I am not sure I would say it was a good day or a bad day but, 'OH BOY! Was it a day'... Today I recognized that I have limits and that once they are passed I become spiteful, mean, hateful, snotty or generally unpleasant. It could be one of these or a truly unpleasant combination of all of the above. BUT the point is I have limits of what I can handle before I let these unpleasant characteristics emerge.
The problem is I have no idea what my limits are when it comes to my attitude popping like a scary, little Jack in the Box. This is a big problem because, unlike a Jack in the Box, once the mean Emily appears nobody is laughing or sighing with relief.
So how do we find our limits? How do we recognize that on the proverbial 'next crank' my head is going to POP out and bounce around? I know that is not possible to walk around counting annoyances and nuisances to the point that you stop the person that is talking to you and say,"Before you complete this sentence I need to warn you, I am at my limit and anything you say may cause me to cry, flip out, or potentially just take your head off. Please continue at anytime." Is there not a point that we can recognize I need to step away, I need to vent or I need to find the nearest punching bag and BEAT THE CRAP OUT OF IT or I am going to act in a very unpleasant/unladylike fashion.
Today, at work, I lost my cool during a pretty common experience, a co-worker was trying to bully his way around me. This particular co-worker does this all the time...to everyone. In other words, today's experience wasn't new and I am definitely not special. The only difference was this time I was at my limit and, more importantly, I did not realize it. So after a few innocuous emails I showed my spiteful side and just gave him a dose of his own medicine. (kinda stings a little when you act like a brat and then someone tells you how much they liked your post about Love and it's components..patience, kindness...etc, etc)
I was in a great mood, I had none of the Exorcist-type symptoms that usually accompany this type of freak out. But I think I could have seen it coming if I had paid attention to the signs. Maybe then I would have been able to prevent my bratty behavior and able to address his bratty behavior without the gnashing of teeth. I am fairly certain, at this point ,any addressing of behavior would be greeted with, "well if I am then so are you..." (AKA...the chance for adult conversation has probably passed....)
A similar situation also occurred at our house tonight. As we were putting the boys to bed I was repeatedly greeted with, "you are SOO mean Mommy." Which I typically greet with a very mature, "Yes, I know. Let's go pray for a new, nice Mommy" and go about the business at hand. Now sometimes I can endure a seemingly never-ending stream of, 'you are SOO mean's & I don't like you's" with little to no trouble of blowing it off and moving on. But there again, the illusive limit or the crank on the Jack in the Box is cranking away, giving zero warning that I am about to blow. (At home when I 'lose it', it is generally alot uglier than when I 'lose it' at work. If I 'lost it' a work the way I 'lose it' at home I am certain the nice men with the butterfly nets would show up.) Why was I capable of making all the way to the second bedtime (post bedtime one, I need water, I have to pee and the I can't sleeps) did the final, "you are sooo mean" make my eyes well up and my head spin around? I was in the home stretch!!! But twice today I lost it....
Why? Well because I am not perfect....NOT AT ALL. IN ANY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION, am I even close. I struggle with my temper and when the limit is hit it is EXTREMELY difficult to bring myself back to center. I try to reel it in and hold it together but eventually it all spins out of control and the difficult task of cleaning up the mess begins. We all have these moments where rational thought and behavior are abandoned for an emotional reaction which makes us a little sheepish when the dust has settled.
My loving husband, in proofreading this post, described it as a little 'schizophrenic' as compared to my last post. I noticed that I was about to get a little 'emotional'. So I tried to slow the emotional roll, and prevent loss #3 and ask "Why?" Amazingly it made sense! He wasn't attacking the post he was simply saying that they are on the opposite ends of the spectrum. =) DUH!
Yesterday, I was describing the biblical definition of Love and all the characteristics of it. Today I am talking about what happens when we disregard this Love, The Love that we are called to be examples of. When we stop striving to be Christ-Like we become human, when we are human we are (or maybe I should say, I am) mean, spiteful and all those less pleasant things that accompany unchecked human nature.
1 Corinthians 10:13- No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. (we are not special in our weakness or our struggles), God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability (we have the ability to deal with these struggles), but with the temptation he will provide a way of escape... (there is a way to avoid the situation if we are simply not in the frame of mind to endure it).
We are not perfect, we have all stumbled and will continue to do so daily. But the freak-outs, flip-outs and other unpleasantries can be avoided IF we pay attention to one or both of the following signs:
A.) I am reaching a limit
B.) the fore mentioned limit is a half mile behind me and I am still moving 90mph
And then we must make the decision to slow down, breath and look for a calm way to deal with the situation or find the nearest EXIT sign.