I've been overwhelmed these past 30 days by all of the passionate Jesus-following women who have joined me in this 40 Day Sugar-Fast. Katie Reid is just one of the gals who has kept me accountable by sharing with me how The Lord is teaching her as she cuts out sweets, that she might fully grab hold the sweetness of life in Christ!
Many of our conversations, this past sugar-free month, have surprisingly had more to do with other addictions than sugar. Together we've realized that God has gently grieved both our hearts over similar things - unhealthy relationships with social media and perfectionism.
Katie recently confessed to me how The Lord has helped her to understand that perfectionism can lead to anger. And so today, Katie graciously accepted my invitation to join me on the orange couch, and share with us all what the Lord is speaking to her regarding a woman's anger and God's Kindness.
In the last few weeks 2 drinking glasses, 1 salad plate and two bowls have either been cracked or broken, unintentionally. The kids have been a little rough and careless with their chores.
I love my colorful Fiesta dishes and it makes me angry when they get broken, even when it’s an accident.
However, if I'm honest, on a handful of occasions I’ve been intentionally rough with these dishes—slamming them down hard in the sink—because of circumstances or people that I could not control.
I have broken things in my anger—and not just dishes. I have cut hearts and dashed spirits with my careless words and sharp responses. My anger has caused me to sink down in a jagged display of broken pieces.
I sink down low
Maybe you don’t lash out in your anger, maybe it festers down deep, like hot lava bubbling within as the pressure builds? You may not erupt outwardly but the sulfuric steam coats your mind in stinky thick resentment.
Your fury burns low but lethal. You withhold, you shut down, you put up the “I’m fine” sign around the edges of your heart—but you might implode at any given moment. You're dangerous. But you temper your fury by trying to hold it together. Unfortunately, just as the anger sinks in, sin seeps out. It’s only a matter of time until you lose it all in an explosion of emotion.
What sinks in eventually shoots out
“Anger. I had buried it in order to cope and move on. But deep in the heart soil it had sent out roots of something a little too close to hatred”(Dragons and Dirt, by Dalene Reyburn, pg. 70).
Sinking deep in the heart soil
Remember Cain; he was a tiller of the ground. His job was to cultivate things that grow (much like the job description of moms). Just like us he had to contend with heart soil too. Do you recall how he offered a gift to God, the fruit of the ground, but it was not regarded by the LORD like his brother’s fatty offering was? And Cain became angry.
“Then the LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it. And Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him” (Genesis 4:6-8).
Maybe he felt overlooked, misunderstood or unappreciated? So he retaliated. Cain’s anger did more than sink down deep, it did more than break things...it killed.
Are your angry looks, poisonous words and quick temper killing the spirit of those around you?
Let that sink in
As I find myself slamming into this issue, more times than I’d care to admit, and encountering the sharp stench of my sin, I realize that it really comes down to the heart, doesn’t it?
I can try to modify my outward behavior but I need the Master Gardner to come and cultivate the fertile soil of my soul, where the seeds of bitterness sink in and sprout roots.
What can we do within the weight and pull of sinful roots that have gone too long and wrap us up in bondage? Oh, dear sister, let us remember the heaviness, the weight of bondage and bitter pain that took place when our short-tempered sin—past, present and future—was laid upon Jesus.
He took on all our sin, all the dirt, so that we could live forgiven and free. He absorbed the wrath of God’s righteous holy anger so that we didn’t have to. The cost for our sin was death and He came and stood in our place (see Romans 6:23).
Back to the sink we go
This time I'm not standing at the kitchen basin with anger coursing through my veins. I'm not throwing anything now but my sin down, my angry woman down at the foot of the cross. I'm here at this metaphorical sink full of hot soapy water, ready to roll up my sleeves and let His kind and shame-free cleansing leave me white as snow.
Yes, because of His Kindness, this cleansing and changing is possible. Because He was an acceptable sacrifice offered on behalf of this tightly wound woman, I can be wiped clean. And if I can be cleaned up here at the sink of His kind sacrifice then any woman can.
“His kindness is intended to lead (us) to repentance.” (Romans 2:4b)
Tears of gratitude that can fill a sink
When we repent, He relents. Like He did with the people of Nineveh. When they were faced with their pending destruction, they called a fast (Jonah 3:5) and called on God earnestly, turning from their wicked ways and the violence which was in their hands. God withdrew His burning anger so they would not perish (Jonah 3:9-10).
This is good news! Jonah 4:2b says, “...You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger, and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.”
There is hope—beyond our hangups, hurts and hatred. Hope beyond our broken dishes and broken hearts. We find salvation, restoration and healing as we reflect on what Jesus has done on our behalf.
Let's sink down to our knees and pray:
Dear Jesus, Thank You for what You did for us on the Cross. Thank You for Your salvation, forgiveness and deliverance. We need You desperately. We have tried to justify and pretty up our sin, please forgive us. Would you remove the root of sin and teach us how to live differently? We cannot do this on our strength and know-how. Please show us a more excellent way—the way of Love—Your way. Thank You for loving us no matter what and for dying and rising again so that we can truly live; whole and free. Amen.
Katie M. Reid is the Tightly Wound Woman, a recovering perfectionist who fumbles to receive and extend grace in everyday moments. She delights in her hubby and four children and their life in ministry. Studying God’s Word, singing/songwriting, speaking, writing, photography and cut-to-the-chase conversations are a few of her favorite things.