Three Easy Steps for Controlling Your Temper

My temper gets me all the time.  Even if I don’t explode I can feel irritation creeping up.  90% of the time my irritation is toward my husband and children.  The rest of the time it is toward the telemarketer that keeps calling my cell phone or the person at customer service whose service is pretty crappy.

Earlier this week I heard a radio program as I was driving to the gym – it was James MacDonald talking about a simple discipline to help me not give into temptation or lose my temper.   I’m testing it . . .and so far results are pretty good.

Example A:  My husband and I are both currently working from home.  I am so happy to be working from home and believe 100% that it is where God wants me.  Even so, it is an adjustment.  We haven’t both worked from home, together, for several years.  We are sharing an office.  We have very different work habits.  And very different philosophies on how the office should be organized (his style includes piles on the floor).  Yesterday as he was dropping our daughter off at school I could feel my irritation level getting higher and higher as I tried to find an organized and clean place in the office to work.

I have found that starting my day with daily Bible reading and prayer makes a huge difference, but often in the moment I still lose my temper.

When faced growing irritation with my husband I tried the steps below.  And it really seemed to help.  I didn’t handle the situation perfectly and I am sure I was more irritated than I needed to be, but it could have been a lot worse.

  1. Stop and say:  “I am Dead to That.”  Out loud.  (I did it in the bathroom, looking in the mirror.)  I love this concept – thank you James MacDonald!  
  2. Pray:  Ask God to give me grace, peace and His love in dealing with the situation.  
  3. Meditate:  Over and over in my head say the verse Romans 6:11 “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

I’m going to keep trying this and see if it helps . . . as I need all the help I can get!  But bottom line as we just celebrated Easter, Jesus didn’t just die to save me from hell, He died to save me from a life of sin.  There is freedom in Him.  I just need to grasp that freedom.

In closing, I love section from James MacDonald, found here:

I know what you might be thinking. If I’m dead to sin, why do I feel so alive to it? Dead is the last word most of us would use to describe our experience with sin. Forgiven, maybe. Or cleansed—even changing. But dead?

First consider what dead to sin does not mean. It doesn’t mean sinless perfection or that our old nature is gone. And it doesn’t mean we’ve merely identified theoretically with the death of Christ.

It means that because Christ died in our place, we are dead to the power of sin. It’s as if we used to live in an apartment with an awful landlord who would burst in whenever he wanted, but now we’ve moved to a new apartment with a new landlord. We have new locks; we owe the former landlord nothing. He can’t get into our new apartment unless we open the door and invite him in.

Unfortunately, some Christians still open that door and listen to the old landlord. But he’s no longer in control. In Christ, the power of sin is broken and defeated. Sin is not in charge. You have a new Master.

Praying for my Husband

Several years ago I purchased The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian at the Goodwill and it was one of the best purchases I’ve made.  I love this book.  It helps me direct my prayers for my husband and each prayer is so personal and powerful.

I especially loved today’s prayer that started more for me than my husband:

“God, I proclaim You Lord over my life.  Help me to seek You first every day and set my priorities in perfect order.  Reveal to me how to properly put my husband before children, work, family, friends, activities and interests.  Show me what I can do right now to demonstrate to him that he has this position in my heart.  Mend the times I have caused him to doubt that.  Tell me now to prioritize everything so that whatever steals life away, or has no lasting purpose, will not occupy my time.”

This is my prayer for today – and hopefully every day.  I want to prioritize everything in the order it should go and keep my time and energy focused on what matters most.

P.S. One slightly embarrassing, though related, side-note:  when I was a kid we had Stormie Omartian “Exercise for Life” workout tapes.  Not VHS tapes.  Actual cassette player tapes.  I’d get my leg warmers on and do these tapes every day.  I found a YouTube copy of the cassette.  Just listing to this 80’s Christian techno makes we want to workout!

 

Times of Refreshing

When I started this journey – and shortly after started this blog – my intention was to become like Mary.  To sit at the foot of Jesus and focus my energy and attention on what mattered most.  My walk with Jesus.  My husband.  My kids.  Serving others.  Loving others.

A year and a half ago I told all my clients I was quitting – shutting down that chapter of my life to find a new pace where I could be more balanced.  I felt strongly that God was leading me every step of the way.

But I still need to pay bills.  I still needed income.  The doors of another job opportunity opened and I walked through those doors.  I prayed for God to open the doors and they opened.  I never felt 100% peace in the decision . . . but I felt 90% peace.  And the doors were wide opened.  So I walked in.

It wasn’t a good fit.

So, why did the doors open?  I am not sure.  Maybe God wanted me there for a short season. Maybe it was to teach me once again that my “career” doesn’t define me.  That I need to find my definition in Christ.  Maybe it was to teach me to wait on Him.

