Archives for September 2014

8 steps to free yourself of aggravation

aggravation

Sometimes I get aggravated over really simple things.  Like this morning.  I subscribe to text notifications of one of my favorite pastor’s tweets.   I’m guessing that something went wrong this morning, because I got around 10 text messages within ten minutes…so for the last ten minutes my phone’s been making noise.  And each time I go to look…the first two were okay…but every one after that, my annoyance…my aggravation intensified.  Did I want to throw my phone out the window?  No, but trying to write a blog with my phone going off proved to be a challenge.

“Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.” ~Ambrose Bierce

1.  You have a choice.

Yes, you really do have a choice.  We live in an imperfect world with many imperfect people.  (Me included!)  Because we are born with a sinful nature, we will…yes…sin.  We have times we make mistakes.  Things go wrong.  Sometimes we make poor choices.  It happens.  A lot.  We are put into situations multiple times a day.  Newly married? New job? Even more so…  So why not start out the day with a decision or a choice.  A right choice.  Not to ignore when things go wrong, but to choose living the way God wants us to live.

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2.  Question the purpose.

I can’t help but think of the guy who’s alarm didn’t go off the morning of September 11th.  He rushed out the door, barely said goodbye to his wife and kids, aggravated that he was late.  He didn’t even have time to grab a cup of coffee as he rushed out the door, cursing his stupid alarm clock.  He was on the train when he heard the news about a plane crashing into his office building at The World Trade Center.

It’s a habit to develop for sure.  A habit of questioning why this inconvenience is happing to me.  Ask “why is this happening?”  You may not ever know…  But having faith that God is in control helps.

3.  Where’s your focus?

EVERY time I get aggravated, it’s because my focus is on myself.  It’s my selfishness that robs me of my joy and happiness.

4.   Learn to respond instead of react.

thomasjeffersonquote

Angry people seem to act first, and think later.  No doubt Thomas Jefferson’s advice (quoted above) to count to ten or even a hundred before speaking while angry is aimed at giving people time to reflect on the consequences of their actions and possibly avoid impulsive, destructive acts that will be regretted later.

When I get aggravated and want to react immediately, the outcome NEVER comes out in my favor. I mess it up every time.  Mostly because my emotions take over my brain and I’m unable to think straight.  But when I take the time to step back, and think through my response, I do much better.  I’m able to reason.  I’m not crying.  I’m not angry.  I respond out of respect and love instead of anger and frustration.

5. Controlling actions instead of emotions

I really struggle controlling my emotions some times.  No matter how much I tell myself to calm down…I can’t get my heart to stop beating fast or my palms to stop sweating.  Yesterday I spent the day in court.  We were seeking to protect the grandson I’m raising from a mother who has repeatedly put him in dangerous situations.  My heart was racing when the judge called our case.  I felt sick to my stomach.  I couldn’t control those things.  But I could control my actions.  I didn’t speak to the mother.  I avoided even looking at her.  I smiled.  (Amazing how smiling actually calmed my heart and stomach!)

6.  Set the example

Do you have a spouse or a child who gets aggravated frequently? Is it because they’ve seen you get aggravated?  My 2 year old is like a sponge.  He is picking up on emotions and actions.  If he sees his father get frustrated in traffic, he then comes home and gets frustrated with his toys.  He’s learned it.  He’s seen it.  Sometimes just knowing that you are teaching others around you to act like you is enough motivation to make a change.  It may be a child or it may be a spouse…

7. What response do you want?

If you get aggravated with me, then my immediate reaction is to become aggravated with you.  Your aggravation doesn’t motivate me.  It doesn’t make me love you more.  It doesn’t make me move faster.  Perhaps you don’t even know you’re displaying aggravation… Well wake up and become aware.  Nit-picking, bickering, insults….they are not attractive!  And no one likes to be around a couple who nag on each other…  It truly will ruin your social life!

7.  Start Journaling

My biggest help to dealing with frustration and aggravation is to take it to paper with a pen.  I’ve been journaling since I was 11 years old.  When it goes down on paper, somehow it helps me to deal with the emotions I’m struggling to control.  (And yes…my journaling is now translating into blogging!)

