faith

Peace Day Challenge, Part 5: Yes, I Still Lose My Cool Sometimes

The Lord definitely has a sense of humor.

Here I am writing each day this week about how I have gotten this peace thing figured out, and He –knowing that I need to stay humble– allows my day to take a twist.

If you have been following along this week, you know that this– part 5 –was supposed to be posted yesterday.

But, in true peace-seeking fashion, I had to put it off until today because I was unable to maintain my peace while dealing with everything else and trying to write this post.

On the one hand it is ironic and on the other hand fitting: it’s ironic that I would write about something I still struggle with, but fitting that I should write about it because I am so intimately familiar with the struggle.

I obviously haven’t mastered this, but my system seems to be working for me.

Yesterday was a long day and during the day I addressed some stressful-to-me things which I had put off but which needed to be deal with (for example, getting an estimate to replace a broken window in the house).

By dinner time, I was exhausted –remember all my health issues?

But I had the post that needed to be written.

I kept writing down ideas, but not actually writing the post because I was having a hard time finding the focus and energy.

Then, my children started arguing.

Arguing children is a trigger for me.

They make me just batty.

And, just like that, the peace that I had been holding by a thread all day long was gone.

Rather than do any of the things I know to do, I started getting angry and upset.

My whole family noticed and started looking at each other and me very concerned.

I really try hard not to lose my cool and to remain peaceful.

My husband lovingly –as politely as he could– told me that he thought I was overreacting.

I was, but I couldn’t see it.

I seemed to be making sense to me even though I wasn’t making sense to everyone else.

It became apparent that I was not handling the situation as well as I had at first thought, so I sent my children to bed (it was after 9 pm already).

I vented to my husband about everything that I felt had gone wrong, and –to his credit–, he just let me vent and didn’t tell me that I was irrational or too emotional.

He knows that doesn’t help –that escalates the situation because I need to be heard and feel validated in feeling what I feel even if what I feel isn’t accurate.

Feelings are real even if they lie to you; they may not be telling you the truth, but they are what you feel.

They get a voice, but they do not get to make the decisions.

I knew once I had lost it that I was not going to be able to get back to a place of peace because I was simply too tired.

So, I put myself to bed.

By then, I was so unexplainably angry that I had a very hard time sleeping.

But, I care about my testimony to my family, so I make myself go to bed and stay away if I can’t behave properly.

My testimony is more important than my to-do list.

This morning, after a conversation with my doctor, I realized that I was detoxing and it was making me angry.

Anger is not an uncommon reaction to detox, and if you’ve done a detox before, you know what I am talking about.

I am feeling much better this morning after talking to my doctor and adjusting my treatment plan accordingly.

When my children got up this morning, I apologized.

Here’s how it works in my mind: I am apprenticing my children.

They are learning how to behave in life based on how I behave.

Ideally, I would model good behavior, but –if I cannot– then I had better ask for forgiveness.

I try to be as good a model as I can, but if I cannot, I had better be humble enough to admit when I am wrong –or else I have no right to demand that they admit when they are wrong.

I cannot expect them to do what I will not do.

Apologies were given and accepted.

And, I am a little bit humbler as I address this issue today.

See, physically and mentally healthy bodies –and emotionally and spiritually healthy hearts– are made to process stress without having bad reactions like anger, frustration, freaking out and losing control.

If any of those things are out of balance: if your body or mind is not healthy, if your emotions or your soul are not in a healthy place, then that will impede on your ability to keep yourself calm in the chaos.

We tend to think that it is all spiritual, but it isn’t just spiritual.

We think that because one of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control then we should always be self-controlled.

So, if you don’t have self-control, you must not be being controlled by the spirit, right?

I mean, I see the logic there, and I sort of agree, except that we have instincts and impulses that take over sometimes.

One of the times in my life when I have felt the most out of control was labor.

But, was I really out of control?

No, my body had taken over and was controlling a natural process.

The same is true for other situations.

For instance, when dealing with anxiety (not a rational fear, but irrational), your body has misidentified something as dangerous which is not dangerous.

It is using a basic fight-or-flight response because your body thinks it is protecting you.

Are you out of control?

Sort of.

But it is more accurately described as your body not doing what it is supposed to do –because your body should know what is actually dangerous and what isn’t, not try to flee something that is benign like a nonpoisonous spider.

A natural instinct is taking over but that instinct isn’t helping –kind of like if you went into labor when you weren’t actually pregnant.

I struggle with self-control when I have to fight against the disease ridden body that I live in to keep my peace.

It is hard, but it is not entirely impossible.

This is why you have to address your issues!

It’s getting better the more I practice and the more I try to be aware of my own actions and my motivations.

Yesterday, my son asked what I was writing about for my blog post, and when I told him about being peaceful he gave me a smirk and chuckled.

I think he thought it was ironic that I was writing on that topic this week!

It is something I am striving for, but not something that I have conquered.

In fact, I will be using the mindmap I made for this week to seek out solutions to my own anger issues last night (more on the mindmap tomorrow).

Even though I was being angry because of the detox, there was still a trigger.

In this case, the trigger of my anger was my children arguing.

I really dislike it when they bicker especially if it is about something that is not important –the pettier the topic the more irritated I am likely to get.

Because I know this is my trigger, now I can find better solutions so that when this issue comes up again –and it will– I can choose to handle it a different way than losing my cool.

Some ideas of things I could do are: defer to my husband if he is home, call my mother and ask her to negotiate between the children, pray first (this couldn’t hurt, huh?), separate them until I can calm down, etc.

I’m going to leave this here and pick it up tomorrow.

I have a lot more to say about this topic, but it is date night tonight and I need to get ready to go.

Blessings,

Sarah Forbes

Here are the posts in this series. I will add the links as I publish the posts.

Peace Day Challenge, Part 1: We are Called to Peace

Peace Day Challenge, Part 2: Even If the Healing Never Comes: Choosing Contentment

Peace Day Challenge, Part 3: Scriptures Verses About Living in Peace

Peace Day Challenge, Part 4: The Actual Peace Day Challenge

Peace Day Challenge, Part 5: Yes, I Still Lose My Cool Sometimes

Peace Day Challenge, Part 6: Peace Day Challenge Reflections


If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy these:

Choosing Joy: How an Attitude of Thankfulness Changed My Life

Lessons from Jonah

When You Find You Can’t Do It All

Independentism: The Negative Effects of Self-sufficiency on Women in the Church

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