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May 16, 2012
 

You Make Me So Mad — er Joyful!

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Written by: Shari Popejoy
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Today’s Marriage Tip: Don’t allow the shortcomings of others to cause you trouble or rebuke. Maintain self-control in the face of others’ sins, weaknesses or failures. Don’t let the truth of the imperfect moment steal the perfection that awaits you in future maturity.

I’ve often thought that parents of only one child had it easy! They just deal with one set of issues. Add a few siblings and it gets interesting! I think that one of the most challenging aspects of parenting is the sibling interactions!

I find it easy to feed, clothe and care for children. The hard part is in settling the squabbles, dictating the disputes, and protecting them from each other!

I think back to my own childhood and realize that most of the things that I got in trouble for were because of a reaction to a sibling conflict. And often my siblings were actually at fault initially (they admit it now!) —  but my reaction got the attention — and the discipline! They smirked angelically and quietly in the corner. . . the good children. . . while I received my just desserts – me, ranting and raving like a lunatic, now with the added injustice of the lonely punishment. (I might be exaggerating a bit!)

I’ve often joked that I’d be nearly perfect if I didn’t have children (or a husband. . . or annoying co-workers. . . or inept service personnel. . . or whiny complainers) to reveal my own selfishness, irritabilities, imperfections, impatience, etc.! :-) Wouldn’t we all?!

But we were not created to live in isolation, but in community. . . in family. . . in the Body of Christ.

It is the day-to-day friction that reveals our own flaws, allowing us to be perfected through trials.

That early pattern of overreacting to the mistakes of others followed me into my marriage. In the early days, I would put up with things until I’d reached the boiling point, and then my lid would fly off with disastrously messy results.

In truth, because I had avoided dealing with the problem earlier, I would react completely irrationally, to the immediate problem, and I would end up being the one who had to apologize because of my overreaction.. . . while the perpetrator was left unpunished, free to victimize again! Okay, I’m overreacting again!

How should we react when someone pushes our buttons?

Count it all joy!

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4

It is in maintaining self-control in conflict, choosing to react in a loving manner, that allows you to grow and mature into perfection. It is pure joy when you learn this! And it relieves a lot of unneeded stress in the meantime. Plus, one other benefit — it allows the person at fault to take responsibility for their own actions, since they can’t place any blame for wrong-doing on you; it keeps you from being dragged into the conflict and blame and guilt.

So, what’s the best thing to do when others are letting off steam? When they’re about to boil over?

“If a ruler’s anger rises against you, do not leave your post; calmness can lay great errors to rest.” Ecclesiastes 10:4

You be the calm, sane one! You bring peace into the potion!



About the Author

Shari Popejoy
Shari Popejoy is the author of the book Won Without Words, and the blog Won Without Words, encouragement to wives. She writes the Livingstone Library, an adventure series for young people, and the blog Oh Joy!, (injoyinc.com/oh/) for busy moms. She is a frequent contributor to Christian print and online magazines, and writes from the quiet country of the Ozarks, where she lives with her husband, Marc, and their three children. You can find out all about her at sharipopejoy.com!



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