So I wrote last time about names we believe belong to us. God’s really been using this idea in my life lately, revealing different names to me in different ways. Guess I’m going to stick with that thought process for a bit. And, I realize that having this blog at times is going to call for some transparency. So here goes nothing.
I am not always such a happy, go-lucky gal. (Cover the gasps that just escaped, people) Nope. You know that verse in the Bible that talks about being ‘slow to anger’? (James 1:19) Yes well, that doesn’t always apply to me. Oh, it should, but it often doesn’t. And, it’s really not my fault. It’s in my genetic make-up…(at least this is what I told myself for a long time, long enough to believe it).
Alright, let’s look at that verse in James that I just talked about. Yes, it does say we’re supposed to be “slow to anger”. It also says we are to be “quick to hear and slow to speak”, and you really need all three. The problem was, this is not the way I was raised. Let me be clear, I did not grow up in an abusive home or one where I felt no love. But, we all have struggles, and a quick temper was one in my home. We are a reactionary family. And if I look back through the generations before me, I can see where this came from. Again, lots of love in my family, but we sure know how to speak first and listen later. It’s a trait many of us have had to work on, mainly me.
This trait does not come in handy as a harried mother of three little ones. Add to this the fact that we felt called to homeschool, and my husband has had to work some extra hours, oh and the family dog who barks a lot, just to name a few. Well, you get the picture that sometimes life can be a bit tense. I love my children, but never have I done anything harder than raising them. And at times, it feels like all three are ganging up, and they’ve honed in on my weak spots. It was on a day like this, several months back, where God again spoke to me with a wake up call.
The morning had been long. Neither of my two who are school age wanted to do any work, and they were very vocal about it. My youngest was clinging to me and whining to be picked up because she was tired. The dog was barking because he wanted to be played with and I had the distinct impression that I was failing as a mother because I could not teach my children – either manners, respect, or their math lesson. I lost it. I was not anywhere near the “quick to hear” or “slow to speak” that my tired children needed in that moment, but I was definitely quick to anger! And when I finally allowed the anger welling in me to spill over, it came out in loud and angry words. No swearing, no calling them names, just good old-fashioned yelling. And by the looks on their suddenly quiet faces, they heard me. Sure, they were finally quiet, but at what cost?
I took a deep breath, told them mommy needed a few minutes in her room, and headed down to my bedroom where I promptly fell on my face before God. It had been a long winter for me, I’d had my thyroid out and my hormones were everywhere. I laid these reasons out before God, along with the fact that my family for generations has fought with this temper issue. I knew it was wrong to snap at my children (we’re not talking about discipline here, which was needed at the time, but my spewing anger all over them). Yet, it was in my genetic code, I couldn’t change it, so how was He going to fix it?
Have you ever been smacked up side the head by God? I’m talking that friendly kind of tap you give someone when you’re amazed they just said something crazy and you want them to see it? Well, I had a mental picture of a ‘love shove’ from God as he said to me, “Wake up! I’ve already done something, when are you going to believe it?” I stopped my blubbering and sat up. He had my attention. Suddenly verses rang through my mind of the characteristics of God. Over and over again in the Bible God is described as “slow to anger”. Exodus 34:6, “…the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger…”, Numbers 14:18, “The Lord is slow to anger…”, Psalm 86:15, “You Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger,”…there are many more, too many to reference, and that right there is where He got me.
You see, I’d been believing that my genetic code predetermined me to be a quick tempered woman. There wasn’t much I could do. I’d slapped the name Short Temper on me and was living it. Only one problem with that, I was also a Christian. The Spirit of God lives within me, and his Spirit has no problem with his temper. I may have health issues, knobby knees, poor eyesight (I’d list my positives too, but that’s not the point I’m trying to make right now), and a host of other genetic issues that just come with the parents God blessed me with, but they are my earthly parents (a little thanks goes in here that they raised me to know You!). My spirit, however, belongs to my Heavenly Father, and the characteristics I possess in it come from his genetic code – AMEN!! He did not create me to be “quick to anger”. It is not even in his genes to pass on to me, so why was I allowing that belief to have any control over my life? Why did I believe that was who I was? Simple – I was letting the wrong person name me, not the One who’d created me and already knew my name before time began.
Well, I dried my tears and began to give thanks. I already had the tools I needed. I had my Father’s blood running through my spirit, and I was going to start acting like it. Oh, I am far, far from perfect, and thank God He loves me anyway. But I am not going to forget my spirit’s genetic code. I’m going to start feeding it and growing, reading my Bible, praying daily, taking time to listen before I speak, so I can look just like my Father. Amen again!!
Do you see the beauty of this? It’s not just me. We all have struggles, but we also all have the same Father, if we just believe in him. Once we do, his genes run through us, and we begin to take on his characteristics. Our spirit grows, just as our bodies do. Only, one day our bodies will die, but our spirits will remain! And I pray that when all that’s left of me is my spirit, I’ve grown into the spitting image of my Father. How beautiful will that be?