The Heart of the Matter

The other day I was reading a blog about a Mom and how she handled her son. He was frustrated with certain events and took his exasperation out on her. I could relate because my kids have done the same thing. They have acted inappropriately in front of others. There are some things you wish everyone around you didn’t have to experience along with you. Shortly after I had my first child, someone told me that there will be times when our kids make our hearts well up with pride. And there are times where they will send you to your knees out of sheer disappointment. I can honestly say I have experienced both sides of the coin.

Last week, I had my own meltdown. I was frustrated with a particular situation and was in a bad mood. And I took it out on my teenager. YIKES!! What I didn’t realize is that he understood what I was doing before I did. He pointed out that he is not the one I am angry at and that I am putting my anger toward another person on him. He was right. I was so determined that he not act as the person I was angry at, that I came down hard on him for no reason. When I read the letter he wrote apologizing for making my life so miserable for thirteen years, I broke down and cried. We sat and talked. And in that moment realized that my son who is becoming a young man knows his Mom better that she knows herself. The sad part about it is that he felt like he has made my life miserable. The child I prayed for making me miserable…no way! But that’s how I was acting. I was treating him as if he were the reason for my frustration. Just like my friend’s son, I too was taking my frustrations out on someone I love. Ugh.

I’m not proud of how I acted that day toward my son but it showed him that I am flawed and human just as he is. It showed him that we all are growing and changing as the Lord works in our lives. This whole teenager thing is not my cup of tea but what I am seeing is that my son needs to know that God is the standard not his Mom. And in situations like these, it is wonderful when forgiveness is given and grace abounds.

So today, I was thinking about anger and frustration. I was thinking about the fact that there are many, many times I take out my disappointments on those I love, even God. There are times I react to my husband or my kids in ways they don’t deserve. And there are times I blame God. It’s so much easier to blame someone than take on the responsibility ourselves. And when you think about it, our frustrations and anger come because our expectations were not met. In my mind, I know how things should be and when they don’t meet with my approval, I become frustrated. Just like my friend’s son, he knew what he wanted and after a few failed attempts, he didn’t get the desired result. His only way to cope was to lash out at someone he loves. Here I am an adult who claims to walk with God and I do the same thing…unbelievable.

“This you know my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” (James 1:20)

I am not trying to be self condemning here, just honest. I try to be honest with myself, because there is no room for pride when I see the real me. I am thankful that God is not finished with me yet. And I am thankful to live with a family that understands and extends forgiveness. I figure, if God didn’t see this as a problem for all of us, He would not have addressed it in His Word. I guess that’s comforting too. My point today is that our unmet expectations cause us to act unbecomingly. They cause us to lash out. They cause us to blame others. They cause us to be angry at God. It’s important is that we look beyond the action to the heart. Whether you are the recipient of bad behavior or the person acting out in anger, it’s important to get to the heart of the matter.


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