WHO TURNED UP THE THERMOSTAT?
I know most of us have heard the expression, "If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen." During the summer months, I tend to purposely stay out of the kitchen, only using the oven if I must.
When the Weather Channel folks predict temperatures will rise above 95 and heat indexes even higher, I’m not trying to plan outdoor activities. Okay. I prefer to stay cozy with the air conditioner as much as possible.
Now I enjoy living in the South during the winter. As I child I was raised in the North and experienced enough snow to last me the rest of my adult life. No matter where you are located, it’s amazing how fast your demeanor plummets as the temperature rises. Humidity clinging to your skin doesn’t exactly help matters either.
Have you ever sat in traffic during the summer? I don’t care if your car’s air conditioner is on high, depending on how long you are stuck, you will eventually feel the effects of the sun’s rays beaming through the car. With no AC, you might start to feel like you are slowly being cooked. These type of conditions can easily cause tempers to flare. All that heat just encourages the ignition of irritable emotions.
THE ANGRY CHICK PHASE
It used to not take much for me to explode. From about ages 23-25, I would’ve labeled myself as an angry chick. Life went in a whole other direction than I had planned being a fresh college graduate. I snapped at people unnecessarily and stayed angry for long periods of time. Most of the time my "drama queen" thoughts added more fuel to an already burning fire.
I tended to feel:
(1) Out of control
An out of control fire can do some serious damage, causing the loss of property and in some cases life. After blowing up over certain situations, I felt ashamed over my lack of control and the damage I left behind.
(2) Mentally dehydrated
During the summer, the rural communities suffers greatly from the extreme conditions and sometimes lack of rain. If you have ever completely lost it after a long day or week, you may feeling slightly dehydrated "mentally" from your extreme meltdown.
TAMING THE TEMPER
Some experts tell you when you are about to lose your temper to count to 10 or think of something peaceful. Those techniques never worked for me. Once I get angry, it’s usually from a result of things that have piled up over time.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 NIV
When I finally became fed up with myself, I sought God about my anger issues. Let’s just say, God cooled my jets considerably. I discovered my anger was deeply rooted in anxieties and situations beyond my control. Counting to ten didn’t work, but counting how often God had pulled me out of the fire "watered" down my emotional flares. Nothing like a dose of gratitude to take one’s mind off their issues.
As I have matured, I tend to take an easy-going attitude about most things, with my joy being more important (Phil 4:4), but the temptation to explode at times still lingers in my system. I can’t say that I haven’t failed to NOT lose it on occasion when I really should have kept my cool.
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 NIV
The temperamental Peter knew exactly what he was talking about when he said cast all your anxiety (some translations say burden) on him. God soothes and revives me as if I were a tree planted by streams of water (Psalm 1:3), when I repent and even more importantly determine to let go.
When I’m in a pressure cooker situation, if I have to walk away and be by myself, then that’s what I’ll do. I will pray to the Lord, "Hey, I’m about to explode here. I need your help." After I finish spilling out my tormented emotions, I’m reminded of the fact that God truly does care for me and it’s okay if I can’t handle the "heat".
LISTEN TO THE WARNING SIGNS
It’s also important to listen to the Holy Spirit’s conviction. Those little things that seem like minor irritations will gather in your spirit. If He warns you not to ignore something or to talk to someone openly who may have offended you, do it. Many forest fires are started by someone’s negligence. Don’t be negligent, avoid starting unnecessary turmoil for yourself.
When we focus on God, despite the heated conditions life may bring us, Jesus will supply living water (John 7:38) to quench our parched souls.