Thursday, February 11, 2016

giving up my anger

Oh, hello Lent!

I almost forgot you were here earlier today when I found a piece and candy in my coat pocket. I did a mental fist-pump, said "score" to myself and was just about to unwrap the little beauty before I remembered my resolve to mortify my flesh for 40 days by denying it the sweets it most constantly craves.

I've been indulging some pretty bad eating habits all in the name of Postpartum and Breastfeeding, and made a plan a few weeks ago to use Lent as an opportunity to reset. You see, my resolve to diet and lose weight is so weak that I can't manage it at all without the help of Catholic Guilt.

 But I know that Lenten Dieting is almost as bad as Missionary Dating (I tried that too once, and ended up being the one to convert. Oops!) so when I read Pope Francis's appeal to give up more than candy and booze I said, "don't worry Papa, I'm all over it."

You see, I've also been indulging in some pretty bad temper tantrums lately, all with the excuse that My Life Is Hard and I'm Entitled To Get Angry.

Example:

It takes me, no joke, 20 minutes to leave the house with my two children. Someone will invariably poop and require a new set of drawers. Then Johnny will have a freak out about getting his coat on because it means he has to put down his car for 2 seconds. Then Johnny will poke Trixie in the face while I'm getting my coat on and she will need some comforting.  Then I will realize there are no diapers in the diaper bag. Then I can't find my keys. All the while the decibel level of my voice is soaring to new heights as I give vent to my frustrations.

And I deserve to get mad.

When Trixie is on her fifth night feeding, I deserve to get mad.

When my husband has to study all day Saturday and Sunday, I deserve to get mad.

When Johnny refuses to nap, I really deserve to get mad.

And you know what? I like getting mad.  I like my righteous indignation because it makes me feel like I am the victim, I'm the one who deserves justice, I'm right when everyone else in the world is wrong. And I'm going to get angry about it. What else could I do? NOT get angry?

Actually, I've known for a long time that I need to not get angry. That instead of giving into anger I need to practice the fruits of the Spirit. I've even had a little note card with the fruits of the Spirit printed on it hanging on my bathroom mirror for, oh I don't know, about a year. Needless to say, I still need some work.



So for Lent I am giving up my anger. And like a gentle "yes, this is good" from the Holy Spirit, I read these words in yesterday's first reading.

"Rend your hearts, not your garments,
and return to the LORD, your God.
For gracious and merciful is he,
slow to anger, rich in kindness,
and relenting in punishment."

How patient and slow to anger has the Lord been with me? I am called to do the same with those around me, starting with my own family.

Anyone else feeling the need to give up more than candy and booze?

//

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13 comments:

  1. I'm trying to give up procrastination & serve my family more. (especially serving in secret!) It's so easy to ignore the lunch dishes or the dirty diaper that needs a rinse... "Maybe I can ask my husband to help me in an hour when he gets home. I just want to sit a minute." Instead, how much better and more peaceful would it feel if I just did it right away? It's hard!

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    1. Yes! to serving in secret. That is so hard, but so good!

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  2. Isn't it amazing how fast Lent creeps up on you!? It still feels like Advent to me, lol...wishing you a blessed, holy Lent!

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  3. I get mad for all the same reasons. Oy. Yes, patience is something I am working on this Lent, and my ear infected baby is really pushing things already!

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  4. Yes!!! This is exactly what I needed to read after two especially trying days, during which I did not do a good job of being slow to anger. I am trying to do the same thing, giving up anger (along with sweets), and so far failing miserably… So good to read this tonight :)

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    1. Haha, Amy, I've been failing a bit too. Maybe we can pray for each other this lent!!

