I wrote this post a few months ago…time to let it all hang out.
I’m just going to get this out of the way straight out the gate. I struggle with anger, I have most of my life, and it still rears it’s ugly head more than I would even care to admit….
Over the years I have become aware of my anger as a coping mechanism. It covered up the actual emotion very well. Sure, there were times when I was actually angry, but more often the not the anger was not the emotion, it was something deeper. It hurt a little bit deeper. The anger was so much easier to respond with though because it never showed itself as weakness or vulnerability. It just exposed the hardened, calloused heart that thought itself strong.
Over the last three years or so I have become very aware of my ability to use anger to mask my brokenness. The other day I realized that anger still is having it’s way in my life. It’s been so sneaky, so sneaky in fact, it’s been playing me for a fool….LITERALLY.
The last two months I have been away participating in a course on Biblical Foundations. It has been an eye opening, mind blowing, heart exposing journey and the tool has been learning once again to think. I have to admit, this school is nothing I thought it would be. I have had foundations of thinking shattered, ideas I thought right, exposed as wrong, and I’ve seen the wrecking of my mind cause the healing of my heart.
Last weekend we were writing a paper in which an apologetics response to two astronomers was to be given. It was really hard, I found it very challenging and I found in the midst of it I was getting very angry (Lay on the floor of the coffee shop, kick and scream like a small child throwing a temper tantrum). It was the sort of angry I couldn’t ignore. I realized in that moment that I was angry because I was struggling to write this thing. I text my mom and said, “I’m becoming very aware that I have anger issues when something does not make sense or I do not understand. So in to not get upset previously I’m guessing I just decided not to pay attention, say this was stupid and didn’t learn.” Her response was so profound, “What is under the anger” my first response in my head was well duh of course there is something under it but I need to write this stupid paper and I don’t have time to dig. Then I read on, the rest of the text said,
“Anger feels more powerful than….?”
Boom!!! The wisdom of a mother. I continued to write the paper thinking I had no time to actually deal with this stuff, one hour later my paper is gone off my computer. I can’t find it anywhere!!! NOW I”M REALLY MAD, stewing, cussing, literally wanting to put my fist through the wall, but deep deep down there I really just wanted to curl up in a ball, cry like a baby and have someone rub back.
As I arrived back at my house all of my roomies were there and one of girls said let me rub your back. I rejected it and was responded with, “No I’m fine, I just need to figure out how to get this thing back and start writing a new one.” Another girl comes over and gives me a hug and I responded, “You guys I’m fine, I just need to get this done.” As I am being hugged my school leader is in the room and she says, “God forbid anyone feel bad for you or just wanna love on you.” She said it in a very loving manner and it about knocked the wind out of me. I went to bed with all of this running through my head.
After a long week of head and heart stuff I have realized that I spent many years shutting ideas, thoughts, knowledge and people out because I felt stupid. I realized that anger rose and when it did it kept me in control. It kept me sane, and all put together. Never looking needy or helpless, weak or broken…well at least that’s what I thought. In the midst of all of this I have realized too how often I just put my head in the sand about things I didn’t understand, like government, politics, education, apologetics, religion, the Bible, and on and on and on. I missed out on so much because feeling angry was more powerful than feeling inadequate.
What defines you? What gives you value?
This last week I have come to understand that anger is my response to feeling powerless, weak, needy, helpless, broken. For 31 years I have found value in being right or having the answers and if I didn’t well I just pretended like it didn’t matter, put my head in the sand, or as Linz so loves to illustrate bobbed my head and swung my finger back and forth (my index finger…not the other one) and reared up in a posture of rebellion. WOW THAT WAS HARD TO TYPE!!! I don’t have to have all the answers in order to have value. I have value because I am created in the image of Christ. I have value because God says I do. I don’t have to have all the answers and if I don’t have the answers my value does not decrease.
So I challenge you to this. What is anger more powerful than in your life? Maybe it doesn’t feel like anger, but maybe it’s annoyance, maybe it’s frustration, maybe it’s a control thing. I want to challenge you to become very aware of what you are feeling. Our feelings are dangerous, we cannot base truth off of them. They are way too subjective and lead us astray. The question is not, “How am I feeling?” The question is, “What is the truth right now?”