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After discussing this post with some friends, I was convicted of something I feel I need to tell you before you read this:
Anger is a heart issue.No matter what we do to try to get rid of the outward signs of anger, if our hearts are not transformed by God, we will remain a slave to anger. Click To Tweet
Guess what I have been working through for quite a while? You guessed it! Anger. Why does this pesky little bugger keep popping up when I want to rest? This morning it is especially evident as I listen to the Calm app. The focus for today’s meditation is on loving kindness.
Bleh. My mind thinks before I even press the play button. As I walk through the steps I realize that I seem to be angry at everyone and everything. Why? Because I feel like my whole world has been turned upside down.
Do you ever feel that way? Do you ever feel like things at work or at home are just changing too quickly for you to keep up? Have you ever felt like, just when you were getting the hang of things, they switched it up on you?
You’re not alone. So, what do we do with this raging pile of emotions we have become?
What Do We Do?
Try to ignore it? Ha! If you’ve tried this before, you know why I’m laughing. It doesn’t work for the long term. It just simmers and waits for something to trigger it. Then you are trying to explain to your husband why you just yelled at him for no apparent reason. Not that I speak from personal experience or anything…
Muscle it out? Oh, no. There is nothing worse to do toward anger than to just self-will it away. Usually, you are using anger to fuel this “self-discipline” and this will never end well. This is what I have been trying to do for, oh, about a month, and it hasn’t been pretty. I am snappy toward everyone and sinking into a depression.
Run toward it? That sounds self-destructive, but hear me out. This is a concept that I learned from Davey Blackburn in his
Now I understand fully why I am angry, I can more fully address my anger. I must be honest with myself:
“I am angry because I think I deserve to be comfortable. I feel like the rules have been changed even though I followed them. I am angry because I am not sure who to trust.” As I write these words I feel their power leaving me. I am no longer clinging to these thoughts but holding them loose, out in the open.
Write down why you are angry by finishing this sentence: I am angry because_________. Feel free to use this phrase over and over again until you have drained your angry bucket of all its fuel.
You can get my FREE worksheet for this exercise below.
Other Helpful Resources
Who Moved My Cheese
My co-worker introduced me to this marvelous book called Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson. It is a metaphorical tale about change using cheese as the symbol for comfort and livelihood. This book is full of gems of wisdom for when life unexpectedly changes. Here are some of my favorite quotes:
Life moves on and so should we. – Spencer JohnsonWho Moved My Cheese?
What you are afraid of is never as bad as what you imagine. The fear you let build up in your mind is worse than the situation that actually exists. – Spencer JohnsonWho Moved My Cheese?
I guess we resist changing because we are afraid of change. – Spencer JohnsonWho Moved My Cheese?
This is a book that changed my life. (Cultivate by Lara Casey) Seriously. I’m not even exaggerating. Amanda Warfield introduced me to it, and I am forever grateful. I learned from this book how to set reasonable goals, cover them with prayer, and accept grace when I’m imperfect at completing them. Lara Casey says some wonderful things in Cultivate:
She believed she couldn’t, so God did. – Lara CaseyCultivate
God doesn’t call us to comfort; he calls us to follow him. – Lara CaseyCultivate
The seasons teach us how to do life well, revealing a life-giving rhythm: we flourish through intentional periods of stillness, growth, hard work, and rest. – Lara CaseyCultivate
When life feels undone and plans seem unclear, we say, God, I trust You. When we’re in the wait, we say, Your will be done. When we feel lost or alone, we say, God, You are in this place. When the world presses in on us, we say, Lord, You are mighty. And when we’re feeling weak and defeated, and tempted to offer words of ingratitude for the season we’re in, we say, God, You are good. All the time. You are good. – Lara CaseyCultivate
When we let God’s grace lead us, instead of perfection, good things get cultivated, right where we are. – Lara CaseyCultivate
I don’t want to live in the lies of lack—focusing so much on what I don’t have that I miss all that I do have. – Lara CaseyCultivate
You can probably tell by now that I would quote the whole book if I could. It is helping me so much to work through the frustration with the changes in my life. Cultivate by Lara Casey is a tall drink of cool water for my soul. If you love the book, check out her website. I have bought some of her helpful tools, like power sheets, to help me reach my goals.
This book has so many encouraging verses that help put the change in my life in perspective. Check out this great article with inspirational verses paired with beautiful pictures.
A great theme throughout these verses is that God doesn’t change. This is a wonderfully comforting thought. No matter what changes in my life, I can remember that His character will always be the same. He will always love me, give me grace, do what is best for me, and be patient with me.
The Calm App is amazingly helpful to me in working through emotions and bringing my mind to a clear and peaceful place. I highly recommend going through the Emotions Series and selecting Investigating Anger.
You may feel frustrated with it at first because busy minds do not like meditation. I kept up with it though, and I can now say, after a few months, that the meditation has helped with my pain and anxiety levels.
Let Me Sum Up
Basically, working through anger in a healthy way is difