We’ve talked about yelling before here. I’ve made it no secret that yelling has been a struggle for me as a mom… but I have also increasingly found self-control and “success” in this area.
Perhaps you struggle with yelling… as a wife? as a mom? I don’t know your exact situation… but I want to share with you what has helped and challenged me, and what continues to help and challenge me.
Romans 13:14 says, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”
“MAKE NO PROVISION”
Before you go on a camping trip, you “make provisions” — which means, you’re giving yourself the supplies, equipment, and food you’ll need for the trip. So when Paul says, “make no provision for the flesh,” what he’s saying is,
“look for the things that will sustain your flesh, and don’t pack those things. Cut them out. Avoid those things, so that your flesh will be without support in your life, and will die, unfed.”
In case you don’t remember from when we’ve talked about yelling before, “fits of rage” is listed alongside orgies as an “act of the flesh.”
So how can we apply this principle to our flesh when it wants to yell?
What has been most consistently helpful to me in my battle against yelling is the combination of two things:
- Seeing in Scripture that yelling IS sin & then focusing on mortifying (cutting off/completely killing) that sin in my life. I had to get to a place where I was willing to see yelling as completely wicked & unacceptable. NEVER justifying it. Even when I feel like it is completely “what anyone would do in this situation” or like “I had no choice; he was __________.”
- Working in our home to carefully watch and anticipate the situations that tend to prod me toward anger.
YELLING IS SIN… SO, KILL IT.
Last fall, I asked a godly friend and mentor about yelling and she warned me to see it and treat it as sinful. Her rebuke was exactly what I needed.
Whereas before I had been justifying my behavior– everyone does it, anyone would do it in this situation, it’s just my way, they know I love them, everyone loses their cool, nobody’s perfect– verses like these have helped me to develop a godly conviction in this area:
A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back. -Prov 29:11
For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish. . . that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder. -2 Corinthians 12:20 (That word for “anger” is actually also translated “fits of rage” which is exactly what screamy/yelly anger is and has been for me.)
This passage: “I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” ~Galatians 5:16-24
One of the reasons this passage was immensely helpful for me was because of verses 19-21.
Fits of anger is listed right in their with drunkenness, orgies, and sorcery– things I would *NEVER* justify or want to do.
Instead of seeing yelling as:
- a personality thing
- a family temperament thing
- a thing you grow up with or don’t, that becomes habitual in your life
- a justifiable response to frustrating events
- something “everyone does”
- an optional reaction
I had to mentally change to see it as:
- something God’s Spirit inspired Paul to put in a list alongside wicked & vile practices I would never dream of doing
- something I need to cut out of my life.
Just to level with you, this is a flesh v. Spirit choice that I am still working on. I have grown a lot in this area, but I can not (yet) say that I have mastered this sin area in my life and it no longer has any control over me.
Sometimes I catch my voice rising and stop it, but (to my shame) sometimes I just flat-out yell. I have what Paul called “a fit of rage,” and then I have to repent, and seek the forgiveness of my children. I’m just being honest with y’all. This is an ongoing process in my life. I can see growth, but I am not entirely who and how I want to be in this area.
The difference between now and what I used to do before is that I am choosing to always always always see it as sin and never never never justify even when in my head I feel like “it’s 150% deserved; he needs to know I’m serious,” etc.
It’s also more rare than it used to be.
The truth is, even if my children did the exact same thing that sets me off in my home:
- I WOULD NOT yell if Jesus was standing next to me.
- I WOULD NOT yell if I was in the portico of the White House.
- I WOULD NOT yell if I was in the sanctuary at church.
- I WOULD NOT yell if I was just outside the door of my napping infant.
So, then, the truth is this:
- I CAN utilize self-control. All of those situations prove that I do have the inner capability to discipline myself, but when I give in to my flesh and yell, I am choosing NOT to be self-controlled.
- The Spirit lives inside of me to give me the help that I need to recognize this as sin and choose to walk in the Spirit, and to walk in holiness, rather than in the passions of my flesh. I can do this.
- It is a moment-by-moment choice. For me, this is not a “one-and-done” choice. Over the past year, I have had to continually repent (keep turning away from my sin and turning toward godliness) and continually commit to growth and submission in this area.
IS THIS A BATTLE YOU ARE FACING?
#1- CHANGE YOUR HEART ATTITUDE ABOUT THIS SIN IN YOUR LIFE
First, commit your heart to seeing this as sin. Not justifiable anger. Not “a problem I sometimes have.” Not “sometimes I go a bit overboard” or “lose my cool.” Call it what it is: sin.
Pray for God to help you see this as it is– that’s what had to change for me. I had to quit finding reasons and justification for my sin and instead view it as sin, as serious as if I was being drawn to participate in orgies.
#2- PRACTICALLY, PARENT IN WAYS THAT ARE WISELY PREEMPTIVE.
For me, I needed to learn (and still, need to learn) to parent in ways that are proactive on the front end rather than on the reactive back end.
This is just the same, in many ways, as if I was wanting to participate in orgies. If there was a particular place I would go, or a particular person that I knew would trigger the desire for that sin in my life, I would need to follow the Word- it tells me to “make no provision for the flesh.” As I said before, provisions are things we pack up and take with us. It’s preparatory nourishment. So I need to cut off anything that would nourish or feed this sin in my life.
I need to analyze what’s happening, and then parent more purposefully on the front end.
Stop and really put your mind to analyzing what’s happening. Begin at the yelling incident, and then use your mental rewind button. What led to it? Not just the event someone else did that infuriated you. Go back before that. What was the context? Look for things that were poorly done, uncorrected, ill-prepared for. There are often portions of the context that we could have done differently, that would have diminished the stress and strain you felt in the moment you sinfully yelled.
