Friday, January 20, 2023

How God is taking away my anger and the effect it is having on me and in my home

 Life before Christ 

Before I became a follower of Christ, I had an anger problem. 

The anger made it so that even though I had some really good qualities, my light could not fully shine. 

For example, I really did try to give my children the gift of a wonderful childhood. I did this by taking one to the playground a lot. By God’s grace, our neighbourhood had a playground that saw little use. But we definitely maximised it. Every Saturday for a few hours, I would take her. I would sit by her whilst she played and sometimes even participate in the play. 

She became fascinated with dogs at one point and off we went, house to house to discover together which homes had dogs. 

When she was learning numbers, I would drive all around our neighbourhood so she could identify and recite the house numbers. Not once. Not twice. A lot.

I taught her how to enjoy doing things for their own sake. Not to impress others. Not to win brownie points. Just because it is a good thing to do.

So I wasn’t what would be considered in the eyes of the world, a horrible mother. But I had issues and one of them was my anger problem. 

How my anger presented itself 

My anger showed up occasionally as hitting. I would hit my daughter. I would feel terrible about it afterwards but I didn’t know how to stop. 

But the more pernicious one was the quieter daily expressions of anger at my children. The way that this quieter anger presented itself was that they would do something that in my opinion was not correct. Things like: Forgetting to wear their slippers when moving from the living room to the kitchen, wearing torn or stained clothes, leaving their room messy, leaving the living room untidy and happily staying in it. 

My anger came from repeatedly telling them not to do that only for them to do it again the very next day. Why were they doing things I had told them not to do?  When I would notice these behaviours, I would either shout at them, or angrily tell them to go do the right thing.

What I didn’t know was that these daily reprimands were destroying our relationship.

Advice from several quarters 

Advice #1

Some well-meaning people tried to warn me. But their approach was to report to me that my children don’t accept correction. The effect of that report was that I felt bad. Because it was a judgement on my inadequate parenting ability. At the same time, I felt that there was so much that was great about my children and so to hone in on their vulnerability alone was not a fair assessment. Still, I tucked it away at the back of my mind as food for thought and action.

Advice #2

Another well-meaning party gave me a different advice. The advice was to hang out with my children which I did by instituting Mummy and Daughter time - 30 minutes - every day after school. And also movie night on Fridays and Saturdays. 

Advice #3

A  third well-meaning party had told me that they were not impressed by my own ability to get things right. How could that be given that I have always been bright? This hurt to hear but I accepted the feedback in good faith. This time, I was able to respond that I was doing many things right. The answer lies in a concept from systems thinking, I knew that stocks take time to rise because flows take time to flow. It takes a long time to produce a more responsible adult. I’m actually seven years into my journey and yet it is only now that the results are becoming evident.

God’s work in my life 

God later led me to see that the failing that was so easy for me to identify in advisor number one was the same thing that I was doing at home with my kids. My home was low on  praise and high on criticism. 

God led me to see that I had a habit of looking over my kids when they came to me. And when I would notice something wrong, I would speak up. But when I noticed something right, I would not praise them. 

Gradually, God is teaching me to balance my feedback to my kids. Words like “you are beautiful”,  “You have a unique gift”,  “You matter”, “Well done”, “ Take a bow”, now circulate freely in our home. 

He also taught me that I was correct in wanting to discipline my kids. My intention was right but my methods were too harsh. He is showing me that discipline must be loving and the purpose is restoration not alienation. So when I do discipline correctly, the result is that at the end, we are closer than we were before the discipline.

God also opened my eyes to see that my anger was actually wrong in the circumstances in which I was expressing anger. The answer to my question: Why were they doing things I had told them not to do? Is that I was using the wrong tool for the job. 

Some things you need to tell your kids. Skills you need to teach them. Have them do it. Correct, Praise, until they have mastered it. We need to first of all learn how to get things right ourselves and then teach our kids how to get things right. 

God opened my eyes to see that whenever my children would do something wrong, those were teachable moments not anger moments. And so gradually my attitude began to change. And by God’s grace, I am now more able to seize the teachable moments for teaching, and instruction. I am enjoying teaching and they are enjoying being in an environment where their learning is made more possible. Their rooms are tidier, and they are taking initiative. 

The goal 

Recently God opened my eyes to see that one of my parenting goals is to raise responsible children. In fact the feedback that was initially making me angry were the early signs of lack of responsibility. And the reason the behaviour makes me angry is because I truly want a good outcome but I'm frustrated with not knowing how to achieve it. My anger is because I want to raise responsible children. So even my anger is rooted in love. But imperfectly expressed love is not God's intention for us.

For me to be able to raise responsible children, I now see that there’s a crucial part that I need to play beyond telling them what to do. And by God's grace, I am playing it. 

