It’s easy in a moment of small injustices for big frustrations to come out. What if there was a way to reframe your thinking before losing your cool?
My six-year-old son is making great strides in his fine motor skills. I am so impressed by how much better he can color and paint inside the lines now! On this particular day, my son contents himself by painting a Spiderman picture at his friend’s birthday party. He looks so serious in his paint smock with his hand poised carefully, his lips pursed in intense concentration.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, another paintbrush-wielding boy comes from behind my son and paints right down his canvas! I gasp and wait for the righteous tears of anger to ensue. With my own overwhelming sense of justice boiling over, I have to reign myself in before I “see red” right in the middle of that birthday party. I was close to losing my cool.
Then, amazingly, something holy happens. Nothing. My son’s initial look of shock melts away as he says,
“Mom! When something gets messed up, you can just turn it into something else! He made it look cool!”
Unbelievable! I am fairly certain that six-year-old me would not respond so graciously. As I consider my son’s grace-filled reaction that day, I am encouraged to see ways we all can confront anger and “beat the heat” instead of losing our cool.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Reframe negative thinking to avoid losing your cool.
The way we think influences our emotional responses, which in turn affects our behaviors and habits. Before disaster strikes, walk in a different mindset. Ask God to renew your mind so you can see His grace, peace, and sovereignty in every situation. To clarify, a positive mindset is different than toxic positivity, which often minimizes suffering. Instead, we must be mindful of our thought life as we coexist in a broken world in need of a savior.
Otherwise, when injustice occurs, a spark of righteous anger or indignation can easily turn into an uncontrollable fire resulting in losing your cool. Rather than ruling over us, think of anger as an important signal to which we can choose how to respond. We have the choice to either water the seed of bitterness or joy, and it all starts preemptively with our mindset.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Respond in the opposite spirit.
After making the conscious choice to reframe negative thoughts, feelings, and experiences, we are poised to be proactive rather than reactive in our responses. Meeting anger with kindness, or injustice with grace is often not something that happens organically in our flesh. Instead, such a spirit-filled reaction takes prayer, self-awareness, and intentional practice. The creator of the universe, who resurrected life from death and whose spirit manifests in each of us, is more than able to empower us to respond in the opposite spirit.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Reflect Jesus’ love.
Let us remember that every day we wake up, we are living in God’s grace. God does not expect perfection to pursue us and bring us back into a right relationship with him. When we mess up, I am thankful that God values his relationship with us first and foremost. He sees every person’s innate worth and chooses mercy and love. Because God allows us to freely walk in his righteousness through Christ, we can extend that same love and mercy to those around us, including our enemies. Reflecting Jesus’ love is a natural outpouring of an inward condition that bears the fruit of the spirit.
So often in life, we experience people or situations rife with injustice. Not only does God see and hear our hurt, but he is also the ultimate overcomer. In our moments of brokenness, may we preemptively fix our hearts and minds on God, and seek right relationships with others the way the Lord lovingly pursues us.
What is a time you were able to reframe a negative thought or experience instead of losing your cool? It’s an honor to share in this journey together.
In His Peace,