Lately, I’ve just been overwhelmed with obscure emotion. I can’t put my finger on it. I’m overly sensitive to the things of God….brink of tears sensitive. So odd. Call it hormones…call it conviction. I don’t know. But it’s as real as it is vague.
It all started early yesterday morning. Upon wakening. I woke to spend time with the Lord and I just felt as if I could cry. And I’m not an easy cry-er. I sense the Holy Spirit about to do some cleaning out. I just know He is. And I think I know what its all about.
Every so often when I am praying, I will ask Psalm 139:23-24 of the Lord…
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts, see if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.”
I prayed, “Lord, I want to move forward into this summer, repenting, clean and open to healing.” Even as I wrote those words in my journal, I thought – “Becky…you know what happens when you pray like this.” Exposure.
And I was right.
So I proceeded on to the book of Proverbs – my summertime campground. The twelve week series is a study on Godly Communicating. Boy, do I ever have “some offensive way in me” there.
Yesterday’s verse penetrated soul deep -” judging the thoughts and attitude of my heart”. Hebrews 4:12
And it hurt.
Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man. Do not associate with one easily angered or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared. Proverbs 22:24,25
I come from a long line of hot-tempers. I’ve confessed before that my tongue can be quick and very sharp. I learned from the best. My mom was as sassy as she was classy. She sure had a way with words. As a child, I remember fearing those hot-tempered words. A memory I do not want to pass down to my own children.
Whenever the Bible says, “DO NOT” – my ears perk up. Very black and white. Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man. Wow. When I read that I thought, there are days that I would not let my kids be friends with me! “Love me, yes. Befriend me, no.”
The Greek word for hot-tempered is chemah. Not so surprisingly, it is a feminine noun. Go figure 🙂
Chemah means heat, rage, hot displeasure, wrath, burning anger.
Off the top of my head I can think of three recent examples this week that I have expressed “hot displeasure” towards my kids. Burning anger. It is in this quick, angered moment my voice transitions from ‘raised’ to a ‘full-out yell.’
And there lies my biggest stronghold – yelling.
I strongly, strongly believe that I should not yell at my children. Stern voice. Yes. Loud volume. Sure. But yelling is a reactive response. Not a controlled one. In a hot-tempered yelling moment, I give all control away. My kids own me. My flesh owns me. I do not want to be a reactive disciplinarian.
I long to shepherd their hearts.
The Good Shepherd does not stand ahead of the flock, whip in hand, yelling, “Get on up here! Don’t stop to eat grass! Pick up the pace! No baa-ing!” Nope. He walks beside them. Patient. Graceful. Directing.
I grieve this issue of mine. Not only because, in those moments, I am not living life to the full (John 10:10), but because my children “may learn [my] ways and get [themselves] ensnared.” Ugh. Knife in my chest.
I try to picture what it would look like if Brent were to talk to me in the same tone that I yell at my children. My heart would shatter. Or if my kids talked to me like I sometimes respond to them. Immediate discipline. I would never allow it. So why do I do it?! Why can I not control my urge to yell?
1. I was raised by yellers, therefore I am a yeller.
2. My hormones are just raging and I can’t help it.
These are my go-to answers. Not very good ones. But I have to blame somebody, right? Well, the Lord has two things to say about that.
1. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone and the new has come. 1 Corinthians 5:17 If I REALLY believe that I am a new creation (and I do) then I need to start claiming that over every crevasse of my being. Yes, maybe my mom was a yeller…but I am (a) not my mom and (b) the old has gone – I am new.
2. But I say, live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. Galatians 5:16 I am not called to live by my emotions….I am called to live in the power of the Holy Spirit. Yes, hormones are very real and can cause a lot of problems, but the Holy Spirit is more powerful still. The Word says if I am living by the Spirit I will not gratify my hot-tempered desires to reactively yell at my children.
Gratifying this desire is sin. Period.
So….what do I do?
I choose in that millisecond of inner rage. I choose – “am I going to live by my fleshly sinful nature OR am I going to live by the Spirit. Am I going to respond as a shepherd or as a lion tamer?
If my kids are watching my every move, they will learn both the good and the bad. I want them to see Christ at work. When I mess up, yell, react, etc…I want them to see the transforming power of the Lord at work in me. I want them to see me repent, asking God’s forgiveness. Asking their forgiveness. I do not want them to become ensnared.
Lord, help me with this. I love my kids so deeply. This sin is so amplified right now. I want rid of it. I know I will have opportunity to exercise this spiritual discipline today. I pray I will be nudged by your Holy Spirit every time to choose well. To die to my flesh and live. Thank you for your compassion and grace towards me. I ask you for healing for myself and anyone else who is reading and struggles with the same.
Teach me, more and more, how to lovingly shepherd my children’s heart towards you. Amen.