God has been working on me a lot lately regarding my temper. It has seen great improvement over the years, but there are still times when I know I would hate to be in someone else’s shoes when it comes to dealing with me.
Recently, God – having created me to be a very visual person who frequently needs illustrations to clarify things – gave me a very clear example of how my temper affects others.
The lesson was during a hotel stay. It was my turn for the shower, so I headed to the bathroom and turned the water on to what I figured would be a perfect mix of hot and cold water. After letting it run for a short time to get the hot water flowing nicely, I reached in to test the water only to be shocked by how cold it still was! So, I turned the knob closer to the hot side, again thinking my adjustment was appropriate. Instead I found it to be scalding. So began the testing of the water. Back and forth, back and forth, trying to find just the right balance of temperature.
What I found was an exceedingly sensitive faucet. The barest twist of the faucet could take the water flow from incredibly hot to far too cool for comfort – and hitting the spot in the middle seemed almost impossible. Finally, after several minutes of experimenting I found the perfect temperature and began my shower, thinking all was well.
I was wrong.
About halfway through my shower, the temperature suddenly spiked again without any faucet adjustment. So began again the battle to find a comfortable temperature so I could quickly finish my shower before it changed on me yet again.
The comparison to my temper hit my mind long before the first balance of temperature was found, and the more I battled with the faucet, the stronger the illustration grew. I realized that I have been just like that faucet on so many occasions. I have made it very hard for my children to know where they stand and what they can or cannot do. And then, even when they seem to have finally found a happy spot, I go and get agitated about something that seemed perfectly safe.
Now, just for the record, I do not have a perpetual anger that makes me fly off the handle on a daily basis. It is not a regular and consistent occurrence. But, according to Biblical standards, it happens far too frequently. The truth is that even if I were to raise my temper just once more for the rest of my life, it would be one time too many.
I have no desire to be like a persnickety hot water faucet. Instead I want to be someone others can depend on to be stable and level-headed. Above all, I want to be obedient – and a quick temper does not reflect obedience. So, with a mind freshly filled with a perfect illustration, I continue on my quest to conquer the beast. I’m sure my family would be most delighted to see success!