I have read James 1:19 about being slow to speak, quick to hear, and slow to get angry with the latter part of that verse suddenly standing out…slow to get angry.
Not too long ago, I found myself getting upset quickly even to the point of not wanting to open another email or take a phone call on my day job. I complained under my breath with every new project request that came in. Rather than being grateful to have a job I can work from home, I was feeling frustrated, angry and resentful.
It also spread into my home life. I was getting frustrated that the garbage can was full again, or that a light had been accidentally left on. Stupid, little things were bugging me.
Fact is we’re all emotional beings. God made us that way, but He certainly doesn’t want our negative feelings taking over.
I’m sharing some tips that hopefully will help all of us, including me, when we feel like we’re at the boiling point:
- Step back. Rewind. Take a step away, walk outside into the fresh air if necessary to calm down and reset. If you’re burned out, it might be good to take some time off.
- Pray to God. This goes hand in hand with #1. Step back. Pray. Respond. The Lord will help you deal with your feelings when He’s first in your life.
- Don’t forget to breathe. Just taking a deep breath gets your mind on calmness and stillness and then you can face the situation better.
- Don’t hit that send button too quickly. You might get an email where the tone doesn’t appear pleasant and you might be tempted to be direct in your response. But, stop! Have you really read what that person wrote? Maybe they aren’t trying to be intentionally unkind. They could be under pressure when they wrote you. Consider this before you respond back. You’ll be happy you took your time to reply. And even if they were being mean, you don’t have to respond the same way. Write a short, in-kind message addressing only the issue with some possible solutions.
- Don’t forget to laugh. Believe it or not, laughter is medicine to the soul. Try to think of something that will at least make you smile. This way you change your feelings from anger to joy. And all of us can handle situations better when our mood is better.
- Be grateful always. The Lord says this even when we pray. Bring it with thanksgiving. My mom used to say, “there’s always someone worse off than you.” Things could be a lot worse so stop and thank The Lord He’s in control. Doing that helps to put aside any anger.
I believe this is why James warned the early Christians so that misunderstandings and miscommunications could be avoided when we don’t react so quickly.