At some point, you knew I’d have to talk about the cost of anger. It was right there up front in the introduction for the whole series on Anger.
Psalm 37:8 says
Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper – it only leads to harm.
Counting the cost of anger – remembering that it only leads to harm.
What if I told you that there were four simple words that would change everything….
Over the years, I’ve had a number of conversations with friends and family about anger, rage, and yellling momma drama.
This is part of one of those discussions. I took the time to interview a friend who is further along the path to being a recovered yeller. She readily admits that she still struggles with yelling and out-of-control emotions, but that it is MUCH better than it used to be.
I’m sharing Faith’s words today because they helped me.
Anger comes at a cost.
Me: You’ve shared before that you grew up with a yelling mom of your own. Are there any memories from your childhood that stick out?
Faith: Yes. I was a picky eater, and I frequently brought home uneaten sandwiches in my lunchbox from school. It must have driven my mom crazy because money was tight – we couldn’t afford to waste food. One Sunday night she opened my lunchbox to discover an uneaten tuna sandwich. She drug me out of the bathtub to yell at me. I remember she threw the sandwich at me in her rage.
Me: That must have been really scary for you.
Faith: It must have been. I still don’t like tuna sandwiches!
Me: So when did you realize that you were struggling with the same problem as your mom?
Faith: I’m not even sure. It was hard to admit! But one day I realized my son was flinching at the sound of my voice. He was afraid of me! I felt horrible. I wanted to take back every ugly word and mean tone of voice I’d ever used on him.
Me: What happened next.
Faith: I know it sounds crazy, but I called my mom. She was amazing. Somewhere between the whole tuna sandwich incident and becoming a grandmother, my mom figured a few things out. She stopped being a yeller.
Me: That’s awesome. What’s her secret?
Faith: That’s exactly what I wanted to know! That’s why I called her.
Faith: She said simply, “it’s not worth it.”
Faith: My mom went on to list all the broken relationships in her life and how each one had been damaged by her rage. She listed all the regrets she had from yelling. She told me all the dark and horrible feelings that came after a yell. Then she said one day she just woke up and realized it wasn’t worth the cost. NONE of what she was yelling about was more valuable to her than the person she was yelling at.
Me: That’s so simple.
Faith: Trust me, it works.
Me: How does that work in your life?
Faith: Now, when I’m struggling with those crazy out of control emotions that make me want to yell, I take a second to count the cost. I remind myself to value the person more than the thing. I tell myself it’s not worth it. Honestly, the dirty socks on the floor still bothered me, but I decided it was not worth the damage to the relationship to make someone else pick them up.
Me: Anything else?
Faith: You know the craziest part? When I stopped yelling about the socks, it wasn’t long before I stopped having to pick them up. I’ve never asked, but now they show up in the dirty clothes basket. It still makes me smile every time.
It’s not worth it.
Y’all, I don’t want a tattoo. The whole needle thing freaks me out. But if I were ever to get a tattoo, I might just consider having “it’s not worth it” tattoo’d on my wrist.
I certainly would like to tattoo it on my heart.
It’s not worth it.
In scripture words, I honestly believe this translates directly into “it only leads to harm.”
Value the person more than the thing.
Simple to say, hard to do.
But oh so worth it.