I've been told I am a pretty patient person. Normally. Most people who see me work with kids and say, "Dang Adam, I would've slapped that kid hours ago!" Or, after they hear about me counseling someone I know, say, "Adam, you must be a pretty patient person, because I would've given up on them weeks ago."
I don't know what it is about me. I am not trying to boast or say how awesome I am at being patient because anyone who has experienced divine patience before knows it comes from somewhere else outside of us. In my case, I believe the Holy Spirit gives it to me. Why? I don't know, but I seem to have it often.
Except this week. This week has been weird for me. I am a very deeply emotional person, but normally I can keep my emotions in check. This week is different for some reason. It seems like all my pet peeves are exploding all at once. I can't say it is because I am stressed, because honestly this is the least stressed I've been in over a year during the week before finals. I can't attribute it to anyone else around me because there is no one person who is making my life a living hell. In fact, most of my friends and family have been really supportive and happy.
Why am I getting angry? I have snapped at my girlfriend a few times when she is stressed because it annoyed me. I yelled at and threatened one of my best friends because he pushed one of my buttons totally by accident. I get furious at dumb people on Facebook who leave dumb comments at the inappropriate times on my Facebook status or page. Most of them are snide remarks meant to be humorous or directed comments meant to be helpful. However, I read them the wrong way or read into them more than I should have, making me angry. I have snapped at random people (mostly drivers who are stupid on the road. ). I have blown people off. I'm just not being me.
Through this, I discovered I have stages of anger. Everyone puts these words at different places, but here are their connotations to me. Let me outline them for you (so if use one of these words, you know where you fall on the spectrum):
- Annoyed - ex: Someone writes some sarcastic comment on my serious Facebook status
- Miffed - ex: Someone tells another one of my friends about what I am doing wrong rather than coming to me about it.
- Frustrated - ex: Someone who is just not listening to anyone in a conversation and believes their way is right, even when faced with evidence that points to the contrary.
- Mad - ex: Someone starts to mess with one of my friends or someone I care about.
- Angry - ex: Someone tries to tell me what I am thinking, what I am believing, or what I should do without knowing the situation.
- Furious - ex: Someone who repeats the same mistake over and over again and will not learn from it because they are so thick-headed that they think they are never wrong.
- Enraged - ex: Someone who is arrogant, prideful, does not believe they are ever wrong, and tries to correct me when I am not doing anything wrong--or refuses to admit they have done something wrong when I confront them about it.
- Stop what you are doing. Do not do anything in anger, lest you sin (as the Bible says). Just stop yourself before you do something stupid.
- Breathe. Take a DEEP breath (or a few) and try to calm down. I've found thinking about your breath helps you to focus on something else rather than your anger.
- Think about the situation, after you've calmed down a bit. Try to see their side. Do not immediately respond without having first considered all sides or talked with someone about it.
- Pray about it. Talk to God. Yell at Him if you need to. He is a pretty big guy, I'm sure He can take you venting to Him. I've found this helps the most to me, because once I start venting to God, then I start seeing it from His point of view and my point of view starts to change.
- Do not respond back to the person who has hurt you with something equally as hurtful. That only makes things worse and hurts them back. It is really easy to respond back to them and hurt them back because they have hurt you. Don't fall for that. It only makes it worse, trust me, I am speaking from experience here.
- Don't let the sun go down on your anger, as Jesus said. Don't hold a grudge. Once you have calmed down a bit, go talk to them and explain how they hurt you. Don't point fingers and blame them for it. Approach the conversation with grace.
I still don't know why I am angry. I don't know what is causing it. But knowing my own pet peeves has helped me to catch myself before I get really mad. I've had to remove myself from the room or block out sound to prevent myself from getting angry. Most of the time I focus on another topic in my mind to distract myself. I have no other profound wisdom to share with you, except what I already have. Please pray for me as I am learning this lesson. Thanks.
Following His Call,