Tag Archives: anger

Handpicked by Love

25 Apr

When work is maddening and I am angry at the world…

When I longingly look out on a gorgeous day from inside an office icebox…

When I rush yet again from one thing to the next, feeling frazzled and exhausted…

When I grumble that I have a job that I don’t feel passionate about…

This quote from Elisabeth Elliot’s book, Keep a Quiet Heart, helps me remember that God has lovingly handpicked the circumstances of my life:

“When there is a deep restlessness for which we find no explanation, it may be due to the greed of being – what our loving Father never meant us to be. Peace lies in the trusting acceptance of His design, His gifts, His appointment of place, position, capacity. It was thus that the Son of Man came to earth – embracing all that the Father will Him to be, usurping nothing – no work, not even a word – that the Father had not given Him.”

So often I cause the loss of my own peace by rejecting the life God has given me.

“This isn’t what I want” is the refrain that echos through my ungrateful heart.

A verse that I have been repeating to myself over and over is “The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord.” It reminds me that joy does not come from getting my own way. It doesn’t come from my life looking exactly like I think it should. It doesn’t come from deciding my own destiny, forging my own will, or determining my own struggles.

Joy comes from accepting.

Accepting that I’m not in control. That not being in control is a good thing. That even though my current circumstances seem to plead the contrary, God only has good things planned for me. 

But I can’t accept these things if I don’t have faith. Faith is believing that God will do what He has promised. Which turns my mind to another verse:

“I call out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills His purpose for me.”

Even on these days when it feels like life sucks, and I don’t know why I’m doing what I’m doing, and I feel like I’m spinning my wheels, I cling to the truth that God is RIGHT NOW fulfilling His purpose for me. My life has meaning. I am here for a reason, even if I don’t know what it is. I only need to focus on delighting in the LORD and He will accomplish the rest.

“He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it.”

Loving God, Hating Money

21 Sep

I hate money.

I hate earning it, I hate saving it, I hate talking about it, I hate worrying about it.

I guess I do like to spend it.

But that’s not the point.

Travis and I just got into a fight over money. Even though this is supposedly the thing that married couples fight over the most often, Travis and I rarely fight over money. Mostly because I would rather just not think about it. Ignorance is bliss, if you ask me. It works out well for us because Travis is good with money. I am not. I was the girl who overdrafted frequently because I avoided balancing my checkbook like the plague – not because I can’t do math but because even just that simple act caused me anxiety.

So when Travis wants to buy a new gun or fishing gear or a tool, all I ask is if we can afford it. If he says yes, then I say go for it. When I want to go shopping for a new shirt or running apparel, I ask Travis if I can and if so, how much I can spend. When Travis thinks we should refinance our mortgage or open up Roth IRAs, I say “Great! Where do I sign?” This process works for us.

But my new job has caused unexpected animosity between us in regards to money. First, it was because I accepted the job despite the fact I would be getting paid less than what was initially promised. Since I don’t really care about money, I didn’t think it was a big deal. Travis disagreed.

Then, it was because I needed to get a new desk, wanted to redo the office, and had to buy office supplies – out of my own pocket. Reluctantly, Travis gave me a budget and I stayed within it (for the first time ever!)

We’ve fought over me needing a new printer and a shelf in the garage, me driving our own car up to Boulder instead of the company car, me getting paid a pathetic $15 per diem for when I’m traveling.

Tonight, the fight was about me going over our minutes on our cell phone plan (out of our 1,400 shared minutes, Travis used 130 and I used the rest, plus an additional $75 worth) and my working from home necessitating us having internet (since both of us have smart phones, we don’t really need internet at home). Both of these are things that my company should be pay for because they are things I need to do my job. But they don’t. I have asked them about getting more money for my phone (I currently get $30/month) but they refused, saying it wouldn’t be fair to everyone else.

Travis’ reaction to all this is frustration at the owners of the company I work for. He feels (rightfully so) that they should be paying for this stuff and since they refuse, he gets angry. And when he’s riled up enough, he comes to me and tells me things need to change.

My reaction? Anger, right back. “What are my options?” I scream/ask. “I need these things to do my job. If they refuse to pay for these things, I have two options: I can put up with it or I can quit. Do you want me to quit?”

If you’ve followed my blog for any of the past few weeks, you know that this is not the first time or reason why I have contemplated quitting my job. And when my job causes this kind of friction and frustration between me and Travis, I can’t help but think “WHY do I have this job again?”

When Travis is upset about money in regards to my job, I can’t help but feel like the bad guy because if it weren’t for me, the one with the job, we wouldn’t be having these problems. And that makes me hate money even more – when I should really be hating Satan because I know these fights are exactly what he wants. Satan wants this to drive us apart. Satan wants this to take our eyes off God and wonder why He allows this kind of injustice to happen to us. Satan wants me to doubt God’s leading me into this job and wonder if maybe I made a mistake leaving Dare 2 Share and should look for a new job. Most of all, Satan wants to destroy our faith.

There are practical steps to be taken with this situation – I have already emailed my boss D about getting the company Vonage phone for my use, since she doesn’t use it and I really could. I downloaded an app to my phone that will allow me to tether it to my computer, turning my phone into its own hot spot, in the hopes that we will be able to cancel our internet service and save that $40 a month.

But the biggest step to take is faith. It’s running to the Father in prayer, asking for His wisdom to guide us, for His provision in our lives, and for His mighty hand to work this situation out for our good, as trite as it may seem in contrast to the big picture. So I will run, I will ask, and I will rest.

Wrestling with Life

8 Sep

I’ve been having a hard time with my job lately. I haven’t posted in a while because my job has hijacked my emotions and cast a dark, gloomy cloud over everything.

Or so it feels.

I got to talk to my good friend Holly last night (which was great!) and she said that she’s been learning that life is just one big paradox. That is exactly how I feel. So often I have conflicting, polar-opposite emotions and I feel slightly like a crazy lady who just needs to go out and find a shopping cart and cat already. I’m sure Travis’ mind reels at times when I spew emotional babble, going around in circles, talking about voices in my head and how I wish I could just shut my brain off.

I have to admit that I feel pretty alone in my struggle. It seems like I’m the only Christian I know who struggles with their job this much. Heck, who struggles with life this much. I keep analyzing, judging, questioning, wondering. I had finally gotten to a point after reading Just Do Something where I felt like I could just live and not hyper-analyze every little decision, like why I go grocery shopping at Safeway instead of King Soopers.

But then the bottom of my life fell out.

And now I’m back to feeling unsettled and disturbed every day. I wonder what’s the point of taking a shower and wearing nice clothes. I wonder how people have the motivation to eat healthy and care about their appearance. I wonder why God has made me this way – why can’t I just accept things at face value and move on like everyone else? I am angry that life is so freakin’ hard. I wonder why I can’t live in the joy and peace that Jesus talks about. I can’t even bring myself to believe in God’s promises right now. They seem so irrelevant and trite. If God is my strength to get through the day, then why do I still wake up wishing I had a different life?

The easy solution is to think that I just need a different job. And that may be so. But I’ve felt like this at pretty much every job I’ve had. And I’m exhausted. I’m exhausted of trying to survive a life I don’t enjoy. I’m sick of working hard to find joy in things that really are void of joy. Doesn’t anyone else feel this way? How do people go through the daily grind of life and never want anything more? I want to know their secret because I am SICK of wrestling with my life.

I know that Christ is the answer – He always is. But my heart is floundering in the midst of my unbelief and I can’t make it back to shore.

