Avoiding The Meltdown Experience

July 18, 2011

Having a “meltdown” is so annoying and discouraging, not to mention that it’s just no fun. Sure, the release of bottled-up stress and anger can feel good, but besides jeopardizing our dignity, our relationships, and our reputation, the rapid heartbeat, sweaty palms, swollen eyes, hoarse voice, or whatever else, isn’t so great. Furthermore, it’s not a Christ-like or Christ-honoring way to behave.

So, what do we do when our child, spouse, employee, fellow church member, another driver on the road, or whoever else, does things that make our blood start to boil? Do we yell, “I told you that if you don’t clean your room today you are going to be grounded for a month –from everything –you lazy, rebellious kid!” –? Do we scream, “I despise you, you good-for-nothing idiot who I wish I hadn’t have married!” –? Do we rant through the office, “If this ever happens again, you incompetent people, you’re going to see some heads roll!” –? Do we stand up at the church meeting and spew, “This arrogant controller is not a true Christian anyway!” –? Do we make obscene gestures at another driver and go on for 20 minutes spouting about his stupidity –all of it going into the ears (and spirits) of our family members who, caught in the van with us, have to be subjected to our ‘fit’? And what about when we feel betrayed by God? Do we sob, “You’ve allowed all this trouble to come upon me! I hate my life! Couldn’t You have just killed me in the womb?” –?

These expressions should not be. Not for those who claim to walk with Christ.

What, then, are we to do when we feel our self-control starting to slip and a “meltdown” threatening to come on? (Or are we all so pious as to think “meltdowns” never tempt us?)

Well, to have been already… daily… meditating on the Word of God… worshipfully soaking in the Lord’s presence… interceding, in humility and love, for all the people we can think of… putting into practice the fruit of the Spirit… –these things are bricks in our wall of protection from all evil attacks of temptation (1 John 5:18), including the one of giving in to some kind of “fit”.

However, besides all the glorious provisions God has given us by which to counter temptations (2 Peter 1:3,4), we must train ourselves to actually incorporate the protecting wall when besieged. (1 Tim. 4:7,8,16) It’s no use to spend time erecting the protecting wall only to, at the first sound of the enemy’s battering ram, quiver and quake and then run over to open up the gates!

So what weapon (yes, spiritual weapon) do we always have at our immediate disposal by which to keep our wall intact, strong, and impenetrable? It’s to talk to ourself –our spirit, our soul. If we have the Holy Spirit dwelling there, then He will help us talk by His counsel.

Here’s an example of what we should say: “Soul, you teach (or expect) others to conduct themselves in a Christ-like manner at all times. So, what would you say to another person right now who was being tempted to have a ‘meltdown’ of some sort?”

That’s the quick “speech”. But we may want to go on: “Soul, others have more reason than you do right now to have various kinds of ‘meltdowns’. Some people are homeless right now, some have spouses at war in foreign lands, some have loved ones who have died, or left them, or are mean to them, or lie to them. Would you not counsel them to be strong in spirit? Yes. So Soul, listen to Wisdom’s words just as you would counsel another person to do. Wisdom says, ‘This too shall pass’ and ‘God delivers the one who casts the problem to Him and then waits patiently for Him to act.’ Soul, just take a deep breath and be wise. Be loving… Be grateful for all your blessings… Christ has loved you and forgiven you and cleansed you. That alone, Soul, reminds you of your position in Christ, giving you reason to stand firm and calm against this onslaught of temptation you’re receiving right now. What would you say to someone else? You’d say, ‘Okay, your armor is a bit dislodged. Start straightening it by putting on the belt of Truth…’ Oh yea! –Truth! Truth tells me that I am able to withstand all the fiery arrows… Eph. 6:16 tells me this. Oh, yea! I will start quoting Scripture to myself! For the Word is the Light (Ps. 119:105), and evil scurries away from the Light!”

There should be no way that after such a speech, a “meltdown” could occur. Not if we believe our words. And one more thing: After such a speech, would it be good to grab back the negative thoughts, sitting back to ponder them again? Of course not. Then the final step is this: Get up and go do something else. Like write an email to a fun friend. Or saddle up your horse. Or swim some laps around the pool. Or start cleaning out a drawer or closet. If the stress-causer must be dealt with that day, then at least try to wait one hour –without thinking of it at all.

All this can do wonders, and as ambassadors of Christ (2 Cor. 5:20), we do want to– at all times– be conformed to His holy and perfect image (Rom. 8:29 & Matt. 5:48 & 1 Peter 1:14-16), including that of being self-controlled. (Gal. 5:22,23 & Titus 2:12 & 1 Peter 1:13)

with love,

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