Anger Management



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As you’ll come to realize, this blog is a space of reminding myself of the lessons God’s teaching me and the ways he reveals his love to me. It’s a place of sharing with myself, as much as any of you. Which is why you’ll see me come back to the same topics over and over again: because I need to learn and relearn the same lessons over and over again.



Today I’m coming back to the topic of anger.



I used to be really angry on behalf of others. I found it was much easier to be angry on behalf of other—or at least to justify it. But, as I said in a previous post, I used it as an excuse to stay stuck and to lash out. It did me no good. What I eventually began to realize as my anger boiled and nothing was getting done to make the world a better place was that it was poison. Growing up as a Christian I was well aware of the perils of harboring unforgiveness. I wasn’t aware that harboring unforgiveness on behalf of others was just as toxic.



When something’s been done against you, you better understand the anger as poison. You better understand it as another way that your dignity is being robbed. It doesn’t make you more human to shut down in anger; it makes you less. Like you’re complicit in the murder of a part of yourself. You join the living dead.



I thought my anger on behalf of the poor and marginalized made me more alive. Instead it disconnected me.



But I’ve been realizing more and more that if it weren’t for that anger, I wouldn’t be where I am today. As much as anger can be a paralyzer, it can also be a motivator.



Maybe there’s a place for anger after all. But it’s not a place we should camp out at for too long. There’s danger in never leaving. We are creatures of habit.



Anger is not just something to be managed. It proves we’re human. Proves we’re human enough to get upset at something that should truly be upsetting. It wouldn’t hurt this bad if it didn’t matter.



A real epiphany came for me when I realized that God was just as angry about the suffering of his people as I was. That he was broken hearted with me. And he wanted me to do something about it.



If I was listening, to someone engulfed in righteous indignation, in shut down-shut out anger and depression, my advice wouldn’t be to get out of it, my advice would be to FEEL IT. Be in it. Don’t check out. Don’t let go of these thoughts or this anger. But let it stir you. Let it move you.



Even though I’ve learned this lesson a thousand times, (okay, been reminded of it a thousand times, acted on it probably twice) I’m still tempted to package anger up into a nice little box in my closet of negative emotions. It’s hard to be angry. It’s hard to see past the anger to the life-giving result of that anger. It takes courage to move beyond the anger. It takes courage to actually do something.



And that’s where I’m stuck today. Between letting the anger consume me and using the anger to motivate me to do something positive. So I’m going to try to take my own advice:

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Aly,

Feel it.

Be in it.

Don’t check out.

Don’t let go of these thoughts or this anger.

Let it stir you.

Let it move you.

And, God, please give me the courage to do so.

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2 thoughts on “Anger Management

  1. You posted this because of my recent outburst, didn't you.

  2. Aly says:

    Well, I was trying not to name names…

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