Thursday, November 19, 2015


Today I am losing the battle against anger.  It feels raw and hot and a part of every cell in my body.  My tongue wants so badly to soak up the rage and fly at 1,000 hurtful words a minute.  It wants to rule me, and not the other way around.

I've always struggled with anger and having a hot temper.  It was something that, until I got married and then later had children, I thought I'd really gotten a handle on.  But marriage has a way of humbling you and showing you that you really don't have it as together as you thought.  When that marriage falls apart and crumbles at your feet, it brings all of your issues into much sharper focus. As hard as it is to be a loving, level-headed, emotion-controlling, tongue-taming person even in the best times of a marriage, it gets taken to a whole new level when the rug gets pulled out of from under you.  

My inner voice is suddenly the saltiest of sailors. 

It isn't always pretty.  

The bible tells us that we will be purified and refined by fire.  All of us.  Right now mine feels pretty hot, and there's a lot of purification happening, and a lot of it centers around anger for me.  A few weeks ago our pastor taught on the anger portion of the Sermon on the Mount, and it really hit me hard.  Anger, even when justified, can lead to so much sin.  It can feel like a way to justify our sin. And that's where the devil has really been trying to get me.  Justified anger.  I have a lot of justified anger.  A lot.  But I really only have two choices of how to deal with that anger, and only one of those choices can really be justified through the blood of Christ.  

I can bring my anger, my hot tearful anger and swelling breast to the Lord and ask Him to take it from me, or I can lash out and spew forth words carefully chosen to inflict maximum pain.  

I choose the second option far too often.  And I'm really good at it.  My words are targeted missiles, and they rarely miss their mark.  But it doesn't feel very good for long.  And it certainly doesn't do anything but fuel the fires of contention and strife that are burning so out of control already.  Then there's the guilt that springs up after I've had the chance to cool down...  Because launching verbal missiles in my anger is what the devil wants me to do.  He cheers me on loudly when I run my mouth in my weakness.  I hate the sound of his glee.  But rage is easy.  It takes no control.  No death to self. No strength.  It's instant anger-gratification, and it's always right below the surface.  I haven't learned how to stay silent in the face of baseless accusations and well-aimed insults.  Which of course makes me a fool.  After all, Proverbs 17:28 says that "Even a food who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent."  Ouch.  I'm not great at keeping silent.

When anger is mingled so closely and completely with grief and loss, it's a powerful thing.  It feels more powerful than me right now, that's for sure.  So I have to bring it to the Lord.  I have to ask Him to take it from me, and I know He will because He promises that His yoke is easy and His burden is light.  Now, I can't interpret that to mean that He will not let me go through trials- He also promises that we will be refined by fire- but if I exchange my burdens for His, I will be ok.  Right now what that means to me is that my burdens in this situation are overwhelming and heavy.  The fear, the worry, the heart ache, the loss... if I didn't have to get out of bed every morning to take care of my kids, I'm not sure I'd be able to crawl out from under the covers.  Those burdens are death.  But if I let the Lord take those things from me, and I'm not quite there yet, my shoulders won't be bowed so low under the weight of my circumstances, and I'll be able to look up in the face of my Savior, and His love will sustain me.

I hate feeling like I have no control.  It's brutal for me.  Which makes this entire situation completely maddening, because I feel like nothing is within my control anymore.  Except my heart.  But shoot, even that is rebelling against me.  But if I let God take my burdens, if I choose to believe that He will work all things for good and take care of me, then losing control isn't such a bad thing after all. Because clearly I have't done the best job of keeping my life healthy and vibrant.

So I'm trying to let go.  Of my anger.  Of my need for control.  Of my picture of how all of this should play out.  My way hasn't been the best way.  And if there's one thing I've learned through all of this, it is that Jesus is the only constant.  The only unchangeable, unshakeable, un-corruptible thing in my life.  So I need to cling to Him.  Big time.

Anger will be something I struggle with for quite some time, I think.  There are a lot of wounds that will need healing, and a lot of broken promises that will require forgiving.  I'm trying to give it up to the Lord.  I really want to be able to say that, even in the midst of all of this, it is well with my soul.

I know the Lord will bring me there.  He'll never give up on me, even if everyone else did, He never would.  That's something to be grateful for.

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