I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
By Nicole Arong (WITHIN Devotional Contributor)
“Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” (Proverbs 16:32 ESV)
Last Sunday, I listened to a sermon on Proverbs 16:32 dealing with anger. As usual, the sermon was timely, as I had been dealing with anger on a deeper level, lately. I had been feeling as though it was stirring up in me and at any minute, it could burst like the old wine skins that Jesus had mentioned.
Feeling motivated by the sermon, I quickly assured myself that the week ahead would be better. I would control my anger and try harder not to get so frustrated. Life has come with so many changes during this pandemic and I have been trying to balance working from home, homeschooling, making meals, keeping the house clean, and caring for my husband...all with my high type A standard. But it wasn’t working. And while reflecting on the sermon, I reminded myself that the anger I was feeling in response wasn’t a righteous anger and I needed to let it go. So, I told myself I would.
During the following days, moments that could have easily been a burst of anger, dissipated into a slow leak. The anger was not extinguished but I had managed to slow it down. Then in the middle of the week, when we had our Community Group, a point was made that stuck with me: When you are angry you need to ask yourself, “What do I want in this? What is making me angry?”
I wrestled with those questions for most the night. What is it? I love my kids and I love being with them and I appreciate my job and the flexibility it had provided. But it finally clicked- what made me angry is that I want to succeed; I don’t want to fail. My identity had been compromised. I realized that my anger wasn’t as tied to my outside circumstances as it was to what was going on inside of me. I had forgotten my identity. It is in my nature to cling to works, forgetting that they can no longer condemn me or save me. More often than not, I make much of what I can accomplish.
In the day to day grind, it is easy to push truth aside. In the prioritization of our time, we can forget to bathe in grace and truth. I have to remind myself that I am a daughter before I am a mother, wife, or an employee. I am His. I am a child of God, paid for by Christ, and He has promised to love me. In his eyes, I cannot fail and through His Word, He has lovingly provided me truth and promises to rest in. He loves me in spite of me and not because of me. And His love is no longer tethered to my works.
What I had been doing, I had been doing on my own. I was trying to carry the world by my own strength and was terrified of the failure that would come if I couldn’t. I was trying to do it alone and without prayer and I was terrified of the outcome. I was trying to impress my kids, my boss, myself and yet forgetting to commune with Him who loves me most.
Ultimately, I must remember that I do not fail or succeed according to the world’s standard. “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10)
I am called to try my best and do all things unto the glory of God. Not to the glory of anyone else including myself.
In a practical sense, that means that this week I will pray. I will make time for God and I will meditate on His truths. I will evaluate my life against God’s standard and not my own. And I am sure God cares very little about the laundry piling up or the positioning of my throw pillows. This week, I will walk as a daughter, loved by her Heavenly Father. And if I feel anger creep up at what I cannot accomplish, I will choose to rest in Christ, knowing that He knows my limitations and loves me still.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The weekly devotionals seek to encourage you to dig deeper into Scripture as you take the time to daily read, meditate, and internalize the verses in the devotional, along with the passages provided below to give greater context. Take the time to read them throughout the week (repetition is important) and ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp what God is showing you about Himself, about you, and how to live in light of these truths.
Passages to read/memorize/meditate:
Questions to Reflect on: