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Today’s Truth

Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.

Proverbs 29:11

Friend to Friend

There are plenty of things, little things and big things, everyday ordinary things, that can set me off and cause me to lose my temper. I know it’s not Godly. And I’d like to keep quiet rather than blab about it publically here on the internet, but then who’s going to start this conversation? Perhaps you’ve been waiting for an invitation to talk it through, one weary heart to another.

I’ll go first: I wasn’t raised in an angry home, maybe you were. I’d never even been yelled at once. But then I gave birth to my third child, and it was as though every calm, kind place deep within me suddenly broke. Snap. The baby didn’t do anything wrong. He didn’t deserve my frustrated tears. And his two big brothers were just busy being toddlers. It wasn’t their fault that I lost my footing each time they lost their shoes. I was simply overwhelmed and exhausted, with a messy house and a husband who traveled for work.

My anger surprised me.

Thankfully, almost immediately, from the pit of my postpartum haze, Bible verses that I never needed before, but were hidden in my heart just the same, came to mind and challenged my emotional behavior. Proverbs 29:11, likely memorized in Sunday School when I was just a child, reminded me that “Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.” I realized that God didn’t tell me I wasn’t allowed to feel all my emotions, as my hormones shifted, and my husband traveled for work. But He did tell me what to do with my exasperated feelings — I was to quietly hold them back.

Shoving them down to fester into bitterness, or simmer like lava just beneath the surface, didn’t help me either. I had to learn to process my feelings prayerfully, as I held them back wisely. Psalm 4:4 in the English Standard Version of the Bible instructed me, “Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah.” Pondering, meditating, and pausing to consider my feelings, became a Spiritual discipline for me. Crying and confessing each time the Lord convicted me, wasn’t enough. Change wasn’t happening just because I felt bad about my anger. I had to actually sit myself down (in a mommy time-out) and get silent. I had to listen. I had to “Selah.”

Selah is the poetic Greek word used in the Psalms to denote a holy pause. Selah instructs the reader to “stop and consider.” God was telling me to stop, in the quiet of my private bedroom, there upon my bed, and consider wise and calm, loving and gentle ways that I wanted to talk to my children, my neighbors, my husband, and my Mother-in-law… even when I was tired and spread too thin. And the more I considered my feelings and my life, the wiser I got. I learned to say no to volunteering in the nursery at church on Sunday mornings, for this busy season. I learned to take my social media apps off of my phone, because they distracted me and didn’t help my emotional stability. I also learned, again, how desperately I needed to abide in God’s Word, so that His Word would continue to abide in me.

All this, and so much more, I learned when I held back my anger and got real quiet upon my bed. God didn’t tell me that I couldn’t feel angry, but He did say I wasn’t to vent my anger. Slowly, gently, He’s transforming my heart and home.

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, Thank You for not leaving me alone and unchanged in my sin. You’re always near; always available; always speaking to my heart through Your living Word; and giving me the courage to obey. Thank You for not just convicting me of my sin, but for offering me the transforming help of Your Holy Spirit. Selah.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Today, I opened up to you about my angry sin-tendencies, then I opened up the Word. That’s the key to transformed lives, my friends. Opening up to God and opening up His Word.

Right now, here in the comments below of in your own personal Bible pages, write out a scripture on anger and apply it to your life. You’re welcome to use one of the Bible verses I included in this post, or meditate on one that the Lord leads you to today. But whatever you do, if this is your struggle, open up to God as you open up His Word —  it is living and active and able to divide your anger from the gentle, loving sinews of your life.

More from the Girlfriends

If you struggle with anger as you mother your children, pick up a copy of Wendy Speake and Amber Lia’s book, Triggers: Exchanging Parents Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses. And if you struggle daily, grab a copy of the Triggers Study Guide too. The Triggers Study Guide is packed full of scriptures that will challenge and transform your heart and your home. Connect with Wendy at Wendyspeake.com or on Facebook.

32 Responses to “Sometimes I Struggle with Anger”

  1. Terri says:

    My anger comes out in the form of sarcasm. I know this is not what God wants from me. Even though I don’t yell, I say hurtful things meant to hurt those who frustrate me into anger.

    Your devotional here has helped me to see the wrong and right way to handle this. Finding release in God’s Word is so much more fulfilling than spewing hurts.

