And what did I do? I hid from God. I told myself that I was a failure as a Christian, a failure as a mother, and that I had lost my temper once again. Only after a few days, when my feelings of guilt had calmed down, would I dare creep into His presence with many prayers for forgiveness.
I wish I had understood as a young Christian and young mom that God’s arms were always open to me. But I didn’t. It wasn’t that I was trying to be “good enough” for God, or earn His favor. My guilt and grief came because I loved the Lord so much and it hurt me to live in a way that didn’t honor Him.
One day, desperate for help, I cried out in frustration, “God, how can I ever control my temper? I lose it with Jim (my husband) and the kids before I even know that I’m angry. You’ve got to help me or I’ll never change.”
Shortly after this tear-drenched time with God, I began to notice something I had never sensed before. I became aware of feeling stressed and getting a little irritable. It was as if God gave me a signal, “Poppy, be aware of what’s happening to you.”
After this inner alert the phrase, “Zip your lips” flashed like a warning beacon in my brain. “Don’t say what’s about to come out of your mouth. Swallow it. Talk to Me about it.”
When I found myself about to blurt out angry words I learned to flee to the only safe place in the house—the bathroom! Once there I released both my anger and my adrenaline to the safest person I know: God. Bit by bit, I calmed down and asked God to speak. “Lord, show me why I got so upset. Show me how to respond in Your power and with Your grace. Show me how to build what matters most to me—my relationship with You, and with my husband and children.”
Was I instantly transformed by these repeated experiences? No. But I learned that meltdowns don’t have to result in feeling frustrated and guilty. Instead, they can draw us closer, deepen our gratitude for God’s amazing forgiveness, and cause us to marvel that the Living God is at work in our lives.
As you think of your meltdown moments, ask God to show you:
- What stressors bring me into the meltdown zone?
- What steps can I take before coming unglued?
- What perspective will help me keep calm and reduce my “Mommy Meltdown” moments?
Adapted from “I’m Too Human to Be Like Jesus: Spiritual Growth For the Not So Perfect Woman.”
POPPY SMITH helps audiences across the country and around the world to cultivate a more dynamic walk with God. She is a former Bible Study Fellowship teaching leader and has a Master’s degree in Spiritual Formation and Direction. She has spoken across the United States, in Australia, New Zealand and the U.K., as well as several countries in Africa and Asia.
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