This week some bloggers I know and love ‘went public’ about their struggles with anger, and how the Lord is meeting them in their place of need. These posts ministered to me so much, I felt like it might be time to share what the Lord has been teaching me in this most-heart-wrenching area of my weaknesses as a mother.
But a little voice said “You are not qualified to write about anger. You haven’t conquered this mountain—how could you help anyone?”
So I took notes in my journal of what the Lord was speaking to me, saving it for I time when I felt more worthy to offer it to you.
Then a voice—a kinder, gentler, loving Voice—whispered, “You are definitely still in process, but must one wait till the end of the journey to share the beauty found along the way?”
The truth is, sisters, anger is a terrible problem in my life and my heart. One I have wept and raged over for years. I have silently feared the fruit of an angry life, cringing when I saw its blossoms swell and explode.
But this month (this month I backed off social media to embrace quiet and listen more—coincidence? I think not) God has been speaking little truths and insight into my struggle against the anger monster, and once or twice I have experienced a small victory. Ever so small. Ever so humble. Not worth speaking of, if I listen to the first voice. Something I should share along with songs of praise if I listen to the second Voice.
And so, I will open up my journal, and my heart, and what I am struggling to grasp this week, even before I have a handle on it myself, because I so desire that you might glimpse the very real hope that I have experienced this week, in realizing that God is bigger than my anger problem, and He is strong enough to deliver me. And you.
Come, walk along with me on my journey…
Early Morning Rumblings
It was 6:30 am and I was already boiling, ready to explode on the next thing—inanimate or human—to cross my path. Luckily, I was the only one up.
Is it any coincidence that we have been studying volcanoes in homeschool this month, and I constantly feel such kinship with these vents of the earth’s boiling magma?
Much of the advice that I have reached for and held onto and tried to apply when it comes to overcoming anger goes along the lines of detaching from it, giving yourself time and space to cool off. My anger has only built when I have tried that strategy, because as a mommy to three small children it is nearly impossible and quite unsafe for me to leave the room when I’m in the middle of an anger-triggering incident. I can’t just go and lock myself in the bathroom, people. You know what would happen? Disaster. It would just make matters worse.
But in this one instance, for once, I did not only have a chance to detach and cool off, I was forced to. We were leaving at 8am (for a prayer meeting. I know. If my life is nothing else, it is entertaining for the irony factor) and I had a load of laundry that needed to go on the line before we left. The family was still sleeping, getting outside and into the quiet of the early morning was the next and only thing to do.
And in that quiet, God began to speak to me about my anger.
The first thing He showed me was so breathtaking, it was like one of those spots on the highway where you pull over for a scenic overlook. So, though I haven’t arrived on my journey, I share it with you. Come on, friend, there is beauty on this journey…
His Beautiful Truth to me…
God told me my anger was not something I needed to overcome. I know that’s a common word used in conjunction with anger problems. And for some people, overcoming may be the recipe for moving on. But for me? My Father said, no, nu-uh.
He told me that the solution was not for me to become stronger than the anger.
What a relief. Because I’ve been trying that route for 30 years. When the anger rises in me and begins to vomit out, I often experience a moment of clarity in which my heart screams, “No! I don’t want this! I must stop this!” but the explosion continues, outside of my desperate desire to control and stomp it back down.
No, overcoming hasn’t worked for me. I’m not strong enough to fight this. That’s why I’m so glad to be told that wasn’t the way I would find freedom.
In that moment of forced quiet as I hung laundry, steam venting from my ears and nostrils, He told me that the solution to my anger was surrender. Admitting I couldn’t fight this, and handing the battle over to Him. In that moment when I feel myself begin to boil over, He told me the action I was to take was to Cry for Deliverance.
He would fight the battle. I could lay my feeble weapons down, and all He asked of me was to call to Him.
And, glory be and waddyaknow—I found that God WAS strong enough to overcome my anger. Next time I’ll share what happened when I cried out to Him in the middle of my fury.
Have you felt like your anger was something you were obligated to manage or control? I know the guilt that comes from failing in that area, sister. Perhaps it’s time to try a different strategy, to admit you aren’t strong enough for this battle, and to hand the fight over to Someone who is. Tell me, is this an area I can pray for you in?
You can find all my posts on Freedom from Anger here.