About a year ago, I got the idea that I wanted every morning to be a “good morning” and one of my best friends gave me a tip that along with my diligence, my beautiful mind and above all the grace of God, has helped us to actualise that. 

This morning, I even got a gift from one of my children. The gift was a positive signal to me of the emotional health of our home because her love language tends to be service, touch, and words of affirmation. So to get a gift from her signalled to me that she had had such a good morning that she felt so generous she reached further than she usually does to express love.

Encouraged by the success of our effort to have a “good morning”, we are extending it this year to a “good day”. Because it is the accumulation of many good days that make a good life. 

A message of hope

I currently believe that responsibility is a continuum. One needs a growth mindset to see it clearer. There are no useless people, just people lower down the continuum in their journey towards being more responsible. The truth of this assertion can be seen in how the same  people can assume higher and higher roles of responsibility. You can grow to become more responsible. Everyone can.

For most of us, home and school is where we’re first taught how to be responsible. But it must not end there. There is a point at which we have to fill the gaps of what our families and schools were not able to give us. Or we were not able to learn. Some people get eighty percent from home whilst others get ten percent. But whether you get eighty or ten, you can improve. 

God loves us and puts people in our lives to help us as he did in my case with my many well-meaning advisors. And in the case of my children by giving them a mother who wants the best for them. But for the help to work, we need to deepen our relationship with God. Without God, we’re not able to peel back the layers of all the feedback we receive to see that even the criticisms and the anger are rooted in love imperfectly expressed. None of us is perfect. But as we deepen our relationship with God, he changes us to more closely resemble him, and he is able to better use us for his work which is really to love those around us starting with our nuclear families and then extending outwards into the wider community.


Is your anger problem a little bit like mine used to be? Are you hitting your kids or shouting at them? Will you hand it to God?

Friday, January 13, 2023

A framework to guide you to achieve holistic success

This post was last updated on: Jan 13, 2023

It will be updated again in Jan 2024

Happy New Year Folks! I hope you've had some time to reflect on 2022 and have hit the ground running as two weeks have already gone. I have updated my daily routine and am building the discipline that the new routine requires. Tough but necessary. Anyway, let me get on with today's post.

According to LifeBook developed by Jon and Missy Butcher, a person’s life can be imagined as having twelve dimensions. All the twelve are important. And they feed into one another to create the life you are living today.

Every individual will rank or prioritise these twelve dimensions differently. But you do need to consciously rank them as your ranking will then provide a way to choose how you live your days. I offer the ranking below as a suggestion. But your life is your own and you should rank them as you please.

To run the risk of overstating the point, this is not a mere list. For it to guide your life, it must be a ranked list. If you've forgotten what it means to rank a list, I'm not going to tell you because the work of finding out will be good for you and you will not forget after you have done it.

To improve your life, you can make changes in any or all dimensions. 

The twelve dimensions are:

  1. Spiritual Life

If you are a Christian, then your spiritual life deals with your personal relationship with Jesus, and love for others. Jesus called his disciples to “come follow me”. Being a disciple of Jesus requires time spent with him. Reading, and obeying his word. Prayer. Sensitivity to and obedience to the Holy Spirit. Fellowship with other believers. And spreading the good news. If you do this, his word changes you. You become “a new creation”, your mind is renewed daily, and you begin to live life according to God’s will for you. Not doing this leaves you vulnerable to “worldly wisdom” which does not come from God. And words that do not come from God have deception at their core and lead you on a path away from His will.

  1. Love Relationship

If you are married, your love relationship is with your spouse. For anything to be successful, we need to be investing in it daily. Marriage is no exception. We need to make the right moment by moment choices that bring us together rather than tear us apart. And it takes prayer, conscious practice, and loving actions. When marriage is going well, it is a source of deep love, acceptance, and support.Weathering storms together and enjoying the good times together creates a friendship that improves over time. It energises you and frees you to be your best in the other areas of life. 

If you are single, but planning to marry, you can start reflecting on what you are looking for in a future spouse and praying for God to prepare your spouse for you.

  1. Parenting 

Our children are a gift from God. And we have the responsibility to be good stewards. If we do this well, our children become some of our biggest blessings and a daily source of laughter, sharing, hugs, and learning in a give and take that motivates, grows us, and gives us peace. When parenting doesn’t go well, children become a headache, a source of worry, and anxiety. Here, you need to think like a leader of your house. What culture are you intentionally or unintentionally creating in your home? Are you creating a home where God’s will is sought as the song “God give us Christian homes” by the Mylon Hayes Family says? You need to intentionally create your culture. You need to intentionally develop your kids to actualize their God-given potential. And you need to pay attention to the results your parenting is producing and steer things in the direction you desire.

