In tears, she sat across from me. She was looking for answers. “How do I stop the cycle of yelling and screaming?”
It was a woman in agony over her knee-jerk reactions to everything her children did. I wanted to give her a magical solution. I would have loved to share the turning point in my own life but I didn’t have any answers.
Instead, I gave the pat Christianese (I made this word up) answer, “Just keep praying.”
It bothered me later on as I thought about it. What kind of hope was I offering this mom when all I could say is that I had been delivered from the same type of reactions but no, I can’t tell you how it happened?
Becoming a parent was a joyful but overwhelming experience. For many, many years I was short on patience. In turn, I yelled…a lot. It was my main form of communication and I hated it.
Today, it takes a lot to get me to yell. Sure, I still struggle with patience. But the tongue-lashing is no longer a part of me.
Despite talking to this other mom who was struggling a few months ago, it only came to me last weekend how the change occurred. It suddenly clicked.
You see, I was facing the start of the New Year and I was looking for a word, a theme, or a passage of scripture I could hold onto. Last year it was the word “intentional.”
Then a song came on, “From the Inside Out” and it dawned on me. That was going to be my theme for the year 2013. Whatever changes I wanted to make…it wouldn’t come from breaking or starting habits.
It would be Christ working within and then the outward things would start to change. That’s when I realized how I had managed to stop being a yeller.
There was no moment in time in which it occurred. It was something that transpired over time.
The more of Him in me, the less room there was for me and my junk. That is the key to most of the things we want to change.
While we would love to have that aha moment in which we can pinpoint how something happened, the majority of the time we don’t even realize the deep work He is doing within.
So if that mom were sitting before me now, I would tell her to keep filling her heart and mind with Christ. Read the Word, pray throughout the day, go to church, spend time with others who will encourage you in the faith and seek forgiveness every single time she messes up.
From the inside out…that’s how the change happens.
© 2012, Stephanie Romero