Relationships, Showing love

Breaking the Anger Cycle

margueriteBanana bread wafts from the kitchen. My three kids’ bellies are pleasantly full of the warm treat as the sun quiets its rays through sheer curtains. The smell of fall fills our home with hope for the new season. 

A piercing scream interrupts the sweet silence.

My youngest child’s pounding feet shake the floor as she screams, “Stop it!” 

“No, she did!” the oldest yells toward me.  

I sigh deeply.  Another day, another argument. 

Does your house sound the same? Maybe you don’t have young children, but you know these heightened volumes and tight chest all too well from your childhood or those closest to you. 

I used to join in and loudly demand the kids to stop and go to their rooms. Or even worse, I’d yell, “Don’t yell!” with no results. 

Through desperate prayer and time in the Bible, God reminded me of these wise words from the Old Testament book of Proverbs, 

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1 NIV).

Now, we are putting this into practice. Instead of parenting from the other room, I walk to the room they are in, get down to their level, and say, “Gentle answer.” This is our reminder to stop, take a breath, and pray for help. We are allowed to check anyone in our home with this phrase. Sometimes we immediately change our tone and peacefully move forward, diffusing the situation, while other times, a calm-down break is needed. 

I avoid arguments, but those closest to me may experience my nippy words or harsh tone which demand my way. God’s Word says to be delicate in our response. 

Calm words turn away the burning anger within. My words and how I say them can either incite more anger or diffuse a situation. Often, hurt people want to shout everything that is wrong. This wise proverb says the opposite. Instead of spitting fire, we are to remain gentle and calm. Nothing good comes from one person walking away defenseless and weak, and another prideful and outraged. Calm words turn away the burning anger within. My words and how I say them can either incite more anger or diffuse a situation. Click To TweetGinnyQuoteAnger

God brings His peace into our frustrating situations, and we can trust that He will work it out for us. 

As I taste the sweet banana bread and sip my coffee, I reflect on the impact of words. Do they cause shame and accusation or bring life? Am I helping to shift an argument to a peace-filled conversation?God brings His peace into our frustrating situations, and we can trust that He will work it out for us. Click To Tweet

How are you responding gently to anger around you? Are your words and tone soft or harsh? What strategies can you use to make your answers more gentle?

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Meet Ginny Davidson!

Ginny Davidson's author headshotGinny is an overcomer, brain tumor survivor, wife, and mother boldly declaring God’s hope and peace. After completing her M.A. in Education from Grand Canyon University, she speaks so others can experience freedom from anxiety and life change. Whether it’s a conversation over a steaming cup of chai on her couch or sharing with a group at a retreat or Bible study, Ginny is compelled to share the message of the peace-filled life to a world of women plagued by fear. In the evenings she can be found outside with her husband and kids, attending dance parties around the record player in the living room, or highlighting a great book.

fear

When Others Deem Our Actions Foolish

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Sometimes the best choices are the hardest to make. Sometimes wisdom appears foolish and faith fanatical. As a young mother striving to live for Jesus, I quickly learned just how contrary the things of God can appear to some.

When I chose to stay home, some deemed me lazy.

When I attempted to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance and guard our daughter’s influences, I was accused of sheltering her. I was told my actions would ultimately harm her and leave her maladjusted.

My attempts to explain, or perhaps more accurately, to defend my choice, didn’t help. My discussion of God’s leading—of His gentle voice, spoken softly yet clearly to my heart—and the deep assurance that followed made no sense to those who had never heard Him or hadn’t learned to discern His voice.

Perhaps some even found me delusional:

“She claims to hear from God,” they say, with a raised eyebrow and slight smirk. “Does she talk to the Easter Bunny too?”

Over time, I learned to be a little more cautious regarding what I shared and with whom. And honestly, I hate that. I hate that I so often allow other people’s opinions to hold me back. I wish, like Paul, I could boldly and consistently say, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes …” (Romans 1:16, ESV) and then back this up with my actions.

I’ve been ridiculed by my peers. He’d been imprisoned for his faith. I’d stood against cultural opposition to raise our daughter. He stood against the religious elite and angry mobs. I’ve been excluded from certain groups due to my “passion for Jesus”, but he’d been smuggled out of Berea in order to save his life.

There’s a lot of reasons I could give for why, at times, sharing the gospel makes my stomach knot and my palms text image using quote pulled from postget sweaty, and yet, in each instance, it comes down to this—whenever I stifle God’s message within, I’m putting my pride above someone else’s salvation.

