“...Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19, NIV 1984).
Dr. Clydette Powell is a wonderful physician in Christ who has been recently overwhelmed with responsibilities, in part due to her loving care of her 90-year-old mother who has been very ill. Clydette sent the following incident out to friends by email and gave me permission to share.
“One morning I was so frustrated with multi-tasking—making her breakfast in the kitchen, trying to get her medications sorted out, handling the loads in the washing machine, emptying and stacking the dishwasher, dealing with the ringing phones, the garbage collection and the calendar schedules—that I picked up a loaf of bread and angrily flung it all the way across the kitchen, dining room and into the living room. Nothing broke en route. My mom suddenly got quiet and asked, ‘What was that brown object that sped in a blur across my line of vision?’ I broke down in tears, and then started to laugh, ‘I threw a loaf of bread in frustration.’ She realized how upset I was and took it seriously. I have not thrown any more bread loaves...but I still break down in frustration at times. I realize my very humanness, my own limitations and frailties.”
We all have limits. Even Clydette, the most even-keeled, patient, super woman I have ever known, ends up throwing loaves sometimes. This is the nature of humanity.
God designed our physical bodies to reach a certain height and no higher, and the same goes for our emotional limits. We contrive ways to compensate for our size and our emotional capabilities, but there are limits to both that we cannot reach beyond. So what do we do when the strain of life pushes us beyond our capabilities to manage our emotions?
First of all, we can ask God to come in and take over—always best but often difficult.
The more we can hand God our circumstances and surrender our emotions, the more likely we will face our personal storms with the composure of Jesus in the storms of Galilee.
Secondly, we can push through the muck of stress with the exhortation, “Be kind.” Deliberately willing kindness even when we don’t feel like kindness will minimize the injuries of those hit by our flying loaves.
And finally, we can ask forgiveness for any loss of control that has injured those around us. Something wonderful happens when we ask to be forgiven. In few other circumstances do people gain such an honest glimpse of who we are and who we wish to become. And, if we are followers of Christ, they may gain a glimpse of Him as well.
Give me enough of your Spirit that I may not injure others when I fall apart.