Patience: an alternative to anger

My name is Heather and I often get angry.

“A proud person is often an angry person” (Stuart Scott).

Awesome. Another symptom of pride. Anger.  I’ve read several books on anger and never realized that the core disease of my anger may be my pride.

I don’t like when I get angry. It doesn’t look pretty. And the guilt after exploding from anger. One book that was helpful in dealing with the guilt of my anger was, “Good and Angry” by Turansky & Miller. Here is a quote from that book:

“Emotions are a part of God’s creation. He gave us emotions to be managed and used for His glory. ..but this doesn’t mean that the expression of those emotions or their frequency or intensity in our daily lives is appropriate. ..Instead of assuming anger is evil, we must view it as a misused asset and learn how to utilize it according to its design..”be slow to become angry (james 1:19)” and “In your anger do not sin (eph 4:26)”. Neither of these verses condemns anger outright. They call us to moderation.”

Whew. God created anger. However, instead of giving “full vent” (Prov 19:11) to my anger and hurting others/damaging relationships, I need to stop and evaluate why I am angry. Which leads to my favorite quote from that book:

                     “Anger is good for identifying problems                                       but not good for solving them.”

When I get angry I need to slow down for a second and think to myself, “what is making me angry?” Is it:

  • Physical pain–stub my toe, get hit on the head by my child
  • Blocked goals–trying to leave the house by 7:35 am and the 3 yr old took his coat off again. traffic.
  • Violated rights–when a 5 yr old is knocking on the bathroom door and I think “I have the right to go to the bathroom in peace.”
  • Unfairness–when I see a big brother picking on his baby brother
  • Unmet expectations–saying “I expected to arrive home from work to cook dinner, but instead i come home to this mess.”
  • An internal issue (unrealistic expectation that the 2-year-old can clean his toys by himself, selfishness in my heart when i’ve planned to much into my schedule, direct quote from book–”an overambitious desire to have a clean house while managing three children under the age of five!”)

Frequently my anger is directly related to my rights being violated or unmet expectations…the times when I am the center of my world.

What happens when I humble myself? If I put God in His rightful place in my life? Do have those same rights? Am I pushing MY agenda instead of seeking HIS? Does patience come more easily when I surrender my rights?

Patience. One of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23). Of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit.  Not fruit of my own will-power or strength. Only by God’s power through the Holy Spirit do I have access to true patience. forbearance. longsuffering.

Just like clothing myself in humility daily, that same verse calls me to clothe myself in patience daily (Col 3:12). The temptation to give full vent to my anger is present each day, requiring humility, laying down my rights, to achieve Spirit-filled patience.

 May we call on God to fill us with His Spirit each day. May we lay down our rights and expectations and have eyes for His plan for our day. May we use our emotions to help us identify problems instead of solve them. May our awareness of why we are angry help us to be more patient.

*This post is from the series “Symptoms of Self”. Read other posts in the series listed under the page with the same title. Or by searching by “symptom of self” topic.

** photo credit: kalavinka and turnbacktogod.com

***apparently I’m not alone…”moms with young children are the angriest Americans”.

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5 thoughts on “Patience: an alternative to anger

  1. Pingback: When you’re mad at God | Mending Hope

  2. Sweet Heather: I’m catching up on your blog and loving this series. What a great post about anger! I realize that I’m suffering from prideful anger is when I find myself saying, “I just wanted…” As in, “I just wanted to go the bathroom by myself” or “I just wanted to finish one task without interruption.” Thanks for the reminder to give up my “rights” and be filled with the Holy Spirit as I clothe myself in patience.

  3. Dear Heather, I’ve just discovered your blog, and I’m reading your posts on symptoms of self. I’m a mother of 3 boys and I do feel the same when I get angry. Your words – HIS words on patience just make me realize how I need His spirit to help me daily being more patient… Your blog is great! It takes me some time to read through all articles since I’m French, but thank you so much for sharing! God bless you!

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