- If it’s always a messy house that sets me off, then I need to work to deal with that on the front end rather than exploding when it’s a mess. Maybe I should implement a cleaning chart, a weekly routine, or something that will diminish the stress I feel about the state of the house.
- If it’s a particular child I’m more likely to explode toward, I need to pray that God would help me love that child but also have wisdom and insight so that I can parent that child more intentionally. I probably need to force my hand to reach out and rub that child’s shoulder when he’s standing near… to do the things I would do if I felt kindly toward him, and purposefully grow my affection for and relationship with that child.
- If it’s always when we’re about to leave the house that I get stressed out and leave, then I need to set my alarm clock earlier, do things the night before, or work to give myself more time/wiggle room when we are heading out the door.
I need to make provisions for the Spirit and make NO provisions for the flesh. I need to work to diligently cut out the things that will, more naturally, lead me into sin. And then choose to feed, and choose to walk in, the things that will please God.
IS THIS A SIN *YOU* NEED TO FIGHT?
IN THE COMMENTS: Please share how you battle sinful yelling.
15 thoughts on ““Make No Provision” For Your Yelling”
i needed to hear this. make sure I understand it is sin.
Jess, thank you for being transparent and for calling yelling what it is: sinful. I also want to kill this sin in my life! It is ugly and damaging, like sin always is. Blessings.
Your whole series on anger/yelling has been helpful for me. It is something I am working on, too. I love the practical points: #1 It’s sin, #2 be preemptive. It breaks the issue down into easy-to-think about pieces, and it is good to think about BOTH things. Sin is wrong, AND there are ways I can arrange circumstances to reduce my temptation to sin.
I was thinking about my children learning something new – like dressing themselves. We don’t expect perfection, or even good performance, right away. Initially, there is a lot of supervision and artificial creation of ideal circumstances – clothes are laid out neatly, right side out, and are easy-to-put-on designs. We cheer when they get their pants on backwards, because at least they did it alone. As they practice and build skill, they can handle more difficulty – snaps or buttons, or a sleeve that’s inside out. In the same way, walking in victory over a particular sin is often a gradual process. Self-control does not come overnight, and setting up ideal circumstances where I can helps me practice and exercise a given fruit of the spirit; as I practice, I will be better able to handle more complex situations. (And of course, lack of ideal circumstances does not excuse the sin.)
This post also ties into what you’ve written about making sure the mom is cared for well. In our family, one of the ‘circumstances’ for us this past year has been my health. Things were just *different* after our daughter was born, and not just in a now-we-have-two-kids sense. It took awhile to realize it was a medical thing and not just “new baby tired” and then it took more time to get diagnosed (thyroid issue)…but let me tell you, having medicine has made a world of difference. Was it still sin that I was yelling at my kids, even though I had an undiagnosed condition whose main symptoms include fatigue and irritability? Yes. Is it wise and “making provision for the Spirit” that we pursued diagnosis and treatment? Also yes. So, along with considering chore charts/making special efforts with a kid/getting up earlier, I think some moms ought to consider whether there is a medical problem to address. Especially if the situation that sets you off is “everything.” 🙂
Great thoughts, Katie! I especially appreciated your careful handling of — yes it was sin, AND there were physical things happening that needed to be addressed. So often, it is both! And we need to address both the heart attitude and the circumstantial things happening.
Thanks again for weighing in.
I appreciate you pointing this out. I started working with a health coach who looked at my medical tests and said “Wow, do you feel irritable and angry a lot?” Because your blood sugar is very unstable and that causes irritability and emotional instability. I almost felt like crying when I heard that because it was like finally someone understands just how awful I’ve felt the past several years and with three young children whining crying and making messes how difficult it is to be cheerful when I feel awful. While I don’t justify yelling I’ve had to learn to have compassion for myself while seeking grace and trying to get healthier. It’s not easy. We need to give ourselves and our children LOADS of grace. I would love to have more children my husband says no because of my health issues which I a really pray God heals but for now I know that I need to use every ounce of my energy and strength to love my kids and ask God for grace to deal kindly and lovingly with.
Thank you! You are an answer to prayer, your series on yelling has been a needed reading for myself. Coming out of a difficult season and finding that I let more things slide with my children due to my self pity, I now see there are discipline issues that need consistent addressing and have grown angry in a number of ways. Well having 5 children which are homeschooled I struggle with the selfish ambition of having everything “perfect” thinking I need to prove to everyone and debunk all their theories, yet I’m sinking with few like minded relationships, thus creating a defeated mindset and then in turn letting loose on my kids. So your article, which brings forth practical steps and a similar story to relate to has been such a blessing. Thank you for your honesty and I look forward to perusing other articles, seeing we have much in common.
Awesome, I’m so glad it hit you right where you needed it. Probably because, like you said, we have so much in common. 🙂
Good to hear from you, Mel!
It’s too easy to view “yelling” or “anger” as justified, its difficult to see it sometimes as it is…sin. When we humble ourselves and look at it through God’s eyes, it so hateful, sinful and not a part of God’s perfect plan. I find it hard, because I feel justified in my anger because I feel wronged. Truth is it’s not about me, it’s all about Him and I need to call it what is and stop!
Yes! We are so apt to justify ourselves, rather than to humble ourselves, but humility is the road to grace– grace that forgives us our past sinful yelling, and grace that enables us to fight against future yelling.
Wow, amazing information and exactly what I needed today and at this point in my life. Love it when I stumble upon great new resources like this. I just had a horrible yelling bout when I went home on my lunch hour to check on my kids; I vented to a friend in a text and when he quoted the line from the Christmas song; I Googled it and stumbled upon your web site! I’ve signed up for your emails. Thanks for your posts!!