Such a small word but it can and does have so much impact. When someone (my husband to be exact) told me awhile back that I seemed to be carrying a lot of anger I honestly thought this couldn’t be further from the truth. I didn’t give it much thought other than yes, I get frustrated at things just like anyone else, but really anger? Who, me?
Well, I was wrong. My husband had actually mentioned it to me on more than one occasion and I had the same response each time. It took several times before I was really ready to take a look at myself in this area and of course God had been tapping me on the shoulder about it as well. So, I have been really taking a look at myself in the realm of anger as well as how I allow my emotions to dictate my responses to situations.
Looking back, I realize that there was a lot of anger at home. Dad and Mom both had tempers however they both expressed them differently. I remember on many occasions knowing Dad was upset about something and all of us were waiting for him to “blow”. When the blowup would occur,and it usually did, we would hear him vent about whatever was upsetting him and then he was done. Mind you, he might still be angry about the situation, but the blow up was done. He could then usually talk about the incident more rationally. Later in Dad’s life he did not need to “blow up” about everything but was able to discuss things and pray about situations more and more and I give God all the glory for the change that occurred. He became a much more Godly man.
Mom’s anger was much more internalized. She did verbalize her anger at times but not with the same intensity. However, the old adage of “if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” really applied with her. She made sure everyone around knew if she wasn’t pleased with something. I think back to the countenance of her face and all I see is sternness, displeasure, and yes anger. I wonder if she really ever had any fun or enjoyment in life (that’s another story entirely to deal with her upbringing and what I look back and see with my maternal grandparents). With Mom, I feel like all her smiles were forced or painful. She never changed.
I believe my anger issues resulted from a lot of different reasons. As I’ve shared before I was brought up/taught to act, be, do, become, the “right” or “perfect” daughter by Mom who didn’t like to make waves or have any attention brought on herself. I didn’t share my feelings because I didn’t think it was right to share them, or not appropriate, or not important, etc. So, as a result I “stuffed”. I became great at stuffing feelings or things that bothered me. The bad part is there’s only so much room to stuff things before you run out of room and when that happens, boy did I spew some anger forth! I don’t even recall from my childhood what I said during these times but what I do remember was being punished for it. Specifically my grandfather with a belt when I was younger and Mom and I lived with them (this was before she met and married Dad). So what did I learn from these episodes? Of course, that it wasn’t proper to get angry which only reinforced my stuffing.
Oh boy, have I had to unlearn/learn/relearn so much about myself when it comes to my emotions and specifically anger. I have learned that my emotions/feelings are just indicators of my response to what is occurring at the moment but I do not have to let them dictate how I am going to respond. I have to work hard to really examine what I am feeling and why I feel this way. Believe me, this is really hard at times because I want to have a knee-jerk response in a lot of situations.
A typical response of mine has been, I’m not angry I’m just frustrated. Well, frustration is a form of anger. Again, take the time to look at why I feel that way and choose how I should respond. I realize we don’t have lengthy periods of time in some situations to choose how to respond but even taking a few seconds to settle my emotions can really help.
I’m studying a lot of God’s Word, committing scripture to memory, utilizing a workbook on anger, and many other reading material on emotions, thoughts, etc. during this process. One of the books that really spoke to me was Unglued, by Lysa TerKeurst and I would highly recommend it. Just to share a couple of thoughts I have gleaned from her book. When my emotions bubble to the surface and threaten to overtake me I am trying to apply some principles she mentioned. Remembering I am a child of God and I am dearly loved; the name of Jesus is powerful; I need to be obedient to God during this emotional time; be grateful for what He has provided; and people see how I react to situations and I want Jesus to shine through me, not my emotional upheaval.
I’m an imperfect woman who loves Jesus and I am working through this issue of anger. I have resolved some areas and my progress is imperfect. I pray to continue with this journey and grow even closer to God through the process. I am becoming more and more of the woman He designed me to be and loving every minute of it.
While the growth journey is not always fun, and painful at times, I choose to go forward and never look back or go back. To God be the glory!