I’m feeling grumpy, so I’m going to write. It’s going to be my new therapy. I will think about why I’m grumpy and see how that compares to the truth I find in God’s Word. I’ll probably do some prayin’ and some confessin’. (I don’t know why I just wrote that; I’m not from the South. But I think I like it.) And hopefully by the end of this routine, I won’t feel grumpy anymore.
This should be a fun experiment, right?
I’m grumpy right now because my husband wants me to fire the gardener.
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So listen, I started writing this blog post last week. I wrote 700 words with ease because I was mad. (A keyboard hath seen no fury like a Latina with a bone to pick, haha!) Then I stepped away from it for a few a days.
Some quick background: My husband was going to have a difficult conversation with our gardener. He ended up having to work, and — since this was our last chance before the gardener went out of town — hubby needed me to have the talk with him instead.
I have had many talks with our gardener because I work from home and my husband doesn’t. It’s not easy for me because I don’t like confrontation or telling someone in humble circumstances how to do their job. I’m always polite and kind; it’s just awkward. My husband has asked me to speak to the gardener about our dying front lawn, the weeds, and the sprinkler system — which has had so many problems with it, I’m starting to think it might be haunted.
There’s the time the gardener, for no reason at all, chopped off 42 of my Agapanthus blooms (yes, I counted them as they lay sad and limp in the green trash bin). Lord knows, when you’re a Grumpy Mommy Frumpy Mommy, you need all the flowers around that you can get!
So when I was upset that my husband wanted me to let the gardener go, I jotted down how I was feeling about having to do something I believed was my husband’s “job” and was out of my comfort zone.
But a funny thing happened when I came to the part in my new routine about comparing how I feel with the truth of God’s word:
I wasn’t mad any more. Here are a few reasons why:
1. It was petty and unimportant.
My husband and I do things for each other all the time — things that would be considered the other person’s “job.” That’s par for the course in a loving, healthy partnership. This situation was no different. We’re a team. I can choose to either keep score and be concerned with my own to-do list, or I can focus on what’s important. “…serve one another humbly in love” (Galatians 5:13).
2. Being loving and at peace with my husband was more important than being right.
Confession: I love to be right. Well, I used to love to be right. After 13 years of marriage, I’ve learned that being right is far less important in a marriage than being loving and keeping the peace. Was this the fourth or fifth time I had to talk to the gardener on my husband’s behalf? Yes. Did hubby say he was going to do it this time? Yes. Did I have a right to be disappointed that didn’t work out? Sure. I was technically “in the right” on this one, but I once heard it said, “You can be right or you can be happily married; you can’t be both.” Ouch. “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18).
3. I’m blessed.
Gratitude is an uncanny cure for grumpiness. In the grand scheme of things, this was a “first world problem” if there ever was one. We have a cute little blue house with a half dead yard. Praise the Lord that we even have a house, a yard, and can afford a gardener (even though my husband continues to assert that he can totally rake, mow, blow, trim, and weed each week himself haha!). “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ).
4. God’s Word got me.
Isn’t it interesting that the chapter in the Bible I had been reading earlier that day was Ephesians 5, where you’ll find a certain admonishment to wives about submitting to their husbands as to the Lord “in everything”? This passage of Scripture (Ephesians 5:21-33) is a guideline for how Christian husbands and wives ought to treat each other, and it’s really quite beautiful. But I didn’t want hear any of that in my anger. The verse popped into my head, and almost as if it were a fly, I quickly tried to swat it away. But as it says in Hebrews, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” God’s Word will not be ignored or swatted away. It got my heart, and there was no turning back.
5. The situation worked itself out.
Oh if only I’d learn by now that half the things I get upset about eventually work themselves out… Rather, God works them out for my good as it says in Romans 8:28. And when they do work themselves out, I feel really silly about how I reacted or the attitude or perspective I had. Pride and sin have a funny way of exacerbating a situation needlessly. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
Thankfully, God’s grace is always waiting to give me another chance to get it right. And our gardener? Because of grace, we’ve decided to give him another chance, too.
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Was there ever a time God taught you something important when you were angry? I’d love to hear about it! Let me know in the comments section below. 🙂