The Battle

by Rhonda, July 21, 2023

I'm watching the sun setting from my office window.  My neighbor's American flag is flying in the horizon.  It is torn, ripped by a series of storms that passed through our state last week.  Yet, the flag still flies as the wind blows.  The sun peeks through the pieces of worn fabric as it sets, creating a beautiful and patriotic view.

Every sunset is different, and I can't help but marvel at God's creativity every time I watch one of his unique masterpieces in the evenings.  The sky becomes art, as He draws on His canvas.  He never paints the same scene twice.  To have a mind like that, can you imagine?

I set my alarm for 15 minutes earlier a few mornings ago and decided it was time to start obeying God.  He asks the smallest things of us, doesn't He?  I made my coffee, stumbled onto my deck, and I spent 15 minutes with him before starting my day.  The time flew by, and I wished it was longer, feeling like a horrible person that it took me this long to be obedient to Him with such a small amount of time.

But then, I had the strangest day.  

Problems at work exploded.  I missed an appointment due to dealing with problems at work.  My kids had issues that were frustrating.  I was tempted by just about everything imaginable to become angry.  I got an unexpected bill in the mail.  Then I was notified I'd been summoned for jury duty.  I was extremely stressed for the majority of the day while problem after problem unfolded.  By the end of the day, I felt numb and slightly bewildered, as if I were coming out of battle.

It was weird, especially considering I got up early to spend time with God so I can work on my anger.  Then, my entire day made me angry.  I thought I would see progress.  This was regress, the exact opposite of progress.  I was going in the wrong direction and I was really angry about it, which was yet another problem.

The next day wasn't much better.  More problems at work resulted in an inappropriate amount of anger from me.  Problems are frustrating, yes, but they shouldn't be infuriating. I don't like it.  I don't want to be that person.  I can't help but think about why I'm so easily triggered.  

Maybe it doesn't matter.  Hurt from the past, pressure in the present, and fear over the future all play a role.  I can cite people, situations, and even things I've done to myself as likely culprits.  I've been through a lot over these past few years, including a divorce, and I just don't know if it is a good use of my mental energy to rehash all of that.

I just need some healing from the Healer.  I guess God already knows that.  He's been showing me over the past few days that the situations can be varied, but my responses are the same.  I'm operating from a place of pain more often than I care to admit.  

And that makes me angry.  Of course.

Last night, I must have gotten less than three hours of sleep.  After I decided not to rehash my triggers, I tossed and turned, rolling over all kinds of scenarios in my mind.  All of them were infuriating.  I wasn't treated right in this situation.  My parents weren't there for me in my childhood.  My divorce still hurts so much.  The list went on and on, and my mind was replaying one bad hit after another.

I wasn't just angry, I was in a pit of anger.  My inner turmoil bubbled over as I prayed for peace and begged for sleep.  But, as soon as I finished praying, I began running another scenario through my mind that made me angry all over again.  I replayed every painful instance of victimhood I could think of.  

Around 2 a.m., I had a thought.  What if my angry flesh sensed it was no longer going to have its way in my life and it was throwing a fit?  What if my flesh was trying to make me uncomfortable so it could drag me into a pit of anger?  What if this was a gigantic tantrum?

Even after this realization, it was hours before it settled down.  But do you know what?  Christ is stronger than this anger, and Chris has already defeated this anger.  I just have to ignore it, I don't have to defeat it.  Short-lived suffering is nothing compared to long-term peace.  I am in it for the long game.

I had no idea when I decided to obey God and work on my anger that I would step into the ring of an epic spiritual battle.  My flesh has decided to whine, complain, and fight for control over my life.  It is dangerous and destructive and it has been allowed free reign for far too long.

So, every day has been the same 15 minutes in the morning.  It doesn't seem like much, but it is what God is asking of me right now.  As I get stronger, He may ask for more, but for now it seems this is enough to trigger all kinds of fleshly temper tantrums.  I've hit a nerve and things are certainly welling up.

Tonight, I got a shower, crawled into bed and felt angry over the smallest of things.  It is so defeating.  I set my alarm for 15 minutes earlier tomorrow.  And, I will put my head on the pillow at a reasonable time so I can get up a bit earlier tomorrow.  

I trust Him with this and I believe in His ability to heal me.

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