Now that I have quit that job I can see even more clearly the importance of being still with God.  Listening for His voice.  And experiencing His refreshing.  And once again to focus on the things that matter most.

Acts 3:19:  Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord (NIV)

Today’s Reading:

  • Joshua 13
  •  Joshua 14
  •  Acts 3:11-26
  •  Psalms 43

Book Review -Homegoing

I just finished reading Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.  Five star book.

Image result for yaa gyasi homegoing

Homegoing is Historical Fiction that traces the family lines of two half-sisters who never met, but at one point were both in the same “castle” – a slave castle in Ghana.  One sister was a slave in the dungeon, soon to board a ship and travel to the United States.  The other sister lived above, married to one of the men who ran the castle and sold the slaves.

(These slave “castles” still exist on the Coast of Ghana.  A picture of a slave cell is below, from the article Ghana’s Slave Castles: The Shocking Story of the Ghanaian Cape Coast)

Interior of Slave Cells - St. George's Castle - Elmina - Ghana © Adam Jones Interior of Slave Cells – St. George’s Castle – Elmina – Ghana © Adam Jones

Each chapter tells the story of one of the characters in the family line.  On one side the family tree travels in the United States from the cotton fields and coal mines in the South to jazz in Harlem in the North. The other side of the family experiences the turmoil of slavery, tribal wars and colonization in Africa.

The scars of slavery and loss run deep through both sides of the family tree, leaving a lasting imprint on each of the limbs.

Beautifully written.  Each character is fully developed in only one chapter and themes of scars, fire, water, fear and trees run through the books.

Reading the book made me long for Africa and cringe at the pain that humans have inflicted on other humans through all of humanity.

My favorite take away from the book is the name of the book that the character Yaw Agyekum wrote:  “The Ruin of a Nation Begins in the Homes of Its People,” which was based on an Asante proverb.

There is great truth in those words.

 

 

 

 

 

Why Do Bad Things Happen?

I am hoping to take a family trip to California this summer and have started researching locations to visit, places to stay and things to do.  In the midst of researching stops along the Pacific Coast Highway, one of the travel videos mentioned Reality Church, which peaked my interest and I started following a Google, YouTube and Vimeo trail which eventually led to blogs and videos about Daisy Love Merrick.

And then I found this video by her dad:  When Sparrows Fall.

Wow.  So beautiful and such a powerful message; not about the question of why there is suffering in the world, but about who is with us in our suffering.

For anyone questioning suffering, for anyone battling depression or anyone searching for God in the midst of pain, I highly recommend this sermon.  And also recommend watching Daisy’s memorial service (though keep a box of tissues close by).

Daisy, thank you for your faith and for keeping your eyes on Jesus.  I look forward to meeting you someday and seeing the awesome things you are now experiencing.

Britt, thank you for your transparency and the reminder of the questions we should be asking when faced with difficult circumstances.

And God, thank you for grace.  And for your presence.

 

 

Resolutions

Dear Readers,

Happy 2017!

 

This year we did resolutions following this tip I had seen on CNBC:  A career coach suggested drawing/mapping your goals rather than writing a list.

My children, husband and I sat day on New Year’s day with big sheets of paper, markers, crayons and pens and went to work.

It was a fun project – especially to see what our kids said.  Everything from improving grades to making new friends to being nice.  And our youngest had some great artwork to add as well.

Some of my resolutions:

  • Put our House on the Market (Minimize and Cut Spending)
  • Monthly Date Night (Marriage)
  • Read a Nightly Devotional with my Girls (Parenting)
  • Explore Guest Blogging
  • Read Through the Bible in 2017 (Time with Jesus)

What are you resolutions?  Or do you have any creative ways to creating goals and tracking them?

 

 

 

Reading Through the Bible – 2017

In 2016 I read through the Bible in a year.  And I highly recommend it.  Without a goal and direction I find myself aimlessness reading random verses . . . which often leads me to get out of the habit of reading.  With a challenge of finishing in the year I have motivation to stay on track because I know what happens if I miss too many days.

Last year I used the Life Journal Reading Plan on YouVersion app or Bible.com.

This year I’m using the same platform, but using the BIBLE in a year plan.  So far it seems like a little less reading than last year.  The daily reading includes passages from the Old Testament and New Testament everyday and a chapter from Psalms or Proverbs every second day.

In addition to reading the Bible, I use the SOAP method:

  • Scripture Reading
  • Observation
  • Application
  • Prayer

Without using the SOAP method I tend to read . . . and then quickly forget what I read.  The SOAP method helps me to retain and think on a deeper level about what I read.

I’ll also be using this blog to track some of my Observations and Applications.

And of course, if you would be willing to join me in this challenge it will help keep me motivated and we can discuss what we are learning together!