You hardly ever walk in repentance before God that He doesn’t take it and turn it right back into bringing glory to His name. Such is the case when I earnestly and humbly came before Him with an area of my life needing His correction. While I have in the past occasionally sought the Lord’s forgiveness and even walked in “success” for a short time, He still wanted to chip away even more of my flesh in this particular area. What area do you ask?
Yes, that’s right. This pastor’s wife/mother especially has an issue of yelling when things do not go the way she wants them to or even when she wants them. The phrase, “You make me so angry,” has come out of my mouth a time or two, or three, but that does not give me an excuse for yelling. The reality is that no one can make me angry. It is my choice to choose to be angry, and it is a sign that something is wrong.
Jeff Schreve in his book, Runaway Emotions: Why you feel the way you do and what God wants you to do about it (For a free preview click here), uses a smoke detector as an example of how our emotions warn us there is a problem. And since we are on the topic of yelling, I think it only appropriate to point out what Schreve mentions in the book regarding the feelings of frustration and anger.
“Frustration is something of a combination emotion—an unhappy blend of anger and discouragement. You’re angry because you’ve been kept from your goal, and you’re discouraged because your efforts didn’t bring success.”
WARNING: Your God-given desire for meaning and purpose is on fire (57, 59).
“When you really stop and think about it, most of our anger finds its roots in our desire to somehow control the people and the environment around us. In other words, we want things to go the way we want them to go. If you don’t believe me, consider this: Why do so many of us get so angry watching our favorite football team lose? Because we wanted them to win! We didn’t want them to throw an interception in the end zone in the closing seconds of the game, when a touchdown would have sealed the victory. That’s not what we wanted. So our team loses… and we lose it!”
WARNING: Your God-given desire for control is on fire (109).
Just reading these two emotions and the warning signs God is trying to give to us helps change our focus and perspective off ourselves and onto what God desires for us.
I had finally had it. The ugly words to my ears, “You yell too much,” had to be changed from the mouths I heard it. What kind of a legacy was I leaving? I began asking God to forgive me for yelling and help me yell less and speak softly more. It wasn’t the first time I had asked this of Him. For years, I’ve had the following verse in my kitchen window sill as a prayer and reminder to help me hold my tongue.
LORD, set up a guard for my mouth;
keep watch at the door of my lips.
But this time of repentance before God seemed a little different. I truly wanted to change and sought Him for a practical way to improve this area of my life that does not reflect the image of Christ. Asking the children to tell me I was yelling was not going to work. What about if I started singing a song when I began to scream? I know ladies who when they get mad tell me they start talking in a high pitch voice so that their children know she is not happy with what is going on and it helps her not to get angry. I needed something like that.
Me: Lord, what can I have to help me?
Me: WHAT? (Yes, in a loud voice, but I was not yelling) I know the song and hand motions, but how in the world does this apply to yelling?
After having multiple discussions and seeking the Lord for clarity over numerous days, His response came:
Yelling Minus Christ is Awful
There. It’s that simple. I ask God to bring YMCA to my mind every time I begin to find myself wanting to scream. When He does, I smile as the tune YMCA comes into my head and I remind myself that yelling (or anything for that matter) minus Christ is awful.
What is awful in your life today because it does not have Christ?
Photo by Mikael Kristenson