Before our Superbowl party, the kids and I went to church. As always, after I have a day where my behavior is less than I'd like it to be, I was struggling with how seriously imperfect and screwed up I am. I was beating myself up and agonizing over how horrible a parent I am. So, lo and behold, the sermon topic was on anger. Perfect. I have known for quite awhile that I have some bottled up anger that causes me to fly off the handle about things that really don't matter - things that really don't bother me, but are symptoms of my underlying frustration. It has also frustrated me for a long time that I really don't know what I'm mad about. I don't know where this anger comes from.... So, sitting in the chair before church started, I prayed for God to really show me what was going on so that I could be freed from it.
Long story short, the pastor talked about how anger is not bad in and of itself, it is our reaction that can be a problem. The Bible even says, "In your anger, do not sin" (Eph. 4:26). So it is understood that we will feel angry, the point is to not hurt people with our response to anger. Even Jesus got angry. But I digress.. Acknowledging that I am angry and that this isn't a bad thing was helpful, but it wasn't enough. I still wanted to understand why I was feeling angry and what I could do about it.
Another thing that I've long known is that anger is often a product of pain or fear. Pastor touched on this as well.... So I began to consider what I may be hurt about or afraid of. I'm afraid of a lot of things. And getting hurt is one of them, coincidentally. I began to pray for God to open my eyes to what was really going on and for Him to begin the healing process. I don't want to be an angry mom or an angry person. I could never have imagined myself with an anger issue when I thought about my future and yet, here I am.
In high school, I don't ever remember being angry or lashing out. And I also didn't ever really have an issue with self-esteem. Yet now, I struggle with both of these. Why? Obviously, a lot has changed about life in the past 15 years, but what could have caused these struggles? And why am I still having such a hard time with them, even though I've worked and worked to overcome them??? So, here I am, thinking about what could have possibly have triggered such a dramatic change in personality. I know that the change was not overnight, and so the healing will also not be an overnight process but I still long for that person I was. And for understanding about how I came to be here.
I'm discouraged about how down on myself I get simply because I do let my anger get the better of me and because at time, I'm totally overcome with fear. I feel guilty about how my personality and my choices are affecting those who are most precious in my life. I know that Lowell would love for me to be the girl he married... And I guarantee that my children would rather I not be so cranky at times. I highly doubt that getting angry at myself or spending time regretting the times that I screw up helps the situation at all, but I can't seem to help it. I just wish I were fixed!!!
I also get frustrated because I know that God has placed me in this position as mom, wife, church volunteer and working woman because He wants to use me. And then I think about all the times that I'm a less-than-ideal role model, or when I'm just a crappy person - not to mention a bad representative of His love... This morning on the way to work, I was trying to keep my mind focused and not allow it to run away with my fearful, anxious thoughts and I heard a song that reminded me that God doesn't need me. His plan will come to fruition whether I screw up or not. He doesn't rely on me and I certainly can't mess things up for Him. He chooses to use me and also to use my failures - He doesn't need a perfect servant, only a willing one. Makes me feel a little better.
But I'd still like to stop screwing up.