5 Ways to Overcome Resentment

“Kristin! I’m hurt. I think I need to go to the hospital!” Groggily, I could hear my husband whisper-shout at me from downstairs. Pushing hair out of my face, I emerged from the cocoon of blankets and charged into the still-dark depths of the main level.

“I think it’s my Achilles,” he said, voice tight with pain. Within minutes, I had thrown on clothes and grabbed my purse, leaving our sleeping children in a family friend’s temporary care.

It quickly became clear that yes, my husband had ruptured his Achilles and would need surgery. At first, I didn’t think it was a big deal. I empathized with his pain and reasoned that even though the household chores, driving kids around, errands, school mornings, bedtimes, and meals were temporarily my sole responsibility, I could manage it.

But as the days wore on, I quickly realized the truth of the lie I had told myself. And as I found myself running up and down the stairs, trying to balance work obligations with our family’s needs, I felt resentment bubbling up more and more, swelling into a rage I couldn’t quell. Finally, it spilled over into hot, scalding tears and angry words.

As my husband apologized for not realizing how stressed I’d become and told me to go take a break, I shut myself in the solitude of the basement and took deep breaths. As I sat quietly, Philippians 4:6-7 came to mind:

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (NLT).

As I focused on these verses, I came up with five ways to battle resentment in this season of difficulty:

1. Cultivate gratitude. When I focus too heavily on what I need rather than the blessings he’s provided, I find myself easing closer to resentment. Reminding myself of my cozy home, food to eat, a car, healthy kids, and supportive family and friends helps refocus my prayer life and attention on what really matters.

2. Tell a friend. After my husband was injured, a friend said she would pray specifically for me because she knew it would add to my workload. Although I originally downplayed the situation, I later admitted to her that she was right.

3. Ask for help. Feeling overwhelmed led me to ask for help. When a friend asked if she could drop off a meal, I swallowed my pride and said yes. My husband and I also had conversations with our children (9, 7, and 4) about additional ways they would need to help around the house until Dad was back on his feet.

4. Reconsider what’s on your proverbial plate. Looking at our calendar, I wrote a list of what was essential and what wasn’t. Organizing it helped tame my fear of forgetting something, and anything deemed nonessential was put on hold.

5. Give yourself grace. Remember that God doesn’t ask us for perfection, and we shouldn’t expect it of ourselves. Treat yourself with kindness. Look for ways to recharge or relax, even if it’s late at night or in the early morning.

Although my situation didn’t dramatically change overnight, implementing these simple ideas has transformed my attitude. And, I know that the next time life throws a curve at me, I’ll be quicker to foster gratitude, admit when I need help (and ask for it!), reconsider my calendar, and give myself an extra dose of grace.