84 AngerPosted: January 16, 2014
Secret number 16 to finding humility is learning to let go of anger.
Stop your anger! Turn from your rage! Psalm 37:8 NLT
A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control. Proverbs 29:11 NIV
I have changed my ideas about anger a few times over the years. At one time I thought anger was an evil to be avoided. Later, I realized that I really could not avoid encountering anger at times. I even went to the point of embracing anger as a friend. I thought it could be used as a way to overcome shame. Yet, all the anger I have felt over the years has not taken away my shame. Anger signals a problem but, in and of itself, does not solve the problem.
We need to understand why we are angry and deal with the issue. Then we need to let go of the anger itself. An analogy from fishing is catch and release. We need to catch our anger—realize we are feeling it and find from whence it comes. We may need to do something in response. The anger can give us emotional impetus to do that, but then we need to let go of anger. Holding on to anger harms us and those in our lives.
In our perfectionism we vacillate from squelching our hearts with shame to giving free vent to our anger which can result in shaming others. We need to learn how to put our hearts on a “dog leash” or, in the case of our home, a “cat leash”. We need to actually feel what our hearts feel while also learning to respond appropriately. Shaming ourselves for feeling only squelches the feelings, intensifies them and prolongs them. At the same time, these intense feelings do not give us permission to do whatever we feel like doing.
Our Example, Jesus knew beforehand that Judas would betray Him and was in anguish about it. (John 13:21) Since Jesus experienced intense emotions, we will, as well. Experiencing intense emotion does not mean we are not spiritual. We have emotions. How we respond to our emotions is what matters. The way of humility involves letting go of the intensity of our emotions rather than holding on to this intensity. Holding on to this swirl can lead to bitterness, selfishness, strife, etc. Emotions take time to wind down. Jesus, in dialoging with others and taking His strong emotions to His Father is our example in dealing with our own strong emotions. We need to let hope replace anger as we learn to let go. Learning is a process and takes time.
As we learn to let go of the past and look forward to the future we will realize that our past need not tie us down; our future can look very different from our prior experiences. We need to trust God and believe in Him. Our future is full of hope, bright and beautiful. God is a Way-Maker and will make a way for us.
Trusting Him and holding on with a mustard seed of faith,
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Sermon related to anger: http://www.vineyardop.org/resources/multimedia/details/?id=244823