When I look at it that way, my concerns and fears seem petty at best.

I imagine Paul felt as I have, on many occasions. Otherwise why the need to make such a bold and declarative statement—for I am not ashamed. Unless maybe he’d been tempted to feel ashamed in the past—perhaps when mobs of angry people shook their fists at him, spit on him, and hurled stones at him. Or perhaps others, maybe even believers in Rome, had demonstrated that they were ashamed of him. Or maybe he was simply stating a fact with all the courage the Holy Spirit allowed—I am not ashamed! No matter what others say, no matter how foolish or irrational my words appeared, I choose to speak life.

Even if it costs me mine.

Lord, help me have that same confidence Paul demonstrated again and again, regardless how others respond or how unpopular Your message appears. Because life’s too short and there’s too much at stake for any of Your children to remain silent.

Life’s much too short and Your love for the broken too strong for any of us, Your mouthpieces, to live afraid. Click To Tweet

To the contrary! As ambassadors of the sovereign King, we can walk into any and every situation with our heads held high, our voices sure, and our message clear: “I am not ashamed, and I refuse to be, because the words I speak have power and life.”

Let’s talk about this! When has obedience caused you to look foolish in the moment or left you misunderstood? How did you gain the courage to step forward in faith? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, because we can all learn from and encourage each other. And make sure to engage with us on Facebook and Instagram where we post daily snippets of encouragement!

Faith Over Fear imageIf today’s post encouraged you, make sure to check out Jennifer’s Faith Over Fear podcast, released by Salem Communications. Keep an eye out for her correlating Bible reading plan and weekly video devotions. You’re also invited to participate in her 10-week Faith Over Fear challenge, launching February 6th, through social media. Grab her daily focus calendars HERE.

wisdom

Seeking God’s Wisdom

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Photo by Josh Applegate on Unsplash

Knowledge may fill our minds and  puff up our pride, but wisdom can save relationships, careers, and lives. It’s using what we’ve learned or know to make decisions, and though bookstores are filled with titles claiming to offer the perfect guidance for practically any situation, only the Bible can make good on that promise. 

Colossians 2:2b-3 says we look to “Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and quote pulled from post with sunrise in the backgroundknowledge” (ESV). As we grow closer to Jesus, our spiritual understanding increases. Our thoughts and perspectives change, and because thoughts determine behavior, we began to act as He did—wisely.

Scripture invites us to seek God’s guidance, especially during difficult times. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (ESV).

This summer, I served on a South Dakota reservation teaching Vacation Bible School. One of my favorite days came when a friend introduced the kids to the parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders from Matthew 7:24-27. You may know the story. The wise man set his house on a rock, cutting into it deeply and securing a strong foundation. But the foolish man built on sand, leaving his foundation weak and vulnerable.

It’s as if Jesus is saying, “Don’t be foolish! I’ve given you everything you need to stand strong and secure.”

God’s wisdom can help us navigate the crazy twists and turns of life.

But how?

When we apply what we learn from Scripture to our lives, that knowledge becomes wisdom.

The world tells us to read a self-help or leadership book, attend a seminar, or return to school. And these may be good things, but what if we do all this and are still without answers? What if tragedy comes and we feel lost and confused?

Or, consider the converse. What if we’ve filled our hearts and minds with the truths of God and He uses it, in the middle of our pain, to comfort, guide, and strengthen us? What if He whispers those truths to our heart as we sleep, like we read in Psalm 16:7.

If we build our security on things of this lifetime, sadly, be like the builder who built on the sand and our foundation will crumble. It can’t stand against the storm of life. But if our foundation is built on Jesus and His Word, we’ll be like the wise builder who built on the rock. Storms will come, we may be bruised up, but we will stand firm and not be destroyed.

Teaching those children at Pine Ridge about wisdom reminded me of my own need to invest greatly into reading, learning, studying, memorizing, and meditating on His Word. I don’t want to be caught off guard and make choices based on my limited knowledge. I want His never-changing wisdom to guide me.

Let us ask Jesus for wisdom today. And then immerse ourselves in Scripture, so He can open up our minds to His way, not the world’s.

Did this devotion encourage you?

If so, make sure to check out our Bible reading plan available now on the YouVersion app! You can find Cover image for Bible study devotionalit HERE! And make sure to grab a copy of our 90-day devotional, Drawing Near. You can find that HERE. And check out our FREE Bible study, Becoming His Princess, HERE.