How to be Gentle in a Chaotic World
Looking Forward to 2017
I am not sure if you have noticed, but if you are a member of social media group right now a lot of people seem to be talking about choosing a word of the year. A word that describes your goal or theme for the coming year.
I don’t always do this, but last year was a bit of a stressful year (as I am sure many of you can relate) and I decided it would not hurt to focus on a positive goal or a theme for my 2017. Our world just seems to be full of chaos, anger and hate right now.
I spent a few days thinking and praying about what my word should be. During the holidays, I drove to Arizona and while I was on that drive I heard a pastor talk about gentleness really is, and decided that gentleness would be my word for the year. I chose gentleness because I have struggled in the last year being a stepmom, and I want to be gentle in a chaotic world.
What is Gentleness?
The pastor I listened to on the radio spoke about Aristotle’s view of gentleness being the perfect balance between never getting angry and always getting angry.
Getting angry is not necessarily a bad thing. Even Jesus got angry and he was sinless. There are plenty of justifiable reasons in the world for getting angry.
It’s about learning when to react with anger or not reacting at the right time.
The dictionary defines gentleness as being kindly, amiable or not severe, rough, or violent.
An Example of Anger in the Bible
In Matthew 21:12-13, Jesus became extremely angry with people who were taking advantage of poor people and making money in the temple.
And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
Parenting will Test Your Limits
If there are any other step-parents reading this then they know the struggle that comes along with being apart of a blended family. Heck, any parent has had their limits pushed. No need to be a part of a blended family for that to happen. And there are times, when I know that my frustration with my situation with my step-daughter caused me to react in a not so gentle way.
And I don’t like that.
It’s not right for her. It’s not right for me.
Why am I reacting in Anger rather than Gentleness?
The truth is sometimes my reacting in anger towards her is not even about her. It’s about other people, other situations that affect our lives…but isn’t that how is goes? We take our frustrations and anger out on the people we love, even when our anger has nothing to do with them.
Also, reacting in anger at inappropriate times is a sign that we are letting our feelings and emotions control our behaviors.
My Goal for the Year
So…like I said, I decided that my goal for the year will be to have an attitude of gentleness. Not just towards my step-daughter, but to other situations that frustrate me.
The truth is, I typically don’t make New Year’s resolutions, because to me it sometimes seems like setting yourself up for failure; but I know that something needs to change – so gentleness it is.
A verse that particularly speaks to me about gentleness is Titus 3:2
To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.
Titus 3:2 English Standard Version (ESV)
Quite frankly, I think a lot of us in this day and age couldn’t be hurt by taking this verse to heart.
How Do We Have a Gentle Heart if we are Feeling Anything but Gentle?
First we need to figure out why we are feeling agitated or angry
Is the person we are directing our anger at really the source of the anger? Just yesterday, I was feeling frustrated with my step-daughter; but after I took a breath (okay, many breaths) I realized I was really frustrated with other adults in our lives.
Second, is it possible that you are expecting perfection from someone? I know sometimes this is the case for myself. My husband often teases me about being OCD. Which I am absolutely not – I just like things in their place, and this was a lot easier being a single woman without kids or a husband to clean up after. Yet, I wouldn’t trade an orderly house for a loud and sometimes chaotic home of a loving family any day.
Last but not least, I also believe that in order to have a gentle heart we have to take care of ourselves in all aspects of life: spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
Here are some ideas for how to be gentle in a chaotic world:
Maintaining Spiritual Health
Read your Bible daily.
Join a local or online Bible study group. I personally love the Good Morning Girls Bible study group through www.womenlivingwell.org.
Listen to worship music. Try K-Love or Pandora.
Listen to sermons or podcasts during free-time. Check your phone for a podcast button – many free podcasts are available there.
Maintaining Emotional Health
Make time for something you enjoy.
One of my favorite hobbies is baking. If that interests you check out my posts 5 Easy Tips for Baking Over 3500 Feet or Pumpkin Coconut Squares.
Love to read but don’t have time? Consider giving audio books a try. Check out my list of 51 Bestselling Audio Books Summer 2016.
Keep a journal for your thoughts or a place to be creative.
Read more, watch television less.
Looking for a good book to read? Check out my Review of 1776 by David McCullough.
Minimize time on social media.
Meet regularly with a counselor or pastor.
Try using essential oils to help with stress and anxiety.
Check out 3 Easy Ways to Use Essential Oils to learn more about essential oils.
If you struggle with anxiety, check out my post 5 Essential Oils to Help with Anxiety.
Maintaining Physical Health
Workout or participate in a physical activity at least 3 times a week.
Eliminate or reduce soda and alcohol from your diet.
Reduce sugar in your diet.
Replace processed foods with whole and homemade foods.
Click through to read about How to Prepare and Use Kefir.
Drink plenty of water.