Saturday, February 1, 2014

Weekly Impressions - Lack of Control

It never ceases to amaze me how wisdom can seem foolish in the heat of the moment.  I struggled fiercely with anger yesterday.  

Little Man was not a happy camper; between his whiny disobedience and plethora of drool, we decided he must be teething.  Nevertheless, I watched my son in the morning while my husband did his homework, and we went to my in-laws’ to put the little man down for his afternoon nap.  He didn’t sleep long, and was already a tired mommy.

Usually, my mom-in-law makes dinner, but she was gone on a women’s retreat, so it was up to some one of the rest of us to cook the tri-tip.  I noticed at 5:00 p.m. that the barbecue hadn’t been lit, and mentioned that it would be good to do so.  It took a bit of banter before someone went and lit it.  At 5:30 p.m. I had finally realized that I needed to feed my little man (he doesn’t always recognize when he’s hungry), and that should relieve at least some of the whininess.  However, I also realized that it was time (or past) for someone to put the meat on.  I said as much, but no one moved.

After a few minutes of trying to sate my son’s unrealized appetite, and no one attending to dinner, I finally took it upon myself to go out and tend the coals and put the meat on.  I had never done this for a tri-tip before, and I was still simultaneously trying to feed my son dinner, while my husband continued his homework.

When my husband realized what I was doing, he stopped me from putting the meat on, and asked why I was in such a hurry to do it right then.  My brother-in-law (who had been listening to me, but didn’t know how to tend the tri-tip) told my husband that the coals were ready, and it was right now or wait awhile.  My husband came out and tried to get the coals the way he wanted them, but they had already burned down too much.  We had to wait for more coals.

I was hungry, tired, and not a little upset.  My husband calmly told me that I was in a state of overreaction.  After a few minutes of seething as I still tried to feed my son, I asked my husband if I could go have a quiet time.  He assented to care for the little man.

As I rocked in the nursery’s chair, I thought about events and what had led up to this moment.  I knew I was angry and frustrated, but as I sat there, I realized that I was very angry.  I have learned that it helps during those moments to think of events in terms of sin.  What sin(s) had my husband committed against me - and, more importantly, what sin(s) had I committed against others?

That took some serious thinking.  It was possible that my husband was being selfish, but I certainly couldn’t pick out anything that definitely pointed to it.  No, the issue was with me.  I knew that my anger - or at the very least, its severity - was sinful.  After more thought, I realized that I was upset not because of what my husband had or hadn’t done, but because there was no control in the situation.  I didn’t have control, and neither did my husband, and I have the tendency to stress out when that happens.

I was tired and hungry and there hadn’t been any real plan for how dinner was going to be cooked.  I could have left it there - my feelings certainly wanted me to lay that at my husband’s feet (quite possibly in accusation) - but it was no less my fault that I was angry.

The battle between my fleshly desires and my desire to please God had quite the war over that.  I knew that I was wrong and unjustified, yet I didn’t care.  I wanted to be angry.  And yet, at the same time, I could see how foolish that was, and was saddened at my foolishness.  The verse, “Cease striving, and know that I am God” came to mind (Psalm 46:10).  The NIV translates the first two words as “Be still.”  To take control of my angry thoughts and feelings, it actually helps quite a bit to be still.  I stopped rocking, and worked to concentrate my thoughts upon God.  He is in control.

The Lord finally won me over, and I confessed to Him and repented by laying control of the situation in His hands.  I certainly didn’t know any better than He did, and my attempts to control the situation had been thwarted by my husband, whom God had appointed as my leader.  I would follow my husband, and thus, follow God.  This step toward humility did a great deal for my anger, though the residual feelings took some time to dissipate and turn toward peace.  Christ had, however, given me peace.

I am thankful for the Lord’s work in me, and that He has given my husband to me as my leader.  I pray that I might take my thoughts “…captive to the obedience of Christ…” (2 Corinthians 10:5) sooner when next I notice a “lack” of control.  God is always in control - and that, for the good of His children (Romans 8:28).

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