Ever since I was a small child; I received the label “dynamite in a small package”. Wearing my heart on my sleeve has always been the perfect storm for emotional havoc. Which either turned into pummeling sorrow or ignited rage usually converting into a tornado of both.
Thankfully my temperament hasn’t landed me in any serious trouble yet besides getting my feelings hurt. As a teenager, I took pride in being called dynamite especially being petite. Having a big attitude made up for my small size in my mind. Experiencing at a young age being bullied, taken advantage of and merely just being looked over due to my size and age. I adapted a rough around the edges mentality.
If you have read some of my other blog posts, I have expressed becoming a Mother made an universal impact on who I was and am today as well as who I am still growing to be. Knowing that my daughter is watching my every move learning how to become a person and woman; it is predominant I grasp self-control to handle any issue thrown at me.
Recently, there was a misunderstanding between a co-worker and myself. She disagreed with how someone I knew handled a situation resulting in a report being made. Even though the report was not made against myself due to no involvement on my part; this still created a impact on me. We were both told not to speak about the issue within the office. I agreed and continued on in a professional and polite manner even with knowing she was the one who made the report.
She on the other hand, did not. Over the course of a few weeks, I received attitude, disrespect and snarky comments. I made a report. After our holiday break, the issue still continued. Originally I loved my place of employment and do not get me wrong, I still do. However this situation was making the environment extremely difficult to perform in.
Everyday holding my tongue became almost impossible in response to the snarky comments. I was reminded that it was hard to dislike someone you are praying for. To be completely honest; my prayer looked along the lines of “Lord, get ahold of her before I do”. I was beginning to feel provoked and irritated.
There was this Tug Of War in my heart, soul and mind over self-control. Being transparent here, it took literally everything in me and the grace of God showing signs to remain quiet. The urge to “tell her about herself” was almost unavoidable.
A few years ago, I would undoubtedly absolutely lost my temper. More then likely cursing her out and possibly walking out of my place of work. Trust me, the tug of war between losing my temper and self-control was grueling. Going back and forth between; “I am going to put her in her place”, to “Kill her with Kindness”, to “She’s got one more time..”, to “Give it God, Give it to God”.
Association is interesting. I was being treated unfairly due to who I associated with and the misunderstanding tied to the association. Management, and Human Resources saw no tie to me with the situation. I did not get reprimanded and it was to be dropped.
Doing my best to remain cordial and pray for her when my blood was boiling over. The Lord would give me some peace and remind me of a few things in my spirit.
The Fruit of the Spirit
We have already touched on self-control some. Exercising it, there was this mental, emotional and even spiritual war processing it. You could say, I could become a little impulsive during my fight or flight mode. Self-control has been one the most challenging flaws that God is working on me with. Although, self-control goes hand in hand with everything else too. It’s a Core action. You either make the choice to have control or you don’t. Then there is the domino effect when you no longer have control.
Losing control and anger is connected to fear more then we realize. As I am praying to God, he reminded me of two main scriptures.
1.”God did not give us a spirit that makes us afraid but a spirit of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7
2.“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry…” Ephesians 4:26
I am not completely aware of what exactly I feared in this situation, possibly losing my job or image. 2 Timothy 1:7 (which happens to be my all time favorite scripture) showed me that I had power over this situation through God by utilizing self-control and love. Next, we can look at Ephesians 4:26. There is a misconception that feeling angry is a sin. Having to learn myself, that it isn’t. It’s how you handle the anger on whether or not it turns to sin. Vague but powerful.
The Fruit of The Spirit
One of the main questions that came to mind through this experience was; “how should I handle my anger with this situation?” Surely I wasn’t suppose to just take the disrespect. With every snarky comment, a flame of agitation was ignited. Right before the fumes exploded, the Lord’s small, still voice instructed me to be kind. I did not want to do that. I felt as if I was being weak by not putting her in her place.
Again, praying (more like venting) to God feeling very frustrated, not wanting to stand for the disrespect. Wondering how I am suppose to handle this in God’s Image. Well God answered me with The Fruit of the Spirit. Made sense but I was reluctant to be the least bit loving, forbearing, kind, gentle or have any form of self- control from holding my tongue any longer. She was in fact not a joy to be around or providing any peace. But I knew I had to be obedient. Staying quiet was a struggle, these three scriptures as well spoke to my spirit on how to handle this situation.
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires” James 1:19-20
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1
There is a common dominator that each of the other two share. That is obedience. Through the situation; I had to remain obedient to God when I knew I was being instructed to remain quiet and when to speak up in the right way to the right people.
I was being pulled back and forth between hate and peace. I pushed through and stood firm in my obedience knowing that flying off the handle would only making things worse on me. I trusted God, ultimately I wanted peace in my environment and validation. No one wants to feel like they have a huge bulls eye on them especially being the newbie.
With staying obedient, I received way greater results then bringing my own self down would have done.
Coming from someone that has always had a temper. Living my the fight and/or flight mode. Self-control and obedience can become a blur. Lost in the rage and wrongdoing. Don’t let this steal your joy. Instead use it to build your character. Allow God to use it as eye opener for you! He is the only person that can see or change your or the other person’s heart. And if you trust him he will give you the desires of your heart. With any confrontation; the main desire is Peace. Let him handle them, you handle you and God will handle you both.
Remaining quiet, exercising self-control and obedience can be uncomfortable. You want to right the wrong. However, God cares more about your character then he does about your comfort – Unknown. That may seem harsh but it is the truth. You can not grow or especially show God’s love through you if you haven’t allowed your trials to grow your character!
So, do yourself a favor and cut the rope that is tugging back and forth that is creating distress. Put them and the situation in God’s hands.