Lessons from a List – Anger leads to thankfulness

I made a list of the little low level angry stuff in my life.

It was two pages of small nagging angries, the stuff that feels so normal that it no longer even registers as angry.

I found a handful of things I could fix immediately.  It felt GOOD to cross those off.

I found a much longer list of stuff that was totally under my control. I realized I was angry at the results of my own poor choices.

What’s left?

anger and thankfulness header

The next thing I did was identify all the things I was angry about that included the idea of “I want.”

I want a maid.

I want a vacation without the kids.

I want new shoes.  Again.

I want that cute new skirt I saw at Target.

In dozens of little ways, they all say the same thing.  I’m not content.  I’m not satisfied.  I want.

(Picture me stamping my foot and whining ever so slightly as I say that.  Sad, but true.)

I don’t normally think of myself as materialistic.

On the other hand, I don’t think of myself as angry either.  So take that with a grain of salt.

colossians 3 15

I’m angry about shoes?

It’s pretty humbling to realize I’m angry because I can’t immediately gratify my desire for a new pair of shoes.

Honestly, I can’t even tell you what they look like.  I just know that somewhere, there are really cute shoes on sale in my size that won’t end up in my closet.   I’m angry about theoretical shoes and I don’t even have room for them right now.

(That sounds pathetic AND ridiculous as I type it.  Yikes.)

I’m angry about having to tell myself “no” to the shoes because I’m a grownup.  I care about boring stuff like budgets.  I know I can’t walk in high heels, no matter how cute they are.  I’m showing self restraint because I remember about storage.

Being a grownup is so over-rated.

Sometimes, I just want to give in to my inner spoiled brat.

Somewhere deep inside me is a spoiled little girl twirling around in the middle of the sparkly pink princess section of the store screaming

I want it all! And I’ll take two.

In my family, we call it the “gimmies”

Gimmie dat!  I want it.

Gimme some ub dose.






Sound familiar?

I would LOVE to ban my kids from watching live television.  I want to switch them to content that does NOT come pre-loaded with commercials or at the very least has the ability to fast forward through all those ads.

Why?  Watching all those ads for toys and stuffed animal slippers and cool gizmos gives my kids a serious case of the gimmies.  When they were little, the even begged me for a bottle of purple bathroom cleaner because it looked so fun on television.  When my kids are deep in a fit of the gimmies, NOTHING they have satisfies them.  All of their books, toys, and electronic entertainment pales in comparison to what they want.

we would worry less if we praised more

The only cure I’ve found is a serious dose of thankfulness and giving.

We clean out the unloved toys and books and donate them.

We make a list of 100 silly things we are thankful for.

We find ways to serve those in need.

We donate.  We serve.  We thank.

(And whatever we do, we avoid all those commercials!)

You know what?  It works.

You know what else?  Adults have the same problem.  At least, I do.

Thankfulness and Anger are incompatible.

I can’t explain it.

I just know it’s true.

I can’t be thankful for the comfortable and cute shoes on my feet and be angry about shoes I’ll never own at time.  The two ideas just won’t stay in my brain at the same time.

Remember last year when I wrote about joy and concluded that joy is a choice?

Thankfulness is a choice.

I’m choosing thankfulness INSTEAD of anger.

I’m thankful for my favorite pair of shoes.

I’m thankful for the cute skirt hanging in my closet, the one that I got on sale two years ago and always get compliments on.

I’m thankful for the vacation we already had this past summer.  It was fabulous. So was the one before that.  When the next one happens, it will be fabulous too.

I’m thankful that someday… I’ll figure out how to squeeze a maid into the budget.  Until then, I’m thankful for a dirty house that shows that love lives here.

With every thankful thought, a little bit more anger slips away.  Right here, in the middle of that angry list, I’m finding peace.  Peace in the most unlikely place.

I have a challenge for you.

(Oh, like you didn’t see this coming a mile away… If it helps, tomorrow is the last day I plan on talking about the list.)

Grab another highlighter.  Highlight the “gimmies” on your list of little angries.  Find a way to be thankful for what you DO have.  It helps if it’s related to that item you want, but get creative if you want.

If you need inspiration, I’ve written quite a few posts on thankfulness that might be useful.  My favorites that relate to this are…

Little things – thankful for Legos and zits

But I don’t FEEL thankful.

I’d love it if you left a comment with SOMETHING that you’re thankful for.

little list of angries 4

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Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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