Just hearing the words “temper tantrum” can make any mother cringe. Visions of our precious little ones writhing on the floor, kicking and screaming, with tears flowing are not memories that we look upon with fondness. One instance in particular stands out in my mind. Standing in the line at the grocery store, I watched as my two-year-old began to gradually melt down when he heard the word “no.” It was as if the event was moving in slow motion, and I could see it unfolding slowly before me. Grave looks and intense stares abounded from innocent bystanders, and I desperately wanted to crawl under the tissue display until the storm was over. But that was not an option, so I picked up my son, who had gone limp, or as we called it “boneless,” and took him straight to the car. Tantrums were not frequent in our home, but when they happened, they were memorable.
Thinking back on that time, I am amazed at how such a sweet little boy could produce such a melee. The funny thing is that my son had heard the word “no” many times before, and it did not spark a firestorm in him. But this time, the feelings and emotions began to stir, and the torrents began to rise. The more he gave into his emotions, the more he gave into his fit. In essence, feelings fuel fits.
During my childhood years, I fashioned a few fits of my own, and I am ashamed to say, as an adult, I have had a few more. We can experience fits of fear, frustration, anger, depression, and so on, and it can be difficult to mine our way out. It seems as though once we begin the descent into one of these deluges, we start spiraling deeper and deeper. Whether a toddler or a grown woman, the sentiment is still the same – FEELINGS FUEL FITS. When one thing happens to knock us off our feet, then our emotions begin to swell. The next thing we know we are thinking about all of the negative things that have been happening, even spinning some positives into negatives if need be, until we have carved out a very dismal picture. And just like the tantrums of a two-year-old, our fits grow as we allow our emotions to take over.
Recently, I went through a difficult situation that really bothered me. As I began to meditate on the situation, fear and frustration started to build in my mind. The next thing I knew, I was considering all of the problems that could possibly arise if this happened or if that happened. As I have said before, the “what ifs” will stir up a fit quicker than anything! As my emotions took control, I started thinking about the other situations in my life that were difficult, and then all of a sudden, I found myself in the midst of a full-fledged storm. My emotions fueled a fire that I could not easily put out. As I fell to the floor, crying out to God for help, He reminded me of a simple verse: Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” It’s the same advice I had given my two-year-old during his meltdown. I knew that if he would sit still and calm his emotions, then his crisis would be much more manageable. In the same way, God was letting me know that if I would still my emotions, then I could see that He is God and is in control.
When our emotions are out of control, then we think our situation is out of control. But we need to remind ourselves that God is in control. We must be still so that we can see that He is God. Think about trying to pick up a shell from the ocean floor. If we move around too much and stir up the sand, we are unable to see where the shell is. We have to be still until the sand settles, and then we can clearly see the shell. Likewise, when our emotions get us all stirred up, then we cannot clearly see that God is in control and will bring us out of this situation victoriously. The quickest way to settle our emotions is to speak the Word of God, just quoting some passages from the Bible. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that the Word of God is a sword that divides soul and spirit; it separates the truth from the emotions.
So the next time you feel a grown-up tantrum coming on, just remember, give yourself a “time-out” and begin to speak the Word. Fuel your faith, not your fit!
Carmen McLean, an inspirational speaker and author, uses God’s Word, along with her personal experiences to equip and encourage people from all walks of life. Carmen grew up in a pastor’s home, but drugs and addiction tore her family apart; however, God has taught her how to walk victoriously out of the brokenness of her past and into the freedom that He has given. Her latest projects include, an upcoming book, Daddy’s Little Girl, which brings to light the struggles and restoration from a broken past, and her website, www.livingabove.net, which offers practical help for everyday life.