Monday, June 25, 2012

Look Out! She is Going to Blow! by Jayne Ferriss

It's so interesting that when God wants to teach you something, every area around that topic seems to become exaggerated. I think I have raised my voice probably 4 times this weekend at the kids. More than I have in 6 months. So from the recent parenting webinar to this post on anger. I think it's possible that God may be teaching me something in a new area. 

Now I would love to introduce you all to Jayne Ferriss. She is an incredible woman and a mother to 6 lovely children. She has not only raised them on her own but home schooled them too. She was also our local church's children's Pastor for years encouraging many of us to help the younger generation gain a greater understanding of the love of God in their lives. As she heads into a new season, with all of her kids now teenagers and up, I have been in awe with how she navigates life while allowing the Holy Spirit to guide her and lead her to learn more and more about God and herself.

When I asked Jayne to write something for my blog I gave her full reign to write what she believed God put on her heart to share and so she sent this topic to me. It's a bit of a touchy subject so we would MORE than love to hear some feedback and opinions about what you read! Jayne has said she would love to keep an eye out and discuss any thoughts that you have!!!!



Look Out! She is Going to Blow!
By Jayne Ferriss


Okay Girls admit it; it happens to all of us. You know those emotionally charged angry outbursts that stop everyone in the house in their tracks. We have all experienced those days when it feels like someone is about to step on our last nerve, and we are going to blow a gasket. Whether our outburst is the result of stepping barefoot on a piece of Lego after you have asked the kids to pick them up 100 times or from racing out to buy glue at 10 o’clock at night so your teenager can finish their project the night before it’s due. As a mom of six children, who home schooled for 12 years, I can say that I have erupted in angry outbursts too many times to count, but I have learned that experiencing anger is a normal part of life. There are many things that can be the underlying cause of our anger, like hormonal changes in our body, lack of sleep, prolonged stress, relational problems, poor health, lack of support, grief, loss or some deep pain in our soul. No matter what the cause of our anger, there are some things I have come to understand about my anger that has helped me deal with it more appropriately. I hope they help you too!

First of all, God gave us our emotions when He made us, so anger is a God given emotion. We are made in the image of God and have all the same emotions He does. The Bible tells us that God laughs, cries, sorrows, and gets angry. I remember when I first realized this how much it helped me. As a child I was taught it is wrong to be angry, so I would always feel so guilty and ashamed of myself when I lost my temper. This shame would make me try harder to be patient and kind and I would push down my anger or mask it. I did not understand that anger that is not expressed becomes depressed inside of me and saps the energy that I need to move forward. Sometimes we get stuck in an angry phase because we do not deal with the root issue. We need to embrace and acknowledge our feelings of anger not deny them of pretend we are fine. We need to be able to give expression to our anger in an appropriate way.

In time I began to understand that my anger was like a really loud fire alarm ringing out. It was indicating to everyone that there was a problem and it was time to pay attention. When a volunteer fire fighter hears the alarm he doesn`t just spring into action, he has to wait for instructions to learn where he is to go and what he is to do. Anger is like that, it is trying to tell us something. It is telling us we are feeling at risk or violated in some way. Our anger also tells others what we value. For example when I see a news report about a man abusing a little child, I get angry. I might even make a raw suggestion as to what the police should do to him. What does my anger tell you about me? It says clearly that “I LOVE and VALUE children”. It is much the same when your kids take a purple marker to the recently painted dining room walls. Of course you get upset and rightly so, because you value your house, your effort, your time, your energy and your budget.

I use to be afraid that being angry in front of my children would scar them for life. I was raised in an abusive home and I wanted to raise my kids differently. Abuse not anger is what leaves scars; fits of rage and tantrums are what is truly damaging to a child. Anger that is motivated by love, remembers that while wrong behaviour needs to be dealt with, the identity and value of the one committing that wrong behaviour needs to be respected and honoured. That means we don’t use our anger in a way that brings shame, embarrassment, or fear. Our goal is not to have our children obey because they are afraid of us. If this is the case the outcome will be that they eventually stop coming to us for help because they know they are going to be shamed and embarrassed.

In Ephesians 4:26, the Bible tells us to “Be angry but not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your wrath.” I believe we sin in our anger when we hurt others with our words by accusing, blaming, or shaming, or by expressing our anger forcefully by acting violently toward people or inanimate objects. When we feel anger, we need to slow ourselves down and pay attention to what that anger is really sounding off about. What is the risk or danger to me? Why do I feel so upset about this? What is my anger telling me? What is it that I am valuing that has been violated? As we take time to do this we can then articulate what we are feeling and why and before the sun goes down, we can make things right. When we sit our kids down and explain why we yelled at them and what it is we are upset about, we will be teaching them to value what we value, but more importantly they will learn how to deal with anger.

One closing thought, if you struggle with angry outbursts on a regular basis and screaming tantrums are more normal for you than not, you may need to seek professional help to sort out the anger buried within you. The abuse from my childhood was a bigger issue than I could carry alone and the best and most loving thing I ever did for my family and friends was to get professional help to bring healing to my soul.

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Again feel free to comment or ask questions. We would love to hear from you!

4 comments:

  1. Thank you Jayne, for your insight into this "touchy" topic.
    Since having my son, God has been showing me areas in my life I need to grow and learn in, and anger is certainly one of them (and patience!). I often feel guilt and shame in correlation with my anger (and for a long time after) and I think taking a few moments to ask myself the questions you've provided will be so helpful in understanding why I'm feeling the way I do.
    Again, thank you and I look forward to another guest post from you!

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    1. You are welcome Emily. I remember as a new mom feeling the weight of responsibility for how my children would turn out. I put so much energy in trying to be this perfect parent that it caused me to notice every little thing the kids did wrong. I was embarassed, frustrated and angry because I believed their behaviour was a reflection on me. So I would become even more of a drill seargent being hard on with the goal of getting them to behave right. Ok so that always backfires! The result was that they would misbehave more, then I would lose it and be harder on them and myself. It was a cycle of failure,anger,shame,blame and guilt. In time I learned that their behaviour wasn't a reflection on me, it was a reflection of the atmosphere my tension and anger created. I needed to learn to relax and enjoy my kids. When I stopped expecting perfection from myself and them our home became more peaceful, accepting and joyful and yes, they behaved better. We need to remember when we blow it and get angry that we can ask forgiveness from God, our kids and ourselves. We need to shake off the guilt and move on! Thanks for sharing!

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  2. This is an interesting and relevant topic for moms. Thank you for your view and explanation of anger. We all have to deal with this at some point in our day/week. I like your comment about how anger shows or defends what we value in life.

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  3. Great topic, though I'm not sure why it was prefaced as a 'touchy" subject?
    Jayne puts it very well - it is an emotion that God has given. As in any emotion, used for either good or evil. I do agree that anger shows what we value, or not!! :)

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