Breaking Rakes and Other Things

Broken RakeWhen I was younger, I struggled with anger.  I’m sure it was a combination of things such as the divorce, bullying, low self-esteem, etc….who knows.

I remember hating yard work.  I hated mowing the lawn…especially mowing, ok pulverizing, over all the mole hills in our front yard.  I hated sweeping.  I hated raking leaves.

In fact, many times, whether it was raking leaves or using other tools, I ended up breaking them.  The tools didn’t break from my hard work.  They broke because of the aggressive force against my knee, or the ground, snapping them in half.  Not good.  My poor mom must have been so worried to see me angry so often.

My mom’s worry and prayers were warranted and for those worries and prayers, I am thankful.  I believe that they made an impact on who I am today.

Looking back, my anger could have gotten the best of me.  It could have easily taken me down the wrong road.  God’s protection was definitely there, every step of the way.

My heart and soul have been changed over the years.  I’m actually pretty mellow now…for the most part….except for the other day when my beard trimmer wasn’t working right and I broke it in half (true story), but other than that, I really don’t get angry any more.  By the way, the beard trimmer incident was embarrassing.  Nobody saw it, but I felt like that little kid, mowing over mole hills, breaking rakes all over again.  I let it go though, tomorrow’s another day.

We’ve all been shaped by our past in some way, haven’t we?  Some of us have been shaped for the good and some of us have broken our own array of tools.  What’s important is that we recognize where we’ve been, who we are, and the people that we are becoming.

In my case, some of my old patterns have shown themselves later, in subtle ways.  I’m thankful that I serve a God who knows me much better than I know myself.  Better yet, He sometimes uses even my greatest weaknesses for His glory.  Pretty cool.

Our past certainly doesn’t need to define us.  What it can do is add flavor to our journey.  Hopefully, our flavor will rub off on those around us….maybe even those who are facing the same obstacles that we once faced.  So let’s add flavor wisely!

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”-Psalms 118:24

God Bless,

Paul

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6 thoughts on “Breaking Rakes and Other Things

  1. I almost never expressed anger as a youngster. It was always directed inward and usually turned into simmering resentments and a deep-seated dislike of myself. So, I tend to look at it as ‘better out than in’ – however, there are healthy expressions of anger, and poisonous expressions of anger.

    I’m still learning on that front, but I actually consider it a win these days when I drop the F-bomb in frustration. To me, it is so much better than keeping all that tension and anger inside. I can cuss like a trucker, laugh at myself for it, and move on. (I have always been too cheap, too aware of the cost of things, to break anything in anger.)

    Of course, most of my anger is at inanimate objects these days – usually this oh-so-helpful technology being uncooperative. When my emotions involve people, I am much more likely realize that an outburst doesn’t help, and taking a deep breath and explaining my emotions works so much better. (Although sometimes I have the realization AFTER the outburst. 😦 ) The key for me when talking things out is to ‘keep it in the “I” position’. Not pointing the finger helps to avoid pushing more buttons and escalating a disagreement into a full blown argument.

    On a side note, I did get very angry at a person a couple years ago, and that person wasn’t available to discuss things with. We just happened to be in the process of demolishing our shop, so I went out with a baseball bat and knocked out two 2x4s to ‘take out my frustration’. You know what? That didn’t work. It only served to rile me up more. I spent several hours in very uncomfortable rage before I finally got myself under control. I don’t remember how I did it. I think I sat down and wrote out all the things I wanted to say and couldn’t. Either that, or I called a trusted friend. If I had done that first, I know I would have worked through the anger much more quickly, and it would not have escalated to rage.

    The sad/interesting/ironic thing is that I ignored the still calm voice inside me telling me to pick up the phone, and went out with the bat instead. I believe God turned my stubbornness into a lesson for me. “Be still, and know.” Shut up and listen to what God is telling me.

    And I share this now with the idea you mentioned above, that some of my ‘flavor’ might help someone else understand something about themselves.

    Bless you, Paul, and your words.

    (Which reminds me, instead of saying GD something, I turn it into “God Bless America!” – vehemently. 🙂 )

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    • Thank you, as always, for your great insight Kristi. “….but I actually consider it a win these days when I drop the F-bomb in frustration.” I can see your point on that. If we can find an outlet in a healthy way, it is better to release the anger vs. keep it inside. We all ignore the “still small voice”…probably on a more consistent basis than we want to admit. It sounds like you have some good experience to “flavor” somebody else’s life…what a blessing.

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  2. I may not have SEEN you break the beard trimmer but I definitely HEARD it! Your recovery was swift and handled well actually. You have grown so much even in the 11 years we’ve been together…. I have a hard time imagining the little boy you described though. Thank God for provision and grace!

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    • You’re right dear, only by God’s provision and grace. Without Him, I would be a mess. I surely couldn’t be the husband and father that I am today without God’s guidance. Not saying I’m some fantastic dude, but I would surely be in a darker spot without Him. Thanks for being you.

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