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  5. Thanks for sharing this, Anna! I'm guilty of plenty of embarrassing temper tantrums. "Slow to Anger" -- I definitely need to pray more about imitating that particular attribute of God. Thanks for the reminder :)

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  6. Oh yes... giving up anger is my lenten resolution too. I didn't try giving up sweets at the same time though, because I felt staring at a piece of chocolate I couldn't have would just make me angry (and thus, counterproductive)! I applaud you for doing both! :)

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  7. Thank you for sharing your heart! I feel like anger is undertalked about, yet something so many followers of Christ could benefit from having a discussion on. Great for you for facing it head on and uniting your struggle with the Cross. We could all learn something from your Lenten resolution :) May we all be slow to anger!

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  8. I AGREE WITH ALL THE COMMENTS , ANGER ONLY HARMS YOU AND THE PEOPLE YOU MOST LOVE. I KNOW THAT , I LIVED IT , WHEN I MISCARRIAGE AT 22 WEEKS AND 3 DAYS BECAUSE THE DOCTORS DIDN'T DONE A SIMPLE PROCEDURE OF STITCHING ME UP AND DIDN'T MEASURE MY CERVIX WHICH IS HALF THE SIZE OF A NORMAL WOMAN AND DESTROYED ME AND ALL THE HAPPINESS I WAS EXPERIENCING . I NEVER THOUGHT I COULD GET PREGNANT , I'M 42 YEARS OLD NOW , SO WHEN IT HAPPENED I BELIEVED ELISE WAS AN ANGEL SENT BY GOD TO ME AND MY HUSBAND! TRY TO DEAL WITH THAT. MY ANGER WAS SO GREAT THAT I WANTED TO DESTROYED THEM AND MY THOUGHTS WERE QUITE EVIL WHICH I NEVER IN MY LIFE WISHED ANYTHING LIKE THAT TO ANYONE . BUT I CAN STATE THAT I FORGAVE THEM AND TRYING TO FORGIVE MYSELF FOR NOT LISTENING TO THAT INNER VOICE TELLING ME TO LEAVE AND SEEK ANOTHER HOSPITAL .I NEVER BLAMED GOD , I KNOW HE GRANTED ME MY DEAREST WISH I ASKED FOR THE LAST 10 YEARS TO BE A MOTHER AND I ALSO KNOW THAT THERE ARE SO MANY WOMEN WILL NEVER EXPERIENCE THE HAPPINESS I HAD WHEN SHE WAS INSIDE ME, SO I SEE IT HAS A PRIVILEGE TO BE A MOTHER - NOTHING CAN PREPARE YOU FOR SUCH LOSS , NO MATTER HOW OLD YOUR CHILD IS WHEN SOMETHING SO TERRIBLE HAPPENS. BUT I STILL PRAY , HOPE AND TRY NOT TO WORRY AND I CAN SAY I TRUST IN MY GOD MORE THAN EVER.GOD BLESS YOU ALWAYS.

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  9. Thank you so much for sharing these thoughts. This is exactly what I've been feeling but couldn't quite put my finger on how to describe it. I started with giving up yelling for Lent. Feels next to impossible with 4 littles but it has been a good start. Now I want to go further and get rid of my righteous indignation and anger too. And I feel for ya- it still takes me over an hour to get just my two school aged kids out the door for school.

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  10. Thank you so much for sharing this.
    I really think He works in wondrous ways..
    Lost my temper ( once again ) at my 12 yo coz it's way too early in the morning, I didn't sleep well, he was not paying attention blah blah blah .. and after he left for school, sent him a text apology ..
    He replied with 'that's ok mom'
    Made me feel even worse ... sigh ..
    Controlling my temper is what I (always)want to give up for lent , so hard and everytime I lose it I feel like I need to start back at Ash Wednesday ��
    Then I go on FB and see this post . Thank you ... Slow to anger , Rich in Kindness ..Loving and Forgiving are (you) us all .
    Have a Blessed Lent❣

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  11. Super important to reflect and know what triggers the anger. It's not the kids or the studying. It's not the twenty minutes getting out the door. The anger is the branch, not the root. Instead of trying to swallow down our God-given emotions and living in shame when we fail, we have to seek the truth, whether it be our wounds, fears, disappointments or decisions. For me, it's fear and all the work I have done on my fears has released so much of my anger.

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