What if what came out of your mouth, how you said things with your body, how you commented on that last post…were all the overflow of a deeper part of you? What if anger was something that was not a sudden effect or even something stirred up, but was already there inside of you?
Just go with me on this: Remember that music box tune, POP Goes the Weasel?! Instead of a heart, picture is all with little Jack in the Box’s. When your son or your love make you mad… when you’re reeling in how right you are, riddled with anxiety or deeply offended, you seem to just unstoppably…”POP!” It can’t be helped!
It is far too easy to disown a semblance of blame for it. And why should you? Someone else made you feel this way. You are entitled to anger. If it wasn’t for them, you wouldn’t… But might I suggest, in order for anger to come out so readily, it had to have been in you, strong and bubbling yet quiet and dormant…waiting to come out. In order for offense to be taken, there had to have been the allowance of offense to make its home there, to settle down somewhere in there. You must ask yourself, will I let this visitor in? Will I let it get comfortable? And have the boldness to ask these even more vulnerbale ones: did Jesus ever, even once let the sin of offense rise up in him? Are we not to be his imitators?
The Bible says that out of the heart, the mouth speaks. And Freud agreed that our slips of the tongue are not slips at all, but utterances of our sometimes subconscious beliefs. For the most part, I would agree. But agreeing means taking more responsibility for not just my actions anymore…but for my re-actions.
Who is my Jack? The Jack in my heart – is it fear? Anger? Offense? How I react when faced with sudden conflict or tragedy reveals who he is. The reaction time matters. Sudden reaction usually is not best. Waiting, thinking, being alone for a little while – this has helped me greatly, to react in a way that is less explosive in those volitile moments and even, dare I say, wise.
I now know that I can literally choose every day, to make my Jack love.
When I work for two hours to help a desperate friend and it later seems it was all for nothing, I can choose to make my Jack grace. When I sacrifice a half hour and a bit of my sanity to follow dentist orders and try to make my daughter swish with salt water and then my husband takes over and simply prays over her instead, I can choose forgiveness. When no one shows up to an event I planned, I can choose thankfulness.
Well, that seems backwards. I know. But I can choose these different Jacks – or go-to reactions – by asking myself one thing: who am I here to serve? Is it myself, or is it my God? When my actions are to please others so that I can feel good based on their response, I’ve set myself up to fail. I’m ultimately doing things to please myself. When my actions are done with the simple base motivator of a pure love for God, and it overflows onto people in my life, I’ve set myself up for a win, no matter what it looks like to anyone else. I’ve pleased God, and since I’ve realized that’s all that really matters, nothing can make me upset any longer.
So I will soak my heart in love, learn what it means to let mercy triumph over judgement, believe the truthful promises I’ve been given – truth about myself and God – about who I really am now as a result of all He’s done. I will immerse my heart in it all…. So the next time conflict or tragedy catch me by surprise, the Jack in my heart will be love.
“POP! Goes the weasel.”