When Your Buttons Get Pushed…

Proverbs 14:17 – A quick-tempered man does foolish things.

Has anyone ever pushed your buttons? You know, those proverbial internal controls that can set you off on a course that you never intended to take?

This happened to me just this morning…

I was enjoying the peaceful early hours to write. Quiet. Still. Lovely.

Then I heard it–that sound that pierces the peace and shatters the rest in my soul… Whining!

Jerry, our very vocal Border Collie, was up. And I wasn’t ready. I should have had another 15 minutes at least. But his ever-increasing insistence to bring him some food was invading my train of thought. Determined to finish what I was working on, I snapped at him to go lay down and wait… But his whines just became more insistent, louder, and mixed with not-so-happy growling.


“Oh, FINE!”

I tossed my laptop aside a little too forcefully and stormed into the kitchen. Throwing some food into his bowl, I plopped it down on the floor and waited impatiently the whole 30 seconds it took for him to scarf it down.  “Come here!” I barked at him, and harshly hooked his leash to his collar before I yanked him out the door. It was, to say the least, not a pleasant walk.

The morning that began so peacefully had suddenly turned pathetic.

Oh, how quickly these moments can come!

We all have these internal buttons that can trigger ungodly responses. And, almost daily, these buttons get pushed.


Unfortunately, too often the result is lashing out at those around us.

A quick temper is ugly. It ruins a nice morning. It ruins everything.

As Proverbs 14:17 says, a quick temper causes us to do foolish things.

When my quiet, peaceful morning was abruptly interrupted, the desire to have my way and finish what I was doing consumed me.  And when it became evident that wouldn’t happen, stress and resentment filled my soul. I started my day in a bad way, and that is NEVER a good thing.

What SHOULD I have done?

I should have gently put down the computer, taken care of the dog, enjoyed the outdoors and some quiet moments with the Lord, and finished writing when I returned.

How WOULD my morning have been different?

I would have lovingly taken care of my dog, maintained the peace, treated everyone and everything around me with gentleness and kindness, and eventually finished my writing with a calm spirit instead of giving in to a quick-temper and acting foolishly.

So what CAN we do when we feel our buttons getting pushed?


STOP… BREATHE… PRAY… and then RESPOND in love and kindness.

This takes letting go of our own desires and choosing to control ourselves.

For in all truth, we are the guardians of the buttons on our control panel, and no one can push our buttons unless we let go of the controls.

Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. The key to self-control is to make sure the Holy Spirit is the only one pushing our buttons! Then He will fill our days with peace, love, and joy.

A day ruined by irritation, unkindess, and stress OR a day blessed with peace, love, and joy. The choice is ours.

So…who’s in control of your buttons?

All Scripture from New International Version of the Bible, 1984.

Pushing Buttons photo by Michael Monello via flickr,CC BY-NC-SA 2.0, 
cropped, black/white filter added.

Other photos by Sabra Penley.


Filed under Anger, Holy Spirit, Joy, Love, Peace, Prayer, Self, Self-control

10 responses to “When Your Buttons Get Pushed…

  1. kristine

    I’ve certainly had my share of those moments, and unfortunately they always bring on feelings of shame and regret! Taking time it stop, breathe, and pray is something I will definitely remember to do before I respond. Thank you, Sabra!


  2. Well, this truly spoke to me today. This is so “me” on so many days. And then this, “For in all truth, we are the guardians of the buttons on our control panel, and no one can push our buttons unless we let go of the controls.” There is some great truth today. This is the word I’ve been needing to hear, but not really wanting to. Thank you for stepping on my toes today, they needed some pressure. Blessings today!


  3. This is a great post, Sabra! It’s funny, but we are kind of on the same wave length. I just finished a post about something similar–keeping joy when things go wrong– that I’ll put up tomorrow. I LOVE your four steps though. I’ll have to remember these for myself.


    • Can’t wait to read your post tomorrow, Betsy. I’ll look forward to it. I used those four steps the very next morning…when Jerry started his whining again! And my morning was quite different. Blessings to you!


  4. kellysshining

    Sabra that was lovely! It seems that a lot of us are experiencing those button pushes lately. I love your honest and that you also gave the options of what you could have done. That is what I have been trying to do. I may have not acted correctly the first time around, BUT I can think about what to do the next.


  5. juleslef

    Sabra, you’ve touched lots of hearts through your words here. I appreciate the steps…stop, breathe, pray, respond. So timely for me! Thank you!


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