Anyone feel like the tension in your home is so thick you could cut it with a knife? People be all testy after spending this much time together. Everyone’s on edge. Little things annoy the snot out of you and you’re like one loud chew of that sandwich away from slapping someone with it!
How many arguments broke out in your house yesterday? Any slammed doors or mad stomping off to get no further than 10 feet apart because no one can go anywhere?
I remember the days when all 3 of my kids were in that “alien came and snatched my baby” stage. The stage of 12-14 years old when you understand why some animals eat their young. Overnight my sweet boy turned into the most disgruntled, difficult, defiant ball of raging anger at 13. And my girls … oh mercy! I shiver at the thought of the daily drama. And all of this was without a lock down!
So, my heart goes out to the families going through tough stages of life right now. Now, when there’s no escape. Now, when there’s no where to go. Now, when the house seems entirely too small for all these attitudes to fit under one roof.
To all the mamas who lost their crap yesterday… To all the households who came to blows and a few doors are barely hanging on the hinges. To all the couples who are annoyed by the sound of the other one breathing now … this devotional is for you.
James 1: 19-20 “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”
In the words of a wise little boy, “Listen Linda.”
Listen first. It’s always our mouth that gets us in trouble. I’ve never seen a fight break out when both parties are just listening. Listen, don’t speak.
Your theme song for the day is the old 90’s hit from Gwen Stefani in No Doubt, “Don’t Speak”.
Don’t speak, I know just what you’re sayin’
So please stop explainin’
Don’t tell me ’cause it hurts
Don’t speak, I know what you’re thinkin’
I don’t need your reasons
Don’t tell me ’cause it hurts
Would there be more peace in your home today if you said half of what you said yesterday? If you would just zip your lips, bite your tongue and stop the incessant flow of words spewing from your mouth? Don’t speak.
You control one person in your house. One. That one person is you. And you are the person who can change the atmosphere today. How? Simply by listening more, speaking less, and letting anger be your very last emotion.
How quick are you to jump to anger? Can you go from chill-lax to fire breathing dragon in 2.0 seconds? Has that ever helped anything? Like ever?
So how about we try something different?
Girl, put the crazy eyes away for a day.
Scripture is clear, your anger isn’t producing what God desires in your life. God’s desire for you is righteousness. Now, don’t get confused and think that means you climb up on your high horse and toot your horn of always being right.
Quite the opposite, righteousness looks more like mercy and loving kindness.
Oh yes, this can be your guide for navigating the minefield that has become your home. One wrong step, and we have a massive explosion, so let’s not be stepping wrong today sisters.
Let’s be quick to listen and slow to speak. As you listen, instead of formulating your snappy comeback in your head or squinting your eyes in the look that could kill something dead, repeat to yourself “mercy with loving kindness”.
Mercy with loving kindness.
She needs my mercy with loving kindness. He doesn’t need my anger, he needs my mercy with loving kindness. This is what god desires of me. Mercy with loving kindness.
How can I show this sassy little beast with a raging attitude mercy with loving kindness? I know you’re thinking “but I’m the mom around here … ” Yes, you are. And she can learn more through your calm and loving response than she ever could your crazed yelling.
If you want her to see what she’s doing wrong, stop giving her an out of control reaction to focus on. Her attention will never go off your craziness onto how she can behave better if you keep giving her ammunition. If your response is calm and kind (that doesn’t mean a complete pushover with no backbone) but delivered with love, she’ll only have her own issue to focus on, instead of yours.
I’m certainly grateful God never responded to my ridiculousness with an impulsive, anger filled over-reaction. I would have never survived my early 30’s because I was ridiculous. I was selfish. I was ungrateful. I was prideful. And yet God’s response to me was always merciful with loving kindness.
Hasn’t he shown you the same?
Now shouldn’t we offer this to our families?
God, show me how I can respond with mercy and loving kindness today instead of anger. Teach me to be quick to listen and slow to speak. Help me control my anger and put it on the back burner as my last emotion.
Let today be different.
You lead the way.
God has called you to change the atmosphere.
He has empowered you to go first.