Temper tantrums…what’s the point?

I have a confession to make.  I threw a full out, fist-clenched, ear-shattering, nostril-flaring temper tantrum this morning.  I am ashamed to admit it.  I’m ashamed that I did it.

And it was over socks.  My daughter was pokey in getting ready for school.  Time was running out.  It .  She wasn’t moving fast enough (in my mind) to find socks, and I lost it.  BIG TIME!  Over socks!

Well, socks was the trigger.   Of course, later I realized that the issue wasn’t really socks.  It was emotional baggage and pressure.  Over the past week, I had allowed some irritations, disappointments, and frustrations to pile up in my soul, and poison my stability.  When the smallest irritation of un-socked feet hit my radar, I blew my stack.

Have you ever had one of those types of temper tantrums?  I felt this weird dichotomy of emotions.  I felt both terrific and terrible.  I felt completely justified in my rage, but ashamed of it as well.  Over the roar of my own scream I could also hear myself saying “Maureen, you’re out of control.  Stop it now.”  But I also felt completely incapable of stopping myself.  And when I did stop, I felt spent.  Like finally, the world was back on it’s correct axis.  But was it?

What did it accomplish?  Well, let’s make a list.  My daughter got scared.  My son was shocked.  My husband got mad.  And I was late for the car pool.  (And I was the car pool driver, so I risked making 4 students late for school.)  What else?  It wiped me out.  I needed a 2 hour nap when I got home so no other work got done.  It stripped my joy because I was overwhelmed with guilt, shame and lingering bitterness.  I was deflated when I was around my friends.  It put distance between me and my kids and my husband.  The event crept into my thoughts all day and cast a dark cloud over all my activities.  And I needed yet ANOTHER nap in the afternoon.

That’s a big price to pay for the luxury of a temper tantrum.

The bible says in James 1:20 “For man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” I subconsciously thought my temper tantrum would align the planets in my world, fix all the  wrongs in my life and certainly put the skewed needle of my stress meter back to normal.   How deceived I was.  It did none of that.  All I did was trade one stress for another, and the new stress now dragged along some innocent victims.  My selfish act of a meltdown was like spewing shrapnel in the serenity of my family.

That is SURELY not righteous.  Certainly not what God desires.

What else could I have done?  Perhaps I should have done a better job of watching the pressure of my irritations through the week.  I could have had my meltdown in private so my kids wouldn’t see it.  At the very least, I should have made sure my daughter had socks laid out the night before.

I spent a lot of time praying about my failure.  I apologized to my kids and husband, asking for their forgiveness.  What I did was flat out wrong.  There are so many other Godly ways to respond to stress.  A childlike temper tantrum wasn’t one of them.

Lord, help me to find the right ways to respond, so I CAN help bring about the righteousness that you desire.

And remind me to stop at Walmart to buy some socks.

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