Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A Peaceable Walk

Use boldness, but not overbearance; and also see that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love; see that ye refrain from idleness. Alma 38:12


I tend to get kind of fiery sometimes.

Usually when I'm tired.

And usually at my kids when they are being naughty.

And also when Jeremy leaves piles of things throughout the house...I swear, it's like he's leaving a trail just in case he gets lost....

So, when I blow up on everyone I think to myself, "I'm just passionate, that's all," and shoo away any feelings of guilt that would otherwise make me think differently about my approach to life in general.

Even when I see my kids mimic my behavior, I think, "Well, a little passion is great. It makes life exciting, by golly."

This has been going on for quite some time.

And I have to tell you, I can't say I really like it.

I mean, being passionate, or, rather, angry, all the time is exhausting.

It takes just as much work to shovel coal into a train furnace as it does to keep that anger at full flame.

And it isn't pretty.

I don't remember who first gave me the idea, but after each General Conference I go back and listen to the talks given. I listen carefully to what each speaker says, and try to keep it in my head, and apply it in my life. This is especially so with the sisters that speak.

Each of them has this wonderful spirit of goodness and peace. After listening to them, I want to be like them.

And then I look at them, and then myself, and then them again, and I think, "Welp, that ain'ta gonna happen. I'm just too darn angry...erm...passionate."

I guess I have taken the wrong approach to what anger means. I tend to equate it with strength, but I think that is a big fat lie that I've bought in to.

Anger isn't strength.

In fact, I think it is a massive lack of strength and control.

So, basically, I have been raging about my life, expecting things to change for the better...which reminds me of this thing I heard about insanity, and how it's defined as doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.

I've let my home become an insane asylum.

Children will mirror behavior, and it pains me when I see them raging about in like manner.

I don't want them growing up and perpetuating this.

That means it has to stop with me.

The Lord has been working on me my whole life, trying to mould me into a better person. Most of the time, I haven't even noticed, but I have recently.

He's asking me to let anger go, and to have a peace-filled home.

It isn't just going to happen. I have to choose it.

I have to choose peace.

And I realize that it's going to take time for that peace to infiltrate my heart, and then spill out of me into our home.

I have to become a still, small voice, so that my children will recognize the other still, small voice of the Spirit.

Brigham Young has said much on this subject, and it comes back to haunt me now and again, with phrases like,

"Bring up your children in the love and fear of the Lord; study their dispositions and their temperaments, and deal with them accordingly, never allowing yourself to correct them in the heat of passion; teach them to love you rather than to fear you."

and,

"I will here say to parents, that kind words and loving actions towards children, will subdue their uneducated nature a great deal better than the rod, or, in other words, than physical punishment."

and, (wincing)

"We should never permit ourselves to do anything that we are not willing to see our children do. We should set them an example that we wish them to imitate. Do we realize this? How often we see parents demand obedience, good behavior, kind words, pleasant looks, a sweet voice and a bright eye from a child or children when they themselves are full of bitterness and scolding! How inconsistent and unreasonable this is!" 

He goes on to say that he hoped to be an "indulgent and affectionate father." (Here's more of his great council...click me!)

Me, too. It's a very uphilly battle-ish.

But, as I have said before, it takes a whole lot less energy to try than to maintain the current status quo.

A scripture came to mind this morning as I was thinking about this:

That peaceable walk is something that sounds so wonderful!

I've come to the conclusion that in order to even get one foot on that path I need to ditch those things that are causing me to stumble. I have way too many distractions, and they make me feel like a crazy person.

I have to admit, that my computer more often than not is one of those giant distractions. I smiled sadly to myself when I listened to these words the other day by Elder José A. Teixeira:

It is refreshing to put aside our electronic devices for a while and instead turn the pages of the scriptures or take time to converse with family and friends. Especially on the Lord’s day, experience the peace of participating in a sacrament meeting without the constant urge to see if you have a new message or a new post.
The habit of setting aside your mobile device for a time will enrich and broaden your view of life, for life is not confined to a four-inch (10-cm) screen.
There is so much to do, to learn, to share that I can't afford to be distracted anymore, for the sake of peace in my home. 

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