Since having my last child almost six years ago, I have had increasingly severe bouts of PMS. This means that I have had more and more of what an O Magazine writer once called "rusty fork moments." Specifically, the writer said that when she was suffering from PMS, she imagined taking a rusty fork and jabbing it into the forehead of her beloved husband.
That article made me laugh because I could relate. But there is very little that is funny about PMS. PMS, accepted as a real phenomenon by all but never-married male doctors, can provoke women to:
- Cry over just about anything
- Feel her life is suddenly miserable though nothing has changed
- Forego daily responsibilities
- Use foul language
- Scream or otherwise pitch an angry fit
- Violence (or just fantasies or threats of it)
Of course, I've never done any of those things during PMS. 😉 As I've tried various fixes for my PMS to no avail, one thing I haven't considered: could PMS just be an excuse for my sin?
Now, don't get me wrong. PMS isn't all in our heads. There are significant physical changes taking place that seem to take me from being Dr. Mel to making my Mr. want to hide. PMS is a very real challenge in my life. But isn't it like any other temptation? After all, many alcoholics have a genetic predisposition to crave alcohol more than the average Jane. We don't expect Christians with that predisposition to give in to the temptation to drunkenness. Why should it be okay when my hormones are compelling me to pitch a fit, to give in?
I wondered what would happen if I started seeing PMS as a temptation to sin rather than an excuse for it. Even though I consider PMS a real challenge, it's more easily overcome than so many others. I know when the challenge is coming! So many temptations aren't predictable. The Bible advises us to be ready for temptation, so here is my plan of attack:
- Pray for the strength to resist the temptation to be unkind
- Get enough sleep, especially at that vulnerable time of the month
- Keep junk food out of the house during that week
- Chew gum rather than chewing someone out
- Keep up my exercise routine
- Plan fun activities, preferably with people who make me laugh
I don't know if my repentance about giving in to the temptation of PMS will lead God to answer my prayers for relief, but I can't imagine He will answer those prayers if I continue to insist that PMS means Pardon My Sin.
Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”