Reactive or Effective: How to Keep Your Cool

I threw a spoon across the kitchen the other day. It felt good for about two seconds and then regret sank in. My girls had been screaming and picking on each other all afternoon and I had reached my limit. “She's looking at me!” “She's touching me!” “She won't leave me alone!” “Why did you have to be born?!” Initially, I chose to stay out of it and try to let them work it out. Obviously, that didn’t work out like I planned.

When I finally decided to jump in and intervene, it was too late — I was an emotional volcano and I erupted with a spoon thrown across the kitchen floor while screaming at the top of my lungs “Knock it off!”

Yeah, that was effective (insert sarcasm).

I'm so glad they were upstairs and did not see my childish reaction, though they definitely heard it. Who was this psychopathic woman in my kitchen and where did that sweet, gentle Mommy who was just there a moment ago run off to? Sure, the girls got quiet (very quiet!), but I think it was because they were in shock.

I always regret knee-​jerk reactions. They are never the godly response I would prefer to have. If I were honest, I’d tell you it feels good — for about two seconds. After the two-​second window, my heart is sick and regrets creep in, along with remorse.

But God sure did teach me some things about myself through this spoon-​throwing incident …

The condition of your heart

In the future, the first question I can ask myself is, “Am I being reactive or effective?” When I react in anger, spontaneously and without thought, it is usually out of pure adrenaline and raw emotion. A reaction is so quick that unless my heart is changed completely, it will come from my human nature, not my new spiritual nature in Christ.

Another question I need to ask myself frequently is, “What is the condition of my heart?” My words and reactions are a true indication of my heart’s condition. Luke 6:45 says, “What you say flows from what is in your heart.”  That is why I need to make sure my heart is in good condition by staying close to God, allowing Him to transform me from the inside out. My reactions will be much more effective when He flows through me. I can say with certainty that God has probably never thrown a spoon across the kitchen floor!

After a heartfelt apology to my girls for my foolish reaction, we patched things up. Grace is a beautiful thing! Once everyone was calm, I was able to speak to them about their relationship with clarity and purpose. God used my spoon-​throwing reaction to remind me that I'm in a process … and He's not finished with me yet. And it taught me so much about how to “quietly hold it back.”

“Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.” —Proverbs 29:11

Leave a comment!

Can you trace back a time where you had a reaction like mine and see how your heart’s condition had something to do with it? Does this give you some insight into how you can avoid reactions you will regret in the future?

About Leslie Nease

Leslie is a wife, a mother of four, an international speaker, a published writer, and a radio personality with The Light FM. Leslie was a contestant on Survivor China in 2007, where she took a very public stand for Jesus Christ in front of over 15 […]

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  1. Love it Leslie! And love you!

  2. As always, I love your transparency- It's wonderful when these things quickly turn to an effective learning experience- Thanks for sharing my friend! xo

  3. Sharon I am looking to connect with other Christian woman. I found your site. God bless.

  4. Thank you for being honest and letting me know im not the only who deals with this struggle. ..praying

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