I obviously have had this struggle before – I feel like every one of my blog posts is a repeat of the one before it. And back on November 9, 2005, I wrote this:

“My child, you don’t need to try. I see your life frequently overwhelm you and my heart breaks when I see your sin grieving your spirit so. But if it’s even possible, I love you infinitely more at these times when you are helplessly broken and down on yourself. Take heart, beloved, for all things are possible with Me and you are not without hope. I am your hope. I am your strength. I fight for you when you cannot fight for yourself. I uphold your soul when you let go of it. I gaze tenderly upon your defeated body, which is endearing to Me, and desire more than anything to control your life, to cleanse your heart, to satisfy your deepest longings, to take away your anguish, and give you nothing but quietness of soul. You don’t want to try so don’t. Let me do it. Please don’t run away, I beg you; rest in Me and you will find peace for your soul. My little sheep, cling to me and I promise that I will forever delight in calling you mine.”

I want to believe that this is God’s love for me. I want to believe that I can rest in Him, find peace and that He is the strength that enables me to get through each day. I want to believe.

Lord, help my unbelief.

The Freestyle Christian Life

29 Apr

As I was spending time in the Word yesterday morning, I came up with a great idea for a blog post: Learning to swim freestyle is like learning to live the Christian life.

Let me explain.

I have been training for my first sprint triathlon for about a month now (only 2.5 more to go!) While I pretty much have the bike and run licked (did my first brick workout today…a bike and run right after one another…they call it a brick because that’s what your legs feel like when you run after biking!), swimming has been and still is a major challenge.

For many more reasons than I care to explain to those of you who may not be acquainted with swimming terms, form and technique, learning to swim the freestyle stroke (a.k.a. the front crawl) is like learning to run on all fours…humans just weren’t designed to do it.

Especially me.

My hips don’t float. Even with fins on. I can’t go longer than 25 yards (one length of the pool) at a time. Every time I get to the end of the pool, I ask myself, “WHAT am I doing wrong?!?!?” I feel like I’m treading water…literally. I’m going that slow.

So what does all that have to do with learning to live the Christian life, you ask? The apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 12, “But [Jesus] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamitites. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

When I get frustrated or sorrowful over my sin, it’s not really because of the offense against God. It’s because I messed up again. I couldn’t cut it. I tried to will myself to be loving, to act like Christ, but I failed. Miserably.

Often, I find myself wondering in regards to the Christian life and virtues, “What am I doing wrong?” I’m reading the Bible and seeking to understand the Gospel. I often have very encouraging, nourishing times with God, in which I feel like I have the beginnings of understanding the gospel, yet I can walk away from those encounters and within seconds, be uncontrollably angry at Travis. The Bible says “Be filled with the Spirit.” My mind says, “Yes, but HOW?”

Part of me understands that my being filled with the Spirit is God’s doing. The other part of me wonders when, if and how God plans on doing it.

After reading those verses written by Paul in 2 Cor. 12, I think I have a tiny little insight into the HOW.

Paul writes about being weak. Whether he means physically weak or spiritually weak, it doesn’t matter. Because he also talks about insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. Those are all external realities. There is no spiritual, internal persecution. It comes from other people.

I have internal and external troubles as well…but can’t say that I am content with them. In fact, it’s just the opposite. I try to avoid them at all costs. I get angry when things aren’t moving smoothly, when there are hiccups and bumps in the road. That’s because my 2 biggest idols are: 1) getting my own way and 2) happiness.

My idols are sort of inter-related but not quite the same thing. When I have troubles like Paul is describing (whether they be my own weaknesses and sin or an external situation that I can’t fully control), it interferes with my ability to have things go my way. When my boss at work tells me that something has to be done differently, I get angry because either I don’t want to do it that way or I don’t want to do it over. When Travis wants to talk about money and mortgages and I want to blog instead, I get angry because he is interfering with my personal determination of how I will spend my free time.

The way my idol of happiness ties into getting my way is that deep down, I fear not getting my way because I fear being unhappy. I don’t trust that God has my best interests in mind and that I can trust Him with my everyday circumstances and situations…even those as mundane as Travis wanting to talk AGAIN about what we plan to buy with our tax credit.

