In my recent Stripped Bare post I spoke about how I felt irritability was getting the better of me, and how I felt God was telling me that I needed to be stripped bare, that I really needed to get down to the real reason that I was letting myself get so irritated about pretty much everything. I discussed that what I do matters, but who I am matters more.
To be honest, I have been struggling. You write something, and you stand by it, then the same issues just keep happening over and over again. You start to think you have a handle on what’s going on, then you realise you don’t.
I had some revelation last week, and it’s really changed my perspective. I met with a wonderful lady, who is a great friend, and spoke through some things that I was struggling with. As is the case in so many of these conversations, you start by talking about the irritations, and who or what is irritating you and why, then very quickly you realise that it is not the who or what, that are the problem. I had been doing some reading after my last post and came across a blog called Lies Young Women Believe. There was a particular article called The Ugly Mess of Stress by Samantha Nieves , which really spoke to me. She discussed what happens when we are stressed, what comes out of us and how it comes out, using the analogy of a cup of tea and coffee. It’s a great post, please give it a read. As I discussed this with my friend I explained the impact it had, had on me, I also spoke about how I felt dealing with small things can translate to how you deal with bigger issues in life, but as was pointed out to me that’s not always the case.
I have dealt with some big issues. J being so unwell, was a major life altering time for us both. We literally had to deal with life and death. Having children, and going through birth is awesome, and terrifying all at the same time, and is completely life changing. I realised that I was and still am able to deal with these big things fairly well. Its not to say I don’t have moments where I get scared or overwhelmed, but I can handle them. When I think about this I am beginning to understand that these big situations deal with things that are far far far outside anything that I could ever even contemplate trying to control. Having faith and knowing that God is in control of these things gives me hope, it puts me at ease. These two examples are also times of particular vulnerability in my life, where I was out of control, and I had to have faith.
Why then when smaller everyday life things happen, do I handle it so badly? I will give you some examples. BB had an accident in bed so we needed to change the sheets and put the washing on at 5.30am ish. That in itself was irritating but we handled it ok. J stripped the bed and took it all downstairs and put the machine on. The machine was making an unusually loud thumping sound, but we just got on with stuff. Mornings can be really frantic with the school run routine. Getting up, washed, dressed, breakfast and then getting out of the door by 8.15 ish if we are walking is quite a task. Especially when BB doesn’t want to get dressed, or is just taking ages to eat a piece of toast! We manage it though, Monday to Friday, and it’s fine, apart from when your washing machine leaks all over the kitchen floor and in the cupboard under the sink, and you tread in it with your sock. I was not happy and dealt with it badly, shouting, and generally being grumpy. I was like a tornado that managed to clean it up in record time, but my stress levels were going up and up. J quickly went upstairs to escape, whilst BB and LP looked at me like ‘ok Mum, we are not going to mess with you right now’ looks. In the end it was fine, after apologies everything went back to normal (ish), but I didn’t like how I had acted, and didn’t want the boys to see that.
BB is doing great at school, but back at home is another story. He is tired and grumpy, demanding, shouty (hmm I wonder where he gets that from?). It’s hard to deal with him some days and we keep clashing. We have not been dealing with him well recently.
Being a parent is hard work. Im not sure anyone can ever really truly tell you just how hard it can be sometimes. I love our boys they are wonderful, but somedays they drive me nuts. It’s no wonder that the small things can make you irritable and angry.
The things is, I don’t want that to be my default. I know what I can be like and I don’t like it. It’s not who I am, and I don’t want to make excuses for it.
My revelation came from realising that when I was younger I was fairly anxious, never about bigger things. Exams and stuff like that were ok, but smaller things, things that other people managed fine, they were my downfall. I had many years of not really truly understanding why I felt so anxious, and where it really is even rooted. Perhaps I may never know, but I finally understood that when things were out of my control, I couldn’t deal with them. Back then I was so anxious I made myself unwell, that doesn’t happen now, but instead when I can’t deal with something, the anger comes out. I’ve grown up, but I’ve brought the things with me.
It seems like the small things are easy to control in our lives. We like to be independent and be seen to be in control of our lives. Oh the shame if people realised that we find it harder than we care to admit and need help. That shouldn’t be difficult, but it is.
My friend was explaining to me that back then, when I couldn’t deal with what was happening, when things got turned upside down, and I couldn’t explain it, I didn’t have any tools (if you like) to put things in place to counteract what was happening. However now, this is not the case. I have God, I have faith. When those irritations come at me, I need to put God in that place, I need to call up those pieces of scripture that I know, and are helpful to me. It’s all there in the Bible, the key to dealing with everything that life throws at us. Sometimes we are too good at sticking a plaster over the situation and hoping for the best. However when things happen we need to properly fix them. We used the analogy of fixing the washing machine when we were talking. It leaked, we didn’t just leave it, or put a bandage on it. We looked at what the problem was, we took time to figure it out, then we fixed it. If it isn’t fixed properly, it’s just going to happen again, maybe it might be worse.
I will leave you with this piece of scripture and the prayer that was prayed for me.
Phillipians 4 4-7 (ESV) Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.