  1. Health&Fitness

We’re given one body. And when that body is down, nothing else can happen. Taking care of our  bodies involves nourishment and movement that maintains and improves its health, performance and appearance. Like everything else, no extreme measures are needed. What is needed is consistency of effort in the right direction. Choose and control your diet, exercise regularly and go for regular checkups.

  1. Character 

Character is who you are. Do you take short cuts? How do people experience you? A healthy spiritual life does shape our character. But in addition to this, there are habits that can be developed. Like being excellent. Honouring your word. Speech that is seasoned with salt. Always being early rather than late. Going the extra mile. Being organised. Being a good steward. 

  1. Life Vision

What are you here to do? What is your life’s purpose? And how will you use your strengths, gifts, interests and abilities to serve the world. To discover and live your purpose, you have to do the work of discovering and leading with your strengths, living in alignment with your values. And serving others. Living a life that is aligned in one direction doesn’t happen by accident, you have to be doing things to shift your life there. You can’t do that if you’re confused. You need clarity. And clarity comes from reflection, soul-searching, taking action, and sometimes getting help.

  1. Social Life 

You can think of your social life as consisting of your extended family, close friends or friends who have become family, your network, and acquaintances. All of these groups need to be handled differently. All these relationships need continuous nurturing in order to flourish.

But you have to get your order right. In Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, we discover a man who invested so much in his country but too little in his mother. If that order was consciously chosen, then he lived well. If it wasn’t then, he had room for improvement.

A note about friends. As the bible says a good friend can stick closer than a brother. You don’t need a lot but you need some. How do you choose your vital few? How do you learn to be a cherished friend? And how do you invest in your relationship with them so that it becomes a source of refreshment and refinement? 

  1. Career 

This is the work you do. Work is where you’ll probably spend the majority of your time. It can be a source of meaning/impact, work you enjoy, and rewards including financial compensation. You need to choose your vocation, choose your destination wisely and put in the years to get where you desire. But you also need to ensure that the journey itself is a source of joy.

  1. Emotional

Emotions seem trivial but they have a big impact on our energy. A badly chosen word can change a person’s mood. Anxiety can render an entire day unproductive. So you need to identify what energises you and what drains your energy and systematically eliminate the energy drains and at the same time do more of the things that give you energy. Emotional life is connected to things like self-worth and boundaries.Poor management of emotional life can lead to health problems and unhappiness.

  1. Quality of Life

What do you want your house to look like? How do you want it to feel? What car? What comforts? What do you want your typical day to be like? All this you must choose. Or you’ll end up with something chosen for you by chance. A clean, tidy, beautiful and well-organised home makes your life easy. And creating a home you love to live in is achievable. But you have to work at it. You need ideas and then you need to acquire all the inputs, and voila, a beautiful space to reflect your personality. 

As enjoyable as these comforts may be, some people have them but are not happy. 

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi argues in his book: Flow: The psychology of optimal experience that quality of life does not come from our possessions nor what others think of us. Rather, it comes from quality experiences. Specifically, it comes from how we experience the moments of our day. So look for ways to improve the way you experience the things you do daily (He offers some tips in his book) and the quality of your life will improve.

  1. Intellectual Life 

How smart do you want to be? Did you know studying doesn’t need to end after college? You can learn new languages. Master new skills. Keep your mind sharp. Choose to learn things that are unconnected to your career. It will make you a more rounded person. A more interesting person to know. And make your life richer.

  1. Financial 

How much do you want to earn? Save? Invest? Do you live on a budget? How do you define financial independence? And how much money do you need to achieve and sustain financial independence? How do you want to live when you retire? Money is important. Learn how to earn it. How to save it etc. 


12 categories may seem like a lot but there is a simple way to think about them.

Spiritual, health and fitness, character, emotional, quality of life, and intellect can be thought of as self-enrichment activities.  If you are bankrupt in these areas, it becomes difficult to be of service in the world. 

Career and life vision enable you to do engaging work. Similarly, working on your social life, parenting and love relationships makes your relationships joyful. Try as much as possible to integrate these aspects of your life. Your service to the world must not stop at work (serving the community). It can be visible in all your closer relationships too (family and close friends)

Finally, there is an endowment approach to wealth. The truth is that fruit in all the 12 areas constitute wealth. To quote Paul Graham of YCombinator, wealth is anything that you want. When you become wealthy in the other eleven areas, the inflows and outflows of money in your life will become such that your monetary wealth will grow in a sustained way if you manage it well.

I welcome ideas as input for improving this post in the comments. Any ideas received will go into the 2024 version.


  • The concept of 12 Dimensions of life comes from LifeBook developed by Jon and Missy Butcher. Definitions are my own and reflect my current understanding. I update them as I gain insights from personal reading and practice.

  • The 3  broad categories (life enrichment, engaging work, and endowment approach to wealth) come from the book: Abundance Now: Amplify your life and achieve prosperity today by Lisa Nichols.