Where my idol of happiness is different than that of getting my way is in relation to my sin. When I abruptly get angry at Travis for no reason, I am just as frustrated at my being angry as I am actually angry. When Travis annoys me and I feel like raging on him, I despair and wish that I could go even a day without feeling annoyance toward him.

But the thing is, I don’t want to make my “wrong” emotions go away because I want to glorify God–though that certainly is involved. Rather, I want them to go away because I want my life to be easy. I don’t want to have to deal with those emotions and the situations they bring up. I don’t want to have to feel and stifle my anger, frustration and rage. I would much rather take a hands-off approach, which explains why Travis is always wanting more physical attention than I do–the way I look at it is less physical contact means fewer problems. And I just want to be happy already.

Maybe at this point you’re seeing a slight tie-in to swimming but not really understanding where I’m going with it. Well, with swimming, I have been trying and trying to get better. I have read books, watched videos, talked to friends, done drills, and even practiced in my sleep (that is unfortunately not a joke). In the case of getting my hips to float, I know what I’m doing wrong…but I don’t know how to fix it. In the case of being completely out of breath after one length, I don’t know what I’m doing wrong…but it’s obviously something.

I feel like that a lot with the Christian life. In the case of getting frustrated with my boss and my husband when I’m not getting my way, I know what I’m doing wrong. I can look back on those situations and see what I was feeling, understand why I felt that way and remind myself of truth. In the case of my being annoyed at Travis spontaneously and without discernable cause, I don’t know what I’m doing wrong…but I have the physical evidence that indeed, something is amiss. And yet, in both cases, regardless of whether I know what I’m doing wrong or not, my knowledge doesn’t seem to translate into action. I’m just left out of breath after short stints of trying to live the Christian life, hanging on to the wall and wondering “What am I doing wrong?”

But all this is assuming that I have to find the power inside myself to change the situation. That I have to be self-sufficient. That I have to make myself float instead of allowing the water around and under me to lift me up.

I don’t have to do any of those things.

If I never struggled, if I did indeed have everything under control, I would have no need for Christ. I wouldn’t need to rely or call upon God for strength and peace. 

Too often, instead of taking Paul’s attitude to troubles, I let my trials derail me and turn me from God. In those moments of struggle and inner turmoil, I think to myself, “How could God help me with this?” or “Yeah, I know I’m being moody and sinful right now, but truth just doesn’t feel relevant to me in this situation” or “I’m too tired to try and change my attitude.”

But these verses in 2 Corinthians 12 reveal that I don’t have to be more patient, more loving, more peaceful, gentler in myself–I only have to find those things in Christ and let them live in me. I don’t have to dig deep down inside myself to find real honesty, real love, real peace, real joy–or lament when I can find none–because I can borrow Christ’s. His is real all the time.

Being a Christian doesn’t mean I just become a better version of myself. It doesn’t mean I just have to get rid of all my vices and failures and develop all the virtues. It means that I actually become a version of Christ–it is His Spirit living in me after all. And His Spirit is what changes me. It’s not me forcing, willing myself to be different, to change. It’s God working in me to enable me to do things I couldn’t or wouldn’t have done otherwise.

My analogy between swimming and the Christian life kind of breaks down here…there is no spirit of swimming that will enable me to magically master the front crawl (though I so wish there were!!)

But what an amazing reassurance it is to know that I don’t have to be sufficient in and of myself when it comes to being Christ-like. Because if it’s all up to me, I will be constantly treading water, out of breath, and barely keeping myself afloat. When I don’t have patience, I can borrow Christ’s. When I don’t have joy, I can borrow Christ’s. When I don’t feel like I have the strength to keep on, I can borrow Christ’s.

Just a few verses to summarize/legitimize what I just wrote:

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy & beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…” Colossians 3:12

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

“…the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10


3 Feb

That’s the only word I can think of to describe today.