    • Wendy Speake Wendy Speake says:

      Terri,

      Sarcasm can be so hurtful. Hurtful to those who receive the sarcasm, and hurtful for the one giving it. I remember the quote, “Hurt people hurt people.”

      Bless you, Sister, as you heal… so that your words can be healing words, not hurtful words.

      Sincerely,
      Wendy Speake

  2. joann says:

    My anger come’s our in the form of frustration over other’s word’s and action’s that they attribute to the fact that “I don’t know how to take a joke”.
    ..or that “Geez..You take thing’s too seriously…lighten up…..I find myself replaying their own words and actions to them when the time is appreciate so that they can see how well received they are by them …I know God does not want this type of behavior from me for he says “Do not be conformed to this world but be trabsformed by the reknewing of your minds” and “Love does not keep track of other’s wrong doings”…God’s words say “Anger sits in the lap of a fool” and “If we are Angry we should not sin but get over it quickly for it gives the enemy a mighty foothold”….I should spend more personal time with God and ask him to show me a more Godly way of handling my frustrations that will lead to the growth and prosperity of not only my own personal relationship with him but will set the example for all the others around me…. His strength shows up best in our weakness…

    • Wendy Speake Wendy Speake says:

      Dear Joann,

      You know God’s Word well! I particularly like this verse: “Anger sits in the lap of a fool”.

      With all that scripture hidden in your heart, and the Holy Spirit Himself within you too, I know that it is possible for you to hold your thoughts, your feelings, and your words captive, making them obedient to Christ. I’m celebrating that with you today. Sincerely and with love,
      Wendy

  3. Lupe Flores says:

    I also struggle with anger issues in my life I’m not a a mother I would like to get a copy of a book that is full of scriptures that will
    help me please let me know what I can do to help me.

    • Wendy Speake Wendy Speake says:

      Dear Lupe, God bless you and your heart that longs for healing and transformation. I really enjoyed the book Unglued by Lysa Terkheurst. Take a look. And God’s Word is full of instruction to us as well, so do a simple search online for scriptures to encourage your heart and your words.

      Wendy

  4. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”

    Ephesians 4:29-31

    Ephesians 4:29 has been a favorite verse of mine for a long time.

    Fun fact: Did you know the band Building 429 is named after this verse? I thought it was so cool when I learned this.

  5. joann says:

    I meant Appropriate…not appreciate….Thank you For “Girl friends in God daily devotionals and the open forum it presents..May God richly bless this ministry……Amen

  6. Gail says:

    A gentle answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
    I find that my husband gets the bulk of my harsh words. It’s really rooted in selfishness. I’m praying daily for God to change me from selfish to selfless.

  7. Jane says:

    As I have advanced in years I determine what is causing the anger. If it’s a friend’s remark I wait 24 hours and then tenderly talk about what was said. As far as what makes me very sad more than angry at the world I choose not to watch any news channel. I am not an ostrich but I know my own reaction which is usually very very sad so I’m protecting myself from something that I cannot control what the world does. God bless you

    • Wendy Speake Wendy Speake says:

      I’m reminded of another favorite verse on anger” Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. Because anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” It sounds to me, sweet Jane, that you have learned to be slow to react in anger, as you choose to respond in love.

      Thank you for sharing such a wise and slow application for us to try in our own lives.

      Wen

  8. Wendy Speake says:

    Great verse! Fun fact! I thought that their band name was inspired by the location of their studio or first apartment together. Great tidbit! PS – Love God’s Word!

  9. Jeannie says:

    Thank you for this. Anger has just recently bubbled to the surface of me after 46 years of repression. It’s scary and I didn’t know what to do with it. So I’m so grateful to have a scriptural practical application. Hold it in from others and go to my room where I contemplate it with my Father. Amen!

    • Wendy Speake Wendy Speake says:

      Good time in the Word helps, and sometimes we need a Biblical counselor to walk it through (and talk it through) with us as well… especially when those emotions have been shoved down and repressed for 46 years. Bless you as you take it to The Lord in prayer.

      Wendy

  10. Mary says:

    This really confuse me. I understand how anger can control you, but through secular counseling, I was told that venting is good for you. Guess, that depends on how you vent. I have found journaling and praying works for me.

