I think every parent can relate – when the days run long, the cleaning seems superfluous and you’ve told the kids to “Get. Back. In. Bed.” until your eye starts to twitch. But my moments of weakness were leaving me feeling hopeless.
When I snapped, all my stress, worry and anxiety exploded as I lost my temper with my kids. I had allowed my storm to impact my family, but God is powerful, and He can do the impossible.
Nobody – not even I – could calm my storm until I let God in the room.
My Heavenly Father convicted my heart not long ago when Nate Karnes (CIY MOVE program director) asked our staff some scary questions during a devotions time: “Where is your storm?” “Where in your life are you lacking God’s presence?” I knew exactly where my storm was, but I had no idea how to calm it.
A temper seems so unmanageable because a lot of the time it’s impulsive – yes, reactionary – but it strikes like a lightning bolt. Before you know it, you’re saying things you don’t mean, hurting people you love and it’s like you’re sinking. When Nate asked that resounding question, “Where’s your storm?” God told me to hand my temper over to Him.
With tons of prayers – in various times and ways – I asked God to calm my storm. I know my timing rarely lines up with His timing, but I’ve experienced some little victories after these prayers. Here are three things that helped me that might benefit you if you’re battling a storm.
1. Pinpoint the moments. It was with direct purpose and intentionality that someone asked me where my storm was, and now that question is directed to you. Think of those moments when you lose your temper – what you’re doing, where you are and who you’re talking to – and prayerfully ask God to be there in those times. I simply asked my Father to be there when my storm hit, because I knew it would come again and I knew I couldn’t handle it on my own.
2. Consider that the “trigger” is bigger than you. My storm was brewing – building off my 8-year-old’s anger in a disagreement. After specifically praying over times just like this, I was able to consider that his emotion stemmed from something much more than our conversation. I learned in that moment that he had a hard day at school, and when things didn’t go exactly his way at home it caused a meltdown. Before my prayers and without recognizing God in the room with me, I don’t think I would have considered the bigger picture. My temper wouldn’t have let me see my son’s needs, and it certainly would have driven us apart.
3. Stop and breathe. Jesus can calm us the way He calms the raging sea, but we have to let Him. When I felt my storm coming, I stopped – in mid-sentence – and took a breath. This method of simply pausing can apply to anything from an argument to a project you’ve been working on for hours – so much good can be done by letting God into the moment as you pause. My little victory over my temper started with a pause and a breath, and my anger lost all momentum. It felt like God removed my temper from the room.
The most powerful thing we can do is pray. It’s our connection to the Creator of the universe and He hears us. We don’t have to know the specifics of how He’ll help us, but all it takes is faith that He will. That’s what He did for me, and it’s what He’ll do for you in your storms. My God will help me raise the kids He’s blessed me with, and with Him in the room my kids will remember a mom with a slightly longer fuse.
Becca Haines is a communications coordinator for Christ In Youth.