Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Slow to Anger

Have you noticed how angry the world has become?  Even yourself; do you find yourself loosing your cool more than you would like? Is our anger justified?  I find that my impatience and quick tempered tendency is rarely justified. I have become increasingly aware of this and have begun to focus on striving more towards humility and forbearance and living my life more deliberately and proactively.

Last weekend I worked at a garden show as a vendor. The show was a lot of fun and we had great sales all weekend.  At the end of the event I was overtired, not just from working, but also from arthritis and carrying around the weight of my all too heavy body; still, there was an afterglow of a successful show.  As I exited the grounds. I stopped my car at a crosswalk to let two young mothers pass.  After they had passed and I proceeded, another car (two car lengths behind me) honked in agitation at the car in front of him.  One of the young mothers immediately assumed that it was me that had honked at her and yelled expletives my way.  Unfortunately, I immediately yelled back that it wasn't me (after having quickly thought of a few choices things that I could have yelled but decided to use a little prudence.)

I wish my initial reaction would have been one of compassion for a stressed out mom and prayer for her.  I cannot imagine Jesus seeking to justify or defend Himself.  Yes, but He was God made flesh, you say.  Well, I cannot see Mother (Saint) Teresa or Marva Dawn or Elisabeth Elliott responding the way I did.  You see, I know that for the non-Christian, this world is good as it gets for them; this is their "heaven."  Can you imagine? This world with all its horrors,injustices, and sufferings is the best some will ever have, not to mention being forever separated from God.  Can you not feel their pain and hopelessness behind their angry faces?  If we cannot offer them compassion and hope of a better path, who can?

So how am I working on this lifelong process?  First, I recognize my own past and present failures in the area and understand that I am no better than anyone else, leaning on and looking to God and His Word for guidance.  If I am able to show any mercy, it is because of the grace of God.

     There but for the grace of God, go I....John Bradford

Second, I am working on unplugging.  For me, this is very difficult.  Checking Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. has been an anxiety reliever (actually, it only wears the mask of stress soother, but that's another blog post waiting).  I have made it more difficult for me to access these social media sites by hiding their icons on my smartphone and iPad and by turning off their notifications.  I also have turned my phone to vibrate or off when in the company of others.

Third, I am trying not to multitask so that I am more cognizant of what I am doing.  Multitasking is seen as a desirable skill in this fast paced world, but I'm not so sure this is true any more.  To simultaneously perform tasks or projects is to live in a constant state of interruption, which often translates to a state of agitation for many of us.  This doesn't mean you should never do two things at once, but we should be more aware of what we are doing, why we are doing it, and whom are we serving through its accomplishment.  This singleness of mind is a skill that is fading quickly in our fast paced and sound byte saturated culture.

To take that one step further, I have been working on the discipline of reading a book slightly above ('s a LOT above) my level of comprehension.  My mind has been conditioned by the frequency of commercials and the brevity of Twitter tweets and Facebook statuses. I have, in a sense, been dumbed down by my own insatiable desire to be entertained (yet, another blog).

These are just a few steps I am praying through and working on to have a quieter heart and show more compassion.  For the sake of His sorrowful passion, I seek to show mercy.

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