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Living out the Christian life authentically requires daily submitting the pieces of our broken life to God, the Ultimate Artist, allowing him to craft them into a beautiful mosaic masterpiece that can be used for His glory. It's a moment by moment journey of releasing fear & control, living intentionally, and embracing the freedom of Christ.

Angry? 3 Things To Do Before You React

I listen as my 5 year old lists her favorite things about the first week of kindergarten.

Art. Gym. Library. Recess. Spanish class.

My heart is filled with joy as I recognize she’s entered a new stage and so far, she’s loving it!

But me?

It only took two days of public school for me to find myself very angry with a newly implemented school policy.

2 days.

My joy-filled heart over my daughter’s love of school turned foul quickly after listening to a simple school-wide voicemail and I knew I had to get a handle on my emotions – and quick!

Time for an adjustment to my perspective.

While I certainly don’t get this right every time, I’m sharing three tactics to use for maintaining perspective when you find anger rising up in your heart.

angry

1. Reach In

When I experience those first feelings of anger, I know I have just a split second to decide how I’m going to react. It’s that initial trigger that stops me in my tracks and helps me start to reframe the situation to gain perspective.

reflection

Andy Stanley, in his book Enemies of the Heart, describes anger as a situation in which we feel like others owe us something. When you start to feel anger bubbling up inside, take a minute to consider what you feel like the other person or organization you’re angry with might owe you. Then decide whether or not that’s actual truth or your heart lying to you.

This pause gives you time to use the other two tactics and prevent overreacting and doing or saying something you’ll regret later.

2. Reach Out

After recognizing my anger with the school policy this week, the next step I took was to call my husband. He’s my rock and the one I turn to when I need a hefty dose of perspective.

holding hands

photo credit: Josep Ma. Rosell via photopin cc

Maybe for you reaching out to another person might be a trusted friend or mentor, but regardless of which wise person in your life you choose, reaching out is essential. While this is not the time to gossip about a situation, a wise godly person will help you talk out a situation, calm down a bit, and help you plan your steps moving forward before you act in anger.

In my situation, my husband helped me slow down, reassess the situation, and realize there was a simple solution. In mere minutes, my anger subsided!

3. Reach Up

When we’re angry, why do we often forget to reach up to our creator, the God who made us and knows us inside and out?

reach up

photo credit: ce matin, un lapin via photopin cc

I’m learning (ever so slowly) to reach up to God and remember that it’s His Spirit living within me who gives me power to do things I wouldn’t have the strength or power to do on my own.

When we take the time to remember The Comforter is with us, living IN us, it takes our anger down a notch and begs us to reflect on God’s truths instead of the lies we may be believing in the midst of our anger.

What about you? What do you do when anger rises up in your heart to make sure you don’t overreact? Share in the comments so we can all grow together!

Sharing today with Five Minute Friday {Reach} and Essential FridaysNote, this post contains affiliate links. If you click the link and make a purchase, our family receives a small percentage of your sale (at no cost to you). We’re in the middle of radically trusting God in our finances, and every little bit helps toward our goal of financial freedom so we can faithfully follow God’s lead in our lives. Thanks for your support!

Billy Graham’s Wife’s Secret to a Happy Marriage

Billy Graham's Wife's Secret to a Happy Marriage

photo credit: Keoni Cabral via photopin cc

The four of us piled in our blue 10-year old mini-van and settled in for the 20 minute drive home.

The day had been a long one, filled with the kind of relationship-building and memory-making our family relishes.

honda minivan

photo credit: rafael-castillo via photopin cc

A big Saturday morning breakfast as a family, a birthday party for the daughter of a couple we adore, an extended family cookout including swimming for the littles, a baby shower for my cousin, and another birthday party cookout for the daughter of a set of dear friends that included three pregnant mammas and 8 kiddos under the age of 8 resulted in an incredibly full day.

After three meals of hot dogs and three servings of celebratory cake in the span of eight hours, we were all sugared up and wired but exhausted from all the fun.

And that’s when I made a critical mistake. I started talking about our family finances. 

I know, I know. Bad move.

I should know now not to bring up finances when we’re already physically at the end of our rope for the day, but I had some new information about a financial situation surrounding our health insurance that I had forgotten to share with my husband and felt like we needed to discuss. Right then.

But in a span of minutes, our demeanors morphed from cheerful to irritated as a result of a string of misunderstood comments and ill-placed assumptions.

angry wife

photo credit: miriam.v via photopin cc

For a moment, I felt like the day was ruined. A whole day of wonderful family memories, spoiled by a few minutes of frustrated conversation over a situation neither of us have any control over. What a shame.

Instead, we remembered Billy Graham’s wife’s secret to a happy marriage. And took action.

“A happy marriage is the union of two great forgivers.” – Ruth Bell Graham

i forgive you

photo credit: quantumlars via photopin cc

We took decisive action to change our perspective on the conversation, realizing both of us were depleted from the long day and deciding to come back to the topic when we were both fresh and able to communicate more clearly.

It took us choosing to forgive each others’ poor attitudes and snide remarks for the evening to be spared. 

Next time you are frustrated with your spouse’s or a friend’s faults, remember the Bible’s clear direction on how to handle these situations.

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Colossians 3:13 (NLT)

Ruth Bell Graham had it right. Both for marriages and for great friendships.

Today, as you interact with your spouse, friends, and family, remember to make allowance for faults and be quick to forgive. It might just be your “secret weapon” for relationship success!

Do you have any tips to share on forgiving? What other relational “tools” do you have in your toolbox to foster healthy relationships? Share in the comments. 

Also, “Making Room for Forgiveness” is one of 10 practices Bill Hybel discusses in his new book Simplify: Ten Practices to Unclutter Your Soul. I’ll be sharing more about this book soon because I’ve grown so much from working through the ten practices & I’m confident you will too. {I received a review copy from Tyndale & link is an affiliate link.}

Sharing with Mommy Monday.