It's Ok to be Angry, but Never Cruel

Wednesday, June 29, 2016 4 comments
I originally wrote this post as a guest post for my friend Kristie's blog. Now I'm sharing it with you. You should definitely go check out her website :)

Anger gets a bad rap sometimes. Anger is to blame for unkind words, huge fights, and even violent crimes. Anger does lead to those things, if it isn't kept in check. It can cause a lot of problems. But anger is not only natural, but it is unavoidable- sometimes, it is even good!

There is such a thing as godly anger. Godly anger is anger towards the things that break God's heart. It's anger towards bullying, injustice, and cruelty. You aren't necessarily in the wrong just because you are angry. What is wrong, however, is letting your anger make you cruel. You can be angry, but still be kind. You cannot, however, be cruel and still be kind.


Cruelty comes when we feel we have a right to be hateful because someone has wronged us. Cruelty can be as brazen as murdering someone to pay them back for their wrongs, or it can be as small as personally attacking your husband because he didn't clean the house like he promised.

We tend to feel that we deserve justice for every wrong committed against us. But God says justice belongs to Him (Romans 12:19). We are not to become cruel in order to get what we feel we deserve.

Cruelty says, "God isn't in charge- I'm in charge". Cruelty says "I don't care how I make this person feel. I want to hurt them, because they hurt me". Cruelty says, "I am the most important person around. How dare anyone hurt me".
Cruelty has a way of turning us into selfish monsters who forget that we make mistakes too.

Turn It Around

It may sound cliche, but turn the situation around. How would you feel if people were cruel every time you made a mistake? What if they gave no grace? Maybe you didn't mean to do wrong- maybe you were truly sorry. Regardless though, if no one showed you love and grace when you did wrong, you wouldn't think it was fair. You'd expect them to change their tune a bit, wouldn't you? I know I would! And that's because there is something inside all of us that tells us that grace needs to be a part of our lives. We know that without grace, we would be lost. And so when we do wrong, we hope and long for people to forgive us, let it go, and give us another chance.

Channel Your Anger

So what do we do when someone does make us angry? How to we handle it in a way that pleases God, but also solves the problem?

I believe that the answer lies in real, solid communication. First of all, communicate with God. Ask Him to help you forgive the wrong. It may even be necessary to ask that He help you want to forgive the wrong! I've been there many times!

After giving the issue to God, we should communicate with the person who has made us angry. Sometimes, this won't be feasible- like when we are mad because a random person flipped us off in traffic, or when the person we are angry at has passed away. But most of the time, we still have the opportunity to talk it out (calmly and kindly). And that is what I believe we should do.

It Doesn't Matter...Kind Of

You wanna know a secret though? Sometimes, that conversation won't go well. Sometimes that person will be rude to us about our honesty. Sometimes, they'll storm off. Sometimes, they will say they hear us and will do better, but then they won't actually make the effort.

As frustrating as that is (and I'm still learning this myself), it doesn't really matter what their response is. Our responsibility is us, not them. As long as we are honest, real, and kind, without a hint of cruelty, we've done our part. We've done what's right.

So next time someone makes you angry, don't beat yourself up over your anger. Anger isn't wrong in and of itself in most cases. Instead, be very aware of how you channel that anger, and avoid cruelty like the plague.

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What to Do When Someone is Mad At You (Mug-spiration Monday)

Monday, June 27, 2016 18 comments

Last week, someone I love dearly called me to ask me about something they had given me and trusted me with. I had been hoping this conversation would never happen. I didn't want to admit that I could not find it. Perhaps it had gotten stored in a random box when we moved last August? I don't know. But one thing's for sure- there wasn't enough coffee in the world to soothe me after that phone call.

Though the item was mine, the person who gave it to me trusted me with something valuable. They trusted me to be responsible and I messed up. And being the people-pleaser that I am, I felt a sense of doom come upon me after talking to this person.

"I let them down. Now they won't trust me with any real responsibility. They won't think I am capable anymore. They won't be proud of me."

These were the thoughts that filled my mind as I sobbed with shame.

