13 September 2011

Cheat Sheet: Dealing with Impatience, Irritability & Frustration

Dear Lissy,

Impatient?  Irritable?  Frustrated? Angry?  Those emotions are "idiot lights" on the dashboard of life indicating a need for heart action.

Impatience = Pride

"...the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. Be not hasty in thy Spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools."  ~Ecc. 7:8,9

"But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy."  Jas. 3:17

We'd like to blame stress, fatigue, hunger, loneliness, discomfort, sickness, or pain for our own outbursts or those of our children, but Christ experienced all of those very human conditions without ever reacting in a sinful way. Phillipians 2:5-8 gives us a glimpse into His thought processes. 

Physical weakness doesn't change what's in our heart, it simply reveals it more quickly.  

"I've got a sinus infection -- I'm just not myself today!"  is a pitiful excuse for snapping at your brother who just sneezed Cheerios all over me.  I am more myself today in my pain and weakness than I have ever been.  Throughout Scripture God allowed physical trials to reveal either spiritual sin and immaturity or His glorious strength in His children.
God's tender care of Hagar & Ishmael is a "mountain top" in Scripture
The balance of that truth, however, is that God almost always met the physical needs of His children when dealing with their heart issues.  We don't lecture a cranky seven year old that was up all night with a stomach bug, we thank the Lord that He gave us a glimpse into the heart work that still needs to be done, and begin working in that area once our little one is healthy.  

 The fatigue and hunger preceding dinner is a dangerous time for my tongue.  I would love the luxury of a nap and a snack every day, but I know that a few moments with the Lord is what I really need.  That precious time is almost always accompanied by putting my feet up with a cup of iced coffee.  I need to attend to both the physical and the spiritual to renew myself for the evening rush.

Learning to identify impatience and irritability as pride and dealing with them accordingly is an important growth step for most women.  God delights in bringing us to the end of our physical abilities so that He can continue working on our hearts and display His glory and power in our lives as He changes us into the image of his dear Son.


P.S.  Keep in mind that for most women crying demonstrates anger or frustration more than true sorrow.  It's the male equivalent of a good left hook.

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  1. "Physical weakness doesn't change what's in our heart, it simply reveals it more quickly."

    "I am more myself today in my pain and weakness than I have ever been."

    Oh, this is a struggle for me. When I'm feeling extra tired or in pain, I want extra sympathy too. But I *know* God will give me extra grace to continue to be the woman he wants me to be. If I'll just accept it...

  2. Hi,
    I love your blog. Even though these letters are for your Lissy, I must say I'm learning a lot. btw, I'm a 35 yr old mom of two :-)!

    I must also add here that I'm from a different culture & religion. However I can totally connect my belief system to what you say, good deeds transcend these barriers & everyone can find meaning in them.

    Thanks for writing.