Daily Devotions

Stop Spewing All Over Everyone

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Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but one who has a hasty temper exalts folly. (Proverbs 14:29)

One day I was behind someone in the grocery store who was yelling at the cashier. I didn’t get the entire conversation, but it had something to do with the guy’s credit card not working. It wasn’t something the cashier could do anything about, but that didn’t stop the guy from belittling the woman who didn’t deserve his filthy mouth. I thought of confronting him, but knew it would only keep him around longer, so I just apologized to her on his behalf, loud enough for him to hear.

I can only imagine the negative stuff going on in his life that caused him to drip his venom all over the cashier and the rest of the store. In his irrational rage he diminished himself more than the person he attempted to belittle. Most of us have lost our temper and spewed our misplaced anger in the wrong direction more than once. That isn’t an excuse, but a call to action.

The way to move beyond the rage, is to stop, breathe, and then remember who we are. We are a child of God and not an animal. We have the ability to control our emotions. Rage is controlled when we remind ourselves of all we are grateful for in life. Rage occurs when we lose sight of all that is good and focus entirely on the negative moment. The slightest recall of gratitude can shake us back to the reality of who we are and the blessings we have in life.

Today, pray for the patience to control the occasional rage. Then, pray for those who must put up with other people’s negativity every day. Finally, pray for the Holy Spirit to cool the anger with a shot of gratitude. Recognizing the cruelty and stupidity in taking out one’s rage on an innocent person should be enough of a reminder that we do not ever want to look and act that outrageous. The more self-aware we become, the better we are at controlling our negative emotions. Then we can reflect the divine love God calls us to project each day.

Solitude and Collegiality in Balance

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Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in all ways. The Lord be with all of you. (2 Thessalonians 3:16)

When we are forced into our homes for the long winter, it will be easy to fall into ruts. Yet, there are ways to rise above the fatigue and experience meaning, and perhaps even a little happiness. For those of you who work from home, be sure to separate work time and space, from relaxation time and space. When I worked from the church, I had regular interruptions with staff questions. Working at home, we are not blessed with those interruptions, but we still need the breaks. Take a short walk. I often just stand out on the deck and just breathe in fresh air. A break is not idleness or weakness, but a time to fill up our emotional and spiritual engine.

Working from home is also showing me how often I was directed away from my goals for the day. Working from home gives my ministry the autonomy necessary to focus on what is important without being constantly sidetracked. I have witnessed it with the staff as well. Freed from the distractions, I have watched the staff become more creative, because they have the time and space to think, to ponder more deeply. Even the solitude can be a gift if recognized.

Another challenge with so much alone time is spending too much time in our own head. The nice part of having colleagues in the same office is that we can informally talk, joke, and bounce ideas off one another. When we lose the benefit of informal banter, worry starts to form in the spaces within our head. We need others to bring balance back into our lives.

This balance between the gift of solitude and the gift of collegiality is what brings spiritual wholeness. Today, prayerfully listen to your emotional and spiritual needs. In the same way you eat food when you are physically hungry, listen to the emotional and spiritual hungers as well. The more honest you become with your inner self, the less fatigue you will endure and the more meaning and happiness you will experience.

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