Understanding My Role

After my initial, overly-dramatic meltdown, I was rational enough (thanks to the hubs) to realize that all I had done was make a mistake. It was an unfortunate mistake, but nothing more. I realized that though, yes, I was at fault, there was nothing more I could do. I had admitted my mistake, asked forgiveness, and decided in my mind I would be more responsible from then on.

I could tell my loved-one was still mad at me, and was not going to let it go immediately. But again, I couldn't change that. They were angry. But I had done my part. The forgiveness and grace part was up to them.

Give Yourself Grace

It can be very discouraging when those we love are angry at us. I find it extremely hard to let that go. But just as I am learning that I cannot live by the expectations of others, I am also learning that I cannot let someone else's anger control me.

I messed up. It wasn't their mistake- it was mine. But once I had asked forgiveness and committed to doing a better job, I was free. It didn't erase my mistake, but at that point, I could not control their anger. I could not control whether or not they forgave me. I could only do my part.

Have you ever struggled with giving yourself grace once you've done all you can? Do you struggle to remember that their anger doesn't define you?
Today, let's strive to know that someone else's anger doesn't make us into a lesser person. If they stay mad, that doesn't mean we have less worth. Don't live based on other people's emotions about you. Do your part and move on.

How Should Christians Handle Expectations? (Part 3/3 in the series You Don't Owe Anyone Anything)

Friday, June 24, 2016 No comments

When I was a little girl, I watched my mom worship and serve God. I saw her love for Him, and I listened as she instructed me in the truths of God. And as I grew up, I wanted to serve the Lord well, because I knew He was true. Mama and I had lots of conversations about the Bible and how it instructs us.
But somewhere along the line, some of the things my mom taught me got lost in translation. I suppose I misinterpreted or misheard what she said. But every once in a while, Mama and I will be talking and she'll say something that surprises me. When I express my surprise, she often has no idea why I would think she believes differently.

As a people pleaser, I tend to put pressure on myself to believe what my loved-ones believe. I often buy into the big, fat lie that if I don't agree with them on something, I'll disappoint them or make them mad. Obviously, that's not the right way to look at things, and my loved-ones don't feel that way, but in my mind, it makes sense.

So when I had all these false ideas about what my mom believed, I also expected myself to believe them. I went off to college and was challenged on some of my biblical interpretations. But when I realized that I might not agree with everything I thought my mom believed, I panicked. I thought she'd think I was a heretic, or be mad at Taylor because he was one of the main people who challenged my views.

I had placed unnecessary expectations on myself- expectations that were causing fear in my life.

God and Expectations

I am learning now that first of all, just because my mom or husband believes something, doesn't mean I am obligated to agree with them. They may be people who have godly wisdom to give, but they are not the Bible. I should go there first.

But secondly, I am learning that Christians are free from human expectations, but bound by Christ's expectations.
Jesus says in Matthew 11:30 that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. A yoke is something that is attached to an ox as he plows the land. The ox is bound by the yoke, but the yoke helps him stay on course when the Master is steering.
God's yoke is similar.

When God gives us expectations, we are bound by them. We must live by them if we want to please God and give glory to Him. He doesn't place arbitrary expectations upon us, but only those that are good and beneficial.
His yoke is easy and His burden is light. This doesn't mean that life will be easy for us, but it does mean that God is taking care of us and His yoke will be kind. Everything God does and everything that God expects of us is for our good and His glory.

Christian Expectations

Don't allow yourself to confuse expectations from God and expectations of man. God's expectations are clear in His word. We may not always like what we are expected to do (our sinful hearts will kick and scream sometimes), but we must live by Christ's expectations out of love and reverence for Him.

But living our lives for Christ doesn't mean living by other Christian's expectations of us. Just because the pastor's wife asks you to bake 10 dozen cookies for the bake sale does not mean you have to do so. If you are able and willing to help, that's great, but declining to bake cookies does not make you a bad Christian.