8.  Learning to Laugh

I laughed today when the 10th text came in.  I thought, if this pastor knew how his system of sending out tweets failed, I’m sure he’d be scratching his head…struggling with frustration I’m sure!  So try to laugh… It’s much more fun to smile than frown.  Feels better to be happy than angry…

Broken Hearts & Growing Stronger

My pastor told me awhile back that I had a ministry with broken women.

Huh?

Yes.  A Ministry.

But I’m broken…

That’s the kind God likes to use…

Okay…I’m in.  I have a ministry with broken women…

When you’re called to minister to the homeless, you go to a homeless shelter.  When you’re called to be a missionary to Mexico, you go to….Mexico.  But minister to broken women?  Where would I go?

Well I didn’t have to go very far.  All of my very close friends are broken, too.  (They would be the first to admit that.)

When I was in College, I used to go white water rafting on the Rogue River in Medford Oregon.  I remember the first time I went.  I was in the raft with my high school friend Cindy.  It was a pretty terrifying trip.  Every turn was something different.  We didn’t have a guide.  We didn’t have a map.  We just headed out and practically screamed the entire way.  Here’s the thing, the second trip wasn’t scary at all.  I pretty much knew where the twists and turns were.  I knew where the big rocks were.  That second trip, and every one after that, was a much better experience.

rogueriver

You know where I’m going, yes?  When you’ve been down that river…

Being broken isn’t all that bad.  It’s the breaking process that is horrible.

A little over 2 years ago I started going to Crossfit.  I could barely lift a barbell (with no weights) I couldn’t run to the end of the driveway.  I couldn’t do a single sit-up.  My coach sat on my feet, and even then it was a huge struggle to squeeze out one.  I remember vividly getting that one sit-up done, and laying back down exhausted…spent.

Last week my coach was pushing me to do something really hard.  I looked over at her  and whined….almost crying…I hate this!  It’s HARD!!!  She sweetly smiled at me…and said…”Keep going.  This is making you stronger!”  I felt like throwing up.  I wanted to quit.  But she stood there…talking me through the last few minutes of the workout.  “Keep going…you can do this…you got this!”IMG_4518

Here’s the really cool thing.  It is making me stronger.  I can now lift a barbell easily.  (Okay…I’ll brag…I can lift 270 pounds now.)  100 sit-ups doesn’t scare me.  Everything she has put me through, from every squat, burpee, dead lift… to a weighted sit-up, it’s all designed to make me stronger…make me fitter.

Being broken is a lot like that. When we go through a season of breaking, a time of trials, challenges, and disappointments, we have an opportunity to either fail, quit or become stronger.  Being broken helps us build the muscles of our faith.  It can give us the caliber of strength we’ll need for what lies just around the corner.

When you’re in the middle of being broken, it’s hard to look up and see that you’re strengthening your muscle, so that you can lift more next time.  Or handle something far more devastating…  It all just hurts.

I’m here to tell you….you can do this.  I know it’s hard.  But this will strengthen you so that the next time something harder comes along…you’ll be able to get through it.

I wish there was an easier way to get stronger.  But the only way to get stronger is to lift heavy things.

What’s your heavy thing you’re lifting?

Here are some of the latest broken hearts I’ve witnessed from some of my friends and family:  Ovarian cancer that has spread throughout the body.  A husband who yells and screams at his wife as a response to his stress.  A spouse who’s been unfaithful.  A parent’s diagnosis with Alzheimer’s.  A husband’s death due to suicide.  A child’s diagnosis of Muscular Dystrophy.

Proverbs 3:5-6   Trust God from the bottom of your heart;

    don’t try to figure out everything on your own.

Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;

    he’s the one who will keep you on track.

So now that I’m facing another custody challenge with another child, I’ve learned to put my trust in God.  My own strength is nothing in comparison to it being in the hands of my heavenly father.  Someone last week said, “You don’t seem to be too rattled over all this drama.  I guess you’ve been to this rodeo before…”

igotthis

My Crossfit Coach Heidi wearing the head band I designed.

Yes.  I’ve been to the rodeo.  I’ve already been down this river.  In reality, my muscles are much stronger.  I have a coach standing over me saying…”Keep going….you cans do this.  YOU GOT THIS!”

Books that have helped me: