When I was learning to ride a bike, I couldn’t quite get the hang of it. I was frustrated in the grass in our front yard, and every time I tried, I failed. I was so mad that I wasn’t focused anymore, but did I stop to take a break? To cool off?
No. I threw the bike, kicked it and yelled, “Stupid bike!”
I’m 26 and I still throw tantrums like that. I’ll admit it.
They don’t look like 2-year-old fits— after all, I am a grown-up. Although, I’m not kicking and screaming on the floor, I still roll my eyes and mumble under my breath and sometimes, I still throw things (I recently threw a tube of caulking while we were remodeling our bathroom).
My parents have always said I had a short fuse and they warned my husband about it. Usually the cause of my frustration is I haven’t eaten. That’s something my friends and family can handle. They are just sure to make sure I’m fed every few hours.
But sometimes, I’m frustrated just because, and then my keys won’t be in the right place or I’m out of shampoo and it’s all downhill from there.
It’s a challenge to admit it because I know my anger is fueled by the most insignificant things, but my anger is a wildfire. I can feel the heat within me. I can feel the blistering things that I say to others sparking off my tongue, the burning in my head that turns into a headache. I used to say it was “just my personality.”
“I just snap easily,” I’d say.
“Everyone in my family has a quick temper.”
“I don’t mean it.”
But I realized that it wasn’t me at all, that I wasn’t created to be angry and I certainly wasn’t created to scare people. The trouble is, I’m a wordsmith, and when I’m upset, my words are my swinging sword.
And I never miss.
I know exactly what to say to make it sting. I know exactly where to pinpoint my phrases, and I’m not proud of it.
I keep wanting to be this joyful woman who doesn’t care that she’s out of shampoo, a woman that people want to be around because she always says sweet things.
But that’s not me either, and I realize I have a deep need for Christ or else I’d suffer with the scars of my anger or chase perfection that isn’t real.
My default is anger. I’m good at it. It comes naturally, but Christ has called me to be more than that. Maybe I won’t be the most joyful woman you know, but I’ll be a woman marked by Christ. And that’s enough for me.