Tips to Control a Spiritual Tantrum
by Drenda Keesee
When my children were little, they would sometimes throw tantrums when they didn’t get their way. I had two choices when that happened: I could react in anger and frustration, or I could reach for self-control and do my best to remain calm. I didn’t always react perfectly, but most of the time, I was mindful enough to remain calm and use it as a teaching moment.
Occasional tantrums from young children are very common; they are developing and learning, and they push boundaries to test the rules. Eventually, as children grow up, the tantrums end, or, at least, they should…
How often do you throw spiritual tantrums at God’s feet?
Spiritual tantrums often result when…
…you are operating in your own desires for your life and overlooking God’s plan. God wants you to go to Him for everything. He wants to be your mentor, your advocate, and your teacher.
Children throw tantrums because they are still learning to control their emotions. As adults, we are called to have more control and to demonstrate a faith response versus a fear response. Here are a few simple steps you can use to keep your frustrations from turning into meltdowns:
What is the source of your frustration? Are you waiting on something you want or something God wants? Knowing the difference is half the battle. When we are operating in faith and trusting in God’s perfect timing, our frustrations are cast down.
Are you spending time in prayer? Proverbs 3:5-6 instructs us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Frustration comes when we are operating in fear. Take your fears and worries to God and He will direct you.
Know when to take a time-out. This is not the kind of time-out that we use for little children, but sometimes adults do need a moment to compose themselves. If your face is getting hot with frustration, walk away, breathe, and refocus your mind on something positive—and the earlier the better!
Prayer: God, guard my heart, and help me turn my frustration into an attitude of gratitude. I know Your love for me is beyond measure. Guide me into your presence that I may discern your will. Amen.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6, NIV.)