Likewise, just because the doors to your church are opened on Sundays for two services and Sunday school, on Tuesday for small groups, and Wednesdays for another service, does not mean you have to be there for all of them. Yes, God wants us to worship Him with other believers- He wants us to go to church- but that does not mean you need to sign up for every event your church is putting on, nor do you have to attend every service. Some people feel obligated to do that, but that is a man-made expectation. The pressure to be in a church pew every time the doors are opened is not an expectation God has for you.

Saying No and Saying Yes

Get comfortable with saying "no" to your brothers and sisters in Christ. Sometimes they will place unfair and unnecessary expectations on you, but you do not have to accept those expectations.

Conversely, be willing and prepared to say "yes" to God's expectations, whether you like them or not. We may not like that He expects us to wait until marriage to have sex, or that He expects us to forgive even when we have been hurt deeply by someone we love, but what He expects of us is not only non-negotiable, but it is also good for us.

Christians, we should be living by God's expectations. He will not fail us, so we should do what He asks of us- we should live in His ways. We are not slaves to the opinions and expectations of others, and other people are not bound by what we expect of them either. Look to God's word to find what is required of us- to find God's expectations- and stop allowing your own self-imposed expectations to dictate your life and the lives of those around you.

You Owe God Everything (Part 2/3 in the series You Don't Owe Anyone Anything)

Wednesday, June 22, 2016 14 comments

Imagine that you are perfect. Imagine that you have never made a mistake in your entire life, and that you have treated everyone you've met with the utmost love and mercy. Then, imagine that someone accused you of lying, and of making God a mockery. Imagine that everyone believed your accuser, and decided that you needed to be killed for your actions.

You Can't Do All The Things (Mug-spiration Monday)

Monday, June 20, 2016 8 comments

It's back to the daily grind, isn't it? More work, work chores, more adulting.
And that's fine. Most of us are very blessed with the jobs we have- I know I am!
I love baby E and getting to be a part of her life. I love her sweet smile and silly laugh. But those things I love don't make Mondays any less challenging. It's just kind of part of life, ya know?

Most of the time, we spend our weekends doing the fun things we can't do during the week. It's enjoyable, but we never really catch up on rest. So when Monday rolls around, we find ourselves struggling to wake up, to get motivated, and to be in a good mood. After drinking copious amounts of coffee, I usually can manage being human again, but that's about the extent of it.

Can you relate? Do you feel more like an extra in The Walking Dead than you do a real person on Monday mornings? Do you find that you stay that way all week because you never slow down to rest? I have all ideas you know exactly what I mean.

You Can't Do All the Things- And That's Ok

I'd like to encourage you though, friends, that it's ok to slow down. Yes, you need to do a good job at your workplace, and not neglect your family, but that doesn't mean you have to do it all. You don't have to be all things to all people. You don't have to make everything perfect before you let your head hit the pillow at night.

Related post: Is Your Stress Your Fault?

Don't be afraid to ask for help; ask your family for help around the house. Delegate where you can at work. Take a few minutes for yourself each day, even if you have to shift your schedule around to make it happen. When we don't take care of ourselves mentally and physically, we burn out and that doesn't help anyone. It doesn't help you, it doesn't help those who have to deal with you all day, and it doesn't help your job performance either.

So take care of yourself this week. Decide today that you won't expect perfection, and you will give yourself grace. Don't slack, but don't try to do all the things. Trust me, you can't keep that up for long anyway.

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You Don't Owe Anyone Anything: A Three-Part Series on Expectations

Friday, June 17, 2016 8 comments

Anytime I scroll through my Pinterest feed, watch television, or even read a magazine, I often find myself overwhelmed. The more I scroll, watch, or read, the more I see what I "should" be doing. What I "should" look like. And who I "should" be. I find myself longing to be thinner, more organized, more wifely-ish (that's a word, right?). And it's great that I want to be those things...unless the reason I want these things is because the world tells me I have to live by them.

Raw Honesty

Wednesday, June 15, 2016 No comments
Hi guys! Today, I am talking about something I haven't given much detail about up until now: my struggle with OCD. I'm sharing over at Sobremesa Stories, run by one of my favorite bloggers, Lauren. This was hard for me to write, and a little scary to put out there. It would mean a lot to me if you would hop on over and check it out!