Read the first part of this story here…Of Volcanoes and Scenic Overlooks
And so it was, that, for the first time ever, instead of trying to reason my way out of anger, or willing it to retreat back to the volcanic chamber it was rushing out of, I tried surrender. Not to the anger, mind you, but to God. I said, “OK, God, you’re right, I so cannot handle this. I am desperate not to be a yelling mamma, who wounds and terrifies her children with her words and volume. You told me to come to you, so I do—desperately crying for deliverance.”
And in that moment, the He lifted the anger right off me. I felt the pressure of steam and heat and the hot magma of irrational emotion diminish like a puff of smoke. I still don’t know where it went. I’ve never diffused that quickly from hot rage, so I know it was God. He delivered me.
And then, in the quiet of the early morning, minus the steam venting from nostrils and ears, He gently counseled me and began to teach me about triggers, and what to do with them.
What to do with those nasty triggers…
Triggers are another common word when one talks about anger management. “What are your triggers?” we are asked. This month I’ve become aware of a few of them, and had been trying to avoid them, but they can’t all be avoided, so I usually still have plenty to deal with.
And, due to my previous notion that anger was something I needed to control and overcome, my past strategy for triggers has been to stomp on them. To shove them down into my subconscious and ignore them and the wrong thinking they represent.
But you know what happens when I think I’ve stomped out those triggers? When a child pees their pants before 9am, when the act of serving breakfast totals the kitchen, when plans carefully made collapse with one phone call, when my hope for an afternoon nap is dashed and I somehow still maintain my calm exterior? They have not gone anywhere, they are just glomming together somewhere deep inside me, one upon another, until one more tiny trigger and—BOOM. I will blow my top, guaranteed.
And the simple truth that God revealed to me as I hung the laundry was this:
I needed to apply potty training principles to my anger issues.
This month we are half-heartedly, off and on, getting-slightly-more-serious-about potty training Seth. Some days he cues me and we do our business in the potty. Some days he doesn’t. Some days I get all brave and put training pants on in place of the diaper and say, “We are really going to do this now!” And on those days, I know the only way we will have victory is to regularly empty that little bladder, or we will have an accident.
Application: When a trigger comes, I need to deal with it–not stuff it–or there will be an accident.
Simple. Very simple. So simple, a sleep-deprived, foggy-brained pregnant momma can get it. Diffusing anger is like potty training. I must make regular trips to the place of relief, or the emotion I carry will overflow.
If this is TMI for ya’ll, I DO apologize, but I can’t not share what to me has been a life changing truth housed in this bathroom-based analogy.
So, I’ve been trying it. When I feel the heat begin to rise, I go to my place of relief: I stop and ask God to lift it from me like He did that morning by the clothesline. When He faithfully does, we then have a nice little chat about that particular trigger, and usually discover what lie I’m believing that led to that trigger, and what truth I can dwell on instead to effectively resolve that source of lava-producing emotion.
And I go about my day with an empty lava chamber, instead of one waiting for one more teaspoon of irritation to send me over the top.
Oh, how I wish I could tell you that in a week I’ve come to complete victory in this area. Truth is, I have not. But I realize, you may not want or need to hear the story of quick and fast deliverance, because you may not have the faith for that miracle. I know I’d have trouble believing an insta-fix story. Maybe you, like me, need to hear of the small, hope-inducing victories that one mamma is experiencing so that you may know that He is with you on your journey, as well.
So, I will keep sharing the bits of beauty and truth I’m finding as I walk this path of Freedom from Anger, and am delighted by any who may join me.