Everyone should be quick to listen. Slow to speak. Slow to become angry.
This verse from the first chapter of James was the basis of my husband’s message this week. I wrote this short blog about this verse a while ago, but thought I would share it here. Let me know your thoughts!
I used to be very calm, peaceful. People say I’m very patient. They say things like “Wow, you were meant to be a kindergarten teacher because you’re so patient with those kids.” But in my heart, I have drifted from that person.
I have noticed that my reactions have changed. I am so much faster to anger. It started out yelling at my dog (Well, he IS naughty!), and then I was quicker to burst out at my kids or husband. It was touching every area of my life.
It was definitely a change in my mind more than outward reactions. I was not yelling like a crazy person, I did not hit or do anything physical. But I was having a harder time holding my tongue. I was thinking angry, mean, frustrated thoughts about petty, trivial, and un-worthy things.
This is not a “learn from me, I have figured it out” post. This is a “to be continued” post, because I am in progress with this. I am praying for God to help my reactions be filled with the fruit of the spirit that is already in me (Galatians). I want to be a woman who is “clothed in strength and dignity” (Proverbs) with a “quiet and gentle spirit” (1 Peter).
Since writing this post about being “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry,” I have felt the Lord changing my heart in this area. It has been a slow change.
It started with realizing my triggers.
I noticed that I would begin to lose my temper in certain situations more than others. I would get frustrated when I was tired, when things were loud, or when I felt stuck. I began to notice patterns in my triggers. It was like God was whispering in my ear, “How will you react? Pay attention to your thoughts.”
Next, I changed my outburst to prayer.
In that moment, I started taking a deep breath and just praying, “God help me now.” And that’s it! Nothing fancy. And, of course, he did help me!
I focused on the bigger perspective.
There are very few things in this life that warrant actual anger, on a day to day situation. I am trying to look at the bigger picture. To think about the long-term.
I feel like God put that verse on my mind as a lens or a filter, and now every reaction I have, I see it in a new way. I pray that we can all become more adept at listening and being slow to anger, with God’s help.