate, I urge you to act and help if you can. However, most times, you can afford to slow down. Act rationally. We can consciously take a step back. We can take some deep breaths. We can count to five. We can remind ourselves that God does NOT want us to get angry or take offense.
As responsible adults, we can control our thoughts, actions, and words. God gives us this ability. We are in control—no one else. We can restrain ourselves because we have God’s grace. Isn’t that an amazing gift? With His help, we can manage our feelings of anger.
Now, I just need to get busy and focus on slowing down my anger, thoughts, and words. If I can train myself and learn to become someone who is slow to speak, slow to take offense, and slow to anger, then maybe, I can be that light God intends me to be.
And, then maybe, just maybe, I can move out of this vicious cycle that always find myself in. Maybe I can be that duck after all!
I am so glad you are here! I am Erica Strickland, a girl who loves God. My goal here is to simply share His love and light.