It started off all right. I went over to my friend Carrie’s house this morning with a delicious, grande skinny caramel latte from Starbuck’s (my new favorite drink) and we had a good, encouraging chat about marriage and men.

But the good ended there.

I walked out of her house around 8:10 to go to work but was confronted with a car door that wouldn’t open. At first, I thought maybe I had gotten the seatbelt jammed or there was something stuck in the door that wasn’t letting it open all the way.

Oh, no. It was the actual door. Bent. Mangled. Deformed. Smashed.

Someone had backed into it and driven off.

I’m actually kinda proud of what I did next. Instead of just driving off and talking to Travis about it later, I called him because I thought maybe moving the car wasn’t such a great idea without first contacting our insurance company. After talking to Travis, I went back inside Carrie’s house and called the cops. I called work to let them know I would be in late. I called our insurance lady.

And then I waited 30 minutes for the cops to show up.

It took him 5 minutes to write up the report once he did show up. Then I was off to work, that is once I climbed into the driver’s seat from the passenger side.

Ah, work. What can I say about you? You are beyond standard words. Only choice words can describe you. Because honestly, you make me want to cry, gorge, scream, mope, rage, sigh, and slack all at the same time. Today I hated you. I’m not really expecting tomorrow to be any different. I’ll sit at my desk, alternating between boredom, rage, and joy.

But mostly just boredom and rage.

After a meeting with my boss and our marketing consultant, I wanted a donut with chocolate icing so badly. I think I might have one for breakfast tomorrow. Doesn’t that sound heavenly? I never eat donuts. I’m not supposed to now either, since we only eat sweets on Sundays.

But guess what? I don’t give a rat’s ass.

Whoops, did I just write that? 

I had a package of brownie bites instead of the donut because the gas station across the street from our office doesn’t have donuts. The brownie bites were a total letdown though–they definitely sounded better than they tasted.

But I either had to eat some chocolate or I had to leave. Drive off into the sunset, never to return (at least not to work). Oh how I wish I could be like Peter in Office Space and just say, “You know? I don’t feel like going to work today…so I don’t think I’m going to.”

I think I’ve figured out why I’m so frustrated and POed: I’m not in charge of anything. I don’t have a sandbox. I don’t have a concrete job description. Everyone around me has work and tasks coming out of their ears, eyes and nose. They pull all of my work out of their butts.

I’m sick of butt work.

Winter in Colorado. Grrr…

15 Dec

Today, when we left for work, the temperature was actually 0 degrees. It  has gotten cold here over the weekend. But I LOVE it!! Finally, it feels like winter. And the snow that fell over the weekend is actually sticking to the ground.

Speaking of that darned snow, you’d think that the snowplows would be out scraping the white stuff off the roads and highways since the sun is not really doing its usual job of melting it all before noon. But oh no. They are not. They are still on vacation. We have seen a grand total of TWO snowplows out since Saturday. The roads are like one big skating rink and the city of Denver and its suburbs are doing NOTHING.


That’s why I am typing this at 5:19 PM, sitting at work, waiting for my dear, sweet husband to come pick me up. He was supposed to be 40 minutes ago. He was supposed to be at a doctor’s appointment (for his cat allergy) 10 minutes ago.

Doesn’t look good.

Living in Minnesota for 24 years of my life, I grew accustomed to the wonderful service of snowplowing. Sure, sometimes it was frustrating to have to move your car to a different side of the street so it didn’t get towed. Or to have to shovel the giant pile of snow at the end of your driveway that the snowplow oh-so-conveniently created. Or to get plowed in to your garage if it happened to be on an alleyway.

What I wouldn’t do for those snowplows now. Or at least some salt! They use this environmentally friendly liquid stuff. News flash gooper scoopers: It doesn’t hurt the environment AND it doesn’t hurt the snow! It doesn’t have ANY effect on the snow.

Ok, rant over.