James 1:19-20 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. ESV
I want to tell you about the time I decided I needed to change.
If you work with people, you know that some days can be just plain crazy. Add traveling about 1,000 miles a week to that. Then add about 300 images to edit the next day to that. Then, add the fact that I am still a wife and mother and grandmother. We might as well add about 50 calls and texts every day also from people wanting something from me. I began to feel that my life was totally out of balance. There was absolutely no time left for me. My health was suffering, my already questionable mental status was suffering, my poor family was suffering.
I decided to go to counseling. I remember the exact moment when I realized that I was the problem in my life. I was sitting across from the person I decided to talk to just railing on my family. My husband doesn’t help me. My kids are driving me crazy. I never get to spend any time with my grandchildren. All I do is work, work, work. I demanded to know just how I could get my family to pitch in and help me find balance in my life.
My counselor looked at me and said, “Kim, why are you so angry?”
Wait….what?? I remember sitting there and tears began to flow. I don’t cry. Ever. And I was bawling like a baby. That defining moment made me hear something I absolutely did not want to hear. The bitterness and resentment I had in my life was a direct result of what I had in my heart. Anger. I began to pray that day that God would show me what it was that He wanted from me. I prayed that He would teach me to guard my words and my heart and to help me find balance in my life.
I learned that day that you cannot expect the world to treat you with love and respect if you do not give love and respect. I found that if I needed help with the household chores, it is much easier to just ask, “Hey, could you do a load of laundry for me?” instead of being mad as fire because I expect a teenager to see that the laundry basket is full. Teenagers don’t think like that. Well, teenagers don’t think at all sometimes. It’s my job to help them learn to be responsible. Instead I was teaching them to be bitter and resentful.
Changes began to happen in my work life as well. I still didn’t like having to get into the car to go to work and it reflected in my attitude towards my clients. Slowly, I began to soften my heart and be thankful that I had work. I tried to make an effort to have fun again with the people who pay my bills. They are, after all, trusting me to make lifetime memories of their family and I want them to enjoy the experience.
Am I all sunshine and roses now? Well, no. I am human. I still battle the feeling of being overwhelmed and unbalanced. There are days when I feel like I could just choke down the next person who gets in my way. Sometimes it truly is a battle in my mind to choose kind words instead of a tone with underlying resentment. I have to remember that in my own environment that I am either the light or the darkness. I set the mood for my household. I set the tone for my work sessions. When I struggle, I pray. Some days, I have to really pray hard…..like televangelist hard. God is faithful to help me get back in balance. He is also faithful to remind me that change starts with me…in MY heart…with my words…. I just have to stop my human thoughts and once again have a “wait…..what?” moment that calls me out and holds me accountable. It is only when I get out of my own head that I can find the righteousness of God and blessings He has for me.