Thursday, September 29, 2011

More Thoughts on Anger.

(If you've not read my other posts on anger, you can catch up HERE)
I finished my book on anger ("She's Gonna Blow" by Julie Ann Barnhill). I loved it. At times I wanted to laugh along with her. At times I wanted to cry because she stepped on too many toes. And overall I was encouraged. Encouraged because I felt like she wrote about things that I think all the time. Encouraged because now I know that I'm not the only mom who feels this way. Encouraged because she reminded me that this doesn't have to be my story. I don't have to be an angry mom. My outbursts don't define who I am; God does. And He makes EVERYTHING beautiful.

One of the biggest things I walked away from the book with is the fact that anger is secondary. Most times, anger is not the root of the problem... it tends to stem from something deeper. She addressed this at the beginning of the book, and throughout my readings I really started questioning WHY I get angry with my kids (and let's be honest, Drew gets a good blow up too sometimes). I really soul searched, and in that searching, I came up with these 3 things that I think really are the core to WHY I am "errupting" (as Barnhill calls it).
  • I'm impatient. Ask my husband, ask my close friends, ask the guy in front of me in the check out counter or behind me in traffic, I'm a VERY impatient person. It's not something I am proud of, it's something I recognize, and it's something that honestly I think I will struggle with until I bow at Jesus' feet. What's ironic is that for the past year I've been praying that God would grant me patience. The problem with asking God things like that is that he tends to give you homework, not just the answer to the problem. And my homework has been my kids :) 
  • I'm a perfectionist. This is one of those double edged swords in life. It means that as a type-A personality, I will work my hardest, try my best and want nothing but the best for everything I do. This also means that I will run myself ragged in my pursuit of perfection (which is vain to begin with, knowing that Christ was/is the only TRUE perfection this side of Heaven). This means I make my expectations of myself close to unattainable, it means I set my kids and husband up for failure, and all in all results in a big mess. Something Michelle Duggar said to us this past summer in our bible study was that we needed to let go of our rights. It's a fill in the blank. What do you feel like you have a right to? For me, I felt like I had a right for a clean house. This partly stemmed from my perfectionistic ways I think. And kids has changed that. I don't have to have (nor could I have even if I tried) a 100% clean house. It's just part of life. I don't have to be a super made up mom. It's where I'm at in life and I'm ok with that. One day I'll be able to shower more regularly and always wear makeup... for now, t-shirts and jeans are my friends :) I think the other thing I struggle with is how my kids act. I hate it when Brayden seems unruly in public. HATE it. But I think that I hate it MORE because of what I think people are thinking of me when everything is unraveling than the fact that he's unruly. A little skewed, I know, but it goes through my head.
  • I'm a control freak. This is probably the biggest thing, and if I had to say what accounts for 90% of the reasons I get angry and blow up. I am a control freak. I want to feel in control. I'm a planner... I like to know what's going on, what's happening and hate having any suspense or surprise in my life. If you have kids, you'll know what I mean when I say that being a parent is like a treasure hunt every minute. Life before kids was fairly predictable. Life with kids is far from it. YOu don't know when they'll wake up, if they'll like their breakfast, what they'll want to wear, if they'll be in a good mood or a bad mood, if they'll take a nap, or if they won't, if they'll choose to obey or if they won't. Just writing that sentence kind of made me tense. It bothers me so much that I can't control my kid. But that's the beauty in parenting. Realizing that we're not in control, and releasing that life to God. When I take a step back I realize that God doesn't want us to control our kids; if he did, I think he'd have made it a little easier for us to do it, don't you? The thing I CAN control is ME. I can control my attitude, I can control what I am giving to my kids as an environment. I need to release, and let God do the rest. The problem with that, obviously, is that it's easier said than done. 
SO... I "figured" this all out. What does it mean? It means that I am a broken person. That I need Jesus just as much as any other person on this earth. It means that I have a LOOONG way to go... but don't we all? I think it's a start. I think if anything that reading "She's Gonna Blow" made me take a realistic step back from my situation and look at myself long and hard, to dig to the bottom so that I can get back on top. The bottom line is that I love both of my boys (and Drew) fiercely. I want the BEST marriage I can have, and being the best wife will make that happen. I want to be the best mom. I don't want my boys to look back and remember their childhood with a mom who flys off the handle about every little nuance. I want them to remember the fun times at the park, the times we played tickle wars in the living room, and the times that I just sat and snuggled with them on the couch. Life's too short to be impatient about: spilled milk, spitting up, soap being squirted all over the bathroom, poop being smeared on the door handles (yes, it's happened)...... it happens. I need to accept that it happens and realize that in just a few short years it will all be a distant memory that oddly enough, I'll want back. I should note that me realizing all of this doesn't mean that things have miraculously gotten better overnight. I still blow... in fact, this afternoon had it's fair share of blow ups. But I see light. I see the moments where I am able to breath deeply and realize that me blowing up only makes the situation worse, and doesn't leave the fingerprint of a gracious Savior on the little lives around me. I heard a great quote today on the trailer for the new movie Courageous. The dad was talking to his son and he said "I know I didn't start well... but I want to finish well." That quote sums up where I'm at right now. I know that my start has had it's fair share of bumps and hiccups, but my intention is to finish well. Here's to finishing well...

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