Saturday, January 10, 2009

Back On Milk

"Of the seven deadly sins, anger is probably the most fun. To lick your wounds, smack your lips over grievances long past, roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontation still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain your are given and the pain your are giving back-is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you" -Frederick Buechner

I never thought of myself as a selfish person...much less an idolater, a luster after fleshly things...but I am. From May 22, 2001, until about a year and a half ago, I walked the floors with babies...I cleaned and scrubbed myself silly, sometimes went a week on a few hours of sleep due to sick, in my mind, any time left over was MINE to use how I saw fit, and I guarded that time ferociously. Oh, I would make sure I read my Bible and prayed and gave of what I counted as MY time to Him...which made me, in my eyes, that much more holy and righteous. I loved serving in church with any extra that I had and then some- anything to "feel" right. During all this I still suffered from what I would classify as major PMS, depression, headaches, achines, nervousness, fears about assurance. Over the past year, add to that list: extreme irritability, suspicions and yelling. I felt so ashamed and guilty each time I would yell at the kids or sometimes even Brian out of frustration and would beg both their forgiveness and God's only to fall back into the habit the next week if I had reached my limit of...inconvenience.

Where in the world had this started? When did I go off track? I'm not sure. Long ago, I noticed that my first thoughts when I would get angry were not thoughts aimed at my children, but at my husband! "If he would help me more" I would think or "He has it SO easy!"...I also noticed that I had alot of anger aimed at myself as well- as if my wrath somehow sufficed as punishment for the way I acted. Both of these were symptoms of wrong belief systems in which I was God-playing. Sure, I had what the Bible said and my "universe" that centered around me mimicked a God centered life...only I had really kicked God off the throne of my heart and replaced Him with myself. Pretty scary situation. Now, what made it extra hard was that my belief system called for alot of tolerance, so the Lord really had to allow some very *big* inconveniences in which I prided myself in repressing my anger, along with lots of "the little things"at home in which I would pout and simmer and eventually draw out the ugly idol in my heart-so I could see it. Oh, the damage it has done, but God is the Master Physician especially when it comes to "heart disease".

My problem was going to need a specialist, and praise the Lord, He is thorough. It has not been easy to keep "me" on the throne- I fought for it. To start really seeing what was going on, I had to do some serious heart digging and listening to what my flesh was screaming for whenever it was offended so that I could trade that wrong desire or belief that I was owed something- for His desire and remember that I am a living sacrifice. I had created my own set of standards instead of God's standards...I started taking back more and more time and convenience for myself that I deep down believed had always been mine. I felt justified after ALL I HAD GIVEN...yep, that was the core belief. It had snuck up on me...I tried eliminating what I thought were distractions in my the computer, tv, and I thought I was making progress. These were all efforts of my own strength trying to rid myself of a problem that wasn't a time management problem, but a self idolatry problem. Every effort of sacrifice just that much more contributed to the ugly monster of self worship since it was done in my own strength in an effort to make ME feel and sometimes look better for MY honor and glory-not God's.

Anyway, I wish I could write something concise at this point which would help anyone reading this who either struggles with anger (both concealed and unconcealed) but as the title says, I am back on "milk" concerning this. The book "Uprooting Anger" by Robert Jones has been a tremendous help...especially since I was reading it alongside "Don't Make Me Count To Three" by Ginger Plowman and the book of James, Proverbs...they have helped keep the issue on the forefront and struck fear into my heart-which was much needed. I am still praying and truly have the fear of the Lord in my concerning the deadliness of this sin...but I know that I am still like a baby...just emerging in having my revealed belief system turned upside down.

God is so good and has encouraged me by bringing such a sense of peace to the house. Not that the kids still don't make messes or fight or that things don't offend my convenience and self-glory seeking flesh, believe me the Lord is providing opportunity after opportunity for me to *see* what really lies in my heart so that I can confess it and give it to Him. I do feel as if I have dropped a huge burden that I have obviously carried for a long time. My prayer is that this would be a help to someone somewhere -you can have a joy that is full, you can have peace. :)


I live IN Jesus said...

WOW Heather. I have been struggling with this VERY issue and the Lord has been showing me as well. I am not eloquent enough to verbalize it as you have, but I am in desperate need of the Lord's changing me into more of His image. This is not an excuse for me to keep behaving in the afore mentioned manner, but Praise Jesus for His grace and mercy...

I shudder when I think of the hurts that I may have caused or am causing in my children and/or marriage. I find comfort in the fact that our God new the beginning from the end and He is sovereign(sp?), so nothing surprises Him. And since my sincere desire is to change and glorify Him then that is what truly matters! He will give us whatsoever we ask, we just need to ask as long as it isn't to consume upon our own lusts!!! So, He WILL change us!!! Praise be to God and may ALL Honor and Glory be HIS FOREVER AND EVER!!! AMEN! God bless you girl! ((HUGS))

Danielle said...

Wow miss H what a mighty God we serve!!!

Cherlyn said...

Wow... I struggle with this same issue, so often... thanks for putting it into words. I am praying for you. :D