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Saturday, June 9, 2018

Help, The Weeds of Anger Sprout!

If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow. ~Chinese Proverb

Oh those nasty weeds of anger—difficult to uproot. Once we sow the seeds of wrath they just grow and grow. Some even sprout flowers of justification which cause us to say, “In my defense, you should see what I have to deal with.”

True, care-giving is not for the faint of heart or the quick tempered. But then how should we respond when instead of thank you, we get “Why don’t you help me! You’re not helping me. You never do anything for me”?

How do we prevent those seeds of anger from sprouting into deceitful leafy weeds? They are invasive, good only for choking, and bringing “ugly” into God’s garden.

Well, we take a deep breath, remain silent, smile, and then calmly say, “I’m sorry. You might be right. What can I do for you?” Not likely.

To be honest, I used to be someone who liked to ramble on about everything I’ve done since sunrise; every detail of my extraordinary accomplishments of care-giving I pour like cold and bitter coffee into Dad’s poor old ears. And what does it accomplish—mostly ongoing arguments riddled with hurtful words that he will forget a few hours later, and leave me frustrated steaming with anger because he still didn’t see things my way.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. ~James 1: 19, 20 (NIV)

I’ve realized that God’s righteousness brings peace. And that is our goal: peace. I’ve learned something about anger: it’s toxic, it burns, and it’s explosive. Probably not new news, I know. Yet, are we willing to do the hard work? Pull those stubborn weeds and sow the good seed—seeds like prayer.

God doesn’t mind those quick popcorn prayers, especially in the heat of that fiery moment. Whatever it is you need at a particular time. God hears you; He is for you; He is never against you. Pray the obvious:

1. God please calm me down.
2. Give me peace.
3. I'm so tired, please give me strength.
4. Give me the words to say or I might forfeit my peace       forevermore.
5. Give me unconditional love, sympathy.
6. Have mercy on us.
7. Show me Your way.
8. Help! I'm going to lose it; I don't want to lose it! (Breathe)

We might also remember to pick our battles. Cliché? Perhaps, but it works. Is it important which color t-shirt Dad wants to wear? Probably not. Dad also likes wearing dressy pants around the house. I wish he would wear sweats … it’s not important and definitely not worth the fight.

If I take a step back, choose to be patient, I truly will save myself 100 days of sorrow.

This saying is true: Walk a mile in his (or her) shoes. It’s not a pretty journey and we might not want to trade shoes after all.

We are taking care of, and giving care to someone who can no longer do it for themselves. This alone must be so frustrating for them. Dad sometimes can’t recall what he was about to say. Other times he gets confused and forgets how to take another step forward; and sometimes he doesn’t even know if he’s hungry or not.

Let God be Our Gardener
Anger is not a garden we want to sit in. It’s full of overgrown hairy weeds and it can quickly choke out the good seed. Let’s not grow weary of doing good. Keep pulling those weeds. Better still, let God be your gardener. It will soon become habit—think of God’s Word as weed killer.

God understands our pain and the need to be angry sometimes. But He’s also asking us to trust Him. His ways are better.

A Caregiver’s Prayer

Holy Spirit let your peace reign in my home. Replace chaos with order, fear with wisdom, anger with unconditional love and understanding. Thank you Father for your faithfulness even when I am faithless. Help me Jesus to see my loved one through your eyes. Amen.

My Beloved Caregiver

I watched you sit among the weeds
Of anger, doubt, and fear
You have the tools to vanquish them
If but your heart would hear

I chose you to take care of them
I say you’re doing great
Just close your eyes and think of Me
Let anger dissipate

Come sit among the daffodils
On grassy knolls of grace
Let mercy grow your flower beds
With blooms of fragrant praise

(copyright, 2018 by Deborah L. Alten)

1 comment:

  1. Great advice Debby. I remember many a frustrating day when I was a caregiver and not knowing what to do with my anger. I sure could have used your tips and counsel. Loved your phrase "the word of God is our weed killer" -- great word picture to help me remember to allow God daily to weed the garden of my heart. The photos helped drive your points home too. Eager to see what you have to say in blog #3.