  11. Diana says:

    one of my favorite passages is found in Ephesians 4:29-32
    is states:
    29)Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30) And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31) Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling, and slander, along with every from of malice, 32) Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

  12. Rebecca Jones says:

    I have been dealing with anger too. Being angry and not sinning. It can be done. I don’t really believe people can make you door say things, I guess that tends to be an excuse, but I have been dealing with more unruly and louder people and in my frustration and exhaustion that anger worked it’s way in. We do need to be slow to speak. And find His rest.

    • Wendy Speake Wendy Speake says:

      “find His rest…” yes! When we’re reacting in anger, and all worked up, we can get away and rest. And from that place of rest, respond right even when others do wrong. Typing it out I am convinced again that with Christ, this is possible. Much love, sister.

      Wendy

  13. julia says:

    my anger comes from agitated/frustrated/sad well said diana (v o w from gwen smiths recent bible study). (Ephesians 4:29). and also james 1:19 comes to mind “my dear brothers and sisters take note of this everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. just need not to let stuff bother me as much. whether its people in the grocery store or whoever. just to let it go. forgive and move on. it is something i do have to work on.

  14. Kate says:

    “A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.”
    ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭14:1‬ ‭NLT‬‬

    This verse is the one that’s been brought to my attention. I *know* what good relationship skills look like, but I still struggle with sudden outbursts of explosive anger, always directed at my innocent children, that catch even myself by surprise.

    And I know that it’s rooted in this lonely, guilty, ever-so-secret feeling — which in the spirit of honesty flowing here, I’ll admit. I seriously considered giving my firstborn in adoption, and I have really regretted (for years now) not going through with it. Logically, that child has been the catalyst for a great life, but in my heart I never wanted to be a mom.

    But in this verse I remember that my actions as well as that secret regret can destroy my home. I need to focus on the obvious multitude of blessings that are flowing from this situation, and learn more about how serving others is a joyous way to share love.

  15. Bonita says:

    As I prayed this morning, I prayed that God would let others see Jesus in me. I even had my own issues this morning. I have got to learn to let go and let God. No ones perfect, and I am far from it! My expectations are too high apparently. Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. It also only hurts others. Colossians 3:21 Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. my hearts desire is to overcome this daily battle. Thank you for this great reminder.

    • Wendy Speake Wendy Speake says:

      Great verses to hide in your heart. One translation, I recall, of the Ephesians verses includes the phrase “coarse joking…” At the time I came across those words, my kids were all very young (and so was I.) I realized that I often said things in jest about my difficult days with so many little kids that didn’t honor them or the One who gave them to me. I was also convicted that my joking was often with moms in the neighborhood who weren’t believers. That was no way to let Christ’s Light in me shine. God Word has not only been a tool to convict me, by a tool to transform me over the years. I am so thankful for each of these verses.

      With Love,
      Wendy

  16. Jokapeci says:

    Thank you very much for this devotional and for being honest and vulnerable. Thanks and God’s blessings!

  17. Marcia says:

    Guilty…..

    Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil” (Ephesians 4:26b-27

    I use to be such a patient person, I don’t know what happened.

  18. Tina says:

    Most of the time, the stressors in life make us really angry. Not to mention the expectation of the people around us provide us more pressure that, when not addressed, leads to anger. This short verse helps me to be reminded about this negative emotion and how to deal with it. Thank God for His words and grace.

  19. Wendy Speake says:

    Terri,

    Sarcasm can be so hurtful. Hurtful to those who receive the sarcasm, and hurtful for the one giving it. I remember the quote, “Hurt people hurt people.”

    Bless you, Sister, as you heal… so that your words can be healing words, not hurtful words.

    Sincerely,
    Wendy Speake

  20. Wendy Speake says:

    Marcia,

    One of the things that I’ve been thinking about lately is that whatever happens in our behavior, can unhappen. With Christ in us, we are able to do right, even when all our feelings feel wrong. With Christ, this is possible.

    Love,
    Wendy

  21. Angela says:

    I told two friends yesterday that it’s gotten to where I don’t know how to do anything but yell… Especially discipline my daughter and I know that it’s making a very hard situation worse… Yet I don’t know how to stop. My life is so stressed relationally and in many other ways that I know I need to do better.. And stop using it as an excuse though the anger and frustration is legit… But I know my angry outbursts make everything worse. Instead of turning away wrath, I invite it in….

    Please pray that regardless of my situation (which is changing in June and I pray it is the springboard to all kinds of changes) that I would start to change inside with His Spirit guiding. I can move next month and the people in the household can change, but if I don’t allow God to change the inside, nothing will truly change.

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