I listen as my 5 year old lists her favorite things about the first week of kindergarten.
Art. Gym. Library. Recess. Spanish class.
My heart is filled with joy as I recognize she’s entered a new stage and so far, she’s loving it!
It only took two days of public school for me to find myself very angry with a newly implemented school policy.
My joy-filled heart over my daughter’s love of school turned foul quickly after listening to a simple school-wide voicemail and I knew I had to get a handle on my emotions – and quick!
Time for an adjustment to my perspective.
While I certainly don’t get this right every time, I’m sharing three tactics to use for maintaining perspective when you find anger rising up in your heart.
1. Reach In
When I experience those first feelings of anger, I know I have just a split second to decide how I’m going to react. It’s that initial trigger that stops me in my tracks and helps me start to reframe the situation to gain perspective.
Andy Stanley, in his book Enemies of the Heart, describes anger as a situation in which we feel like others owe us something. When you start to feel anger bubbling up inside, take a minute to consider what you feel like the other person or organization you’re angry with might owe you. Then decide whether or not that’s actual truth or your heart lying to you.
This pause gives you time to use the other two tactics and prevent overreacting and doing or saying something you’ll regret later.
2. Reach Out
After recognizing my anger with the school policy this week, the next step I took was to call my husband. He’s my rock and the one I turn to when I need a hefty dose of perspective.
Maybe for you reaching out to another person might be a trusted friend or mentor, but regardless of which wise person in your life you choose, reaching out is essential. While this is not the time to gossip about a situation, a wise godly person will help you talk out a situation, calm down a bit, and help you plan your steps moving forward before you act in anger.
In my situation, my husband helped me slow down, reassess the situation, and realize there was a simple solution. In mere minutes, my anger subsided!
3. Reach Up
When we’re angry, why do we often forget to reach up to our creator, the God who made us and knows us inside and out?
I’m learning (ever so slowly) to reach up to God and remember that it’s His Spirit living within me who gives me power to do things I wouldn’t have the strength or power to do on my own.
When we take the time to remember The Comforter is with us, living IN us, it takes our anger down a notch and begs us to reflect on God’s truths instead of the lies we may be believing in the midst of our anger.
What about you? What do you do when anger rises up in your heart to make sure you don’t overreact? Share in the comments so we can all grow together!
Mary Geisen says
Perfect examples of how to handle anger. I love the simplicity of being able to remember them also- reach in, reach out, reach up. As a parent and a teacher, it took me only seconds to get fired up over school policies and most often I reached out before reacting. Thank you for these words today, LeeAnn. Have a beautiful weekend!
LeeAnn G. Taylor says
I think this first example was just the beginning of what is to come. We’ve considered homeschooling in the past because I just don’t care for the rigid school policies but for now, we’re embracing public school. Our community school is within walking distance and has wonderful teachers and staff. Salem is already loving it!
I had another situation today come up that sent me from totally calm to frustrated and then angry within minutes (…seconds…). I’m learning this is a spiritual issue for me and I need to follow my own suggestions on how to handle it.
Reach in/out/up is a quick way to remember it and I’m hoping will produce the fruit in my life when I struggle with this too!
Thank you for your sweet comments and I’m excited about meeting you in person in just a handful of weeks!
What wonderful reminders, and good advice!
Laura Robb says
Great truths, LeeAnn! Reach in, reach out, reach up…yes. Perspective is key for a lot of things. Hope the rest of the year brings much joy instead of those frustrations!
LeeAnn G. Taylor says
Thanks Laura! “Perspective” is a key theme around here on the blog and in our family in general.
Thankful for a husband who daily makes me laugh and helps me view all things within a proper perspective!
Hi, like you I don’t always get it right either, but what a great reminder that is so easy to remember. This is our church’s motto, it about our relationships, community and God. How easy to see the same with how to think before reacting to our feelings of anger. Have a blessed week 🙂
LeeAnn Taylor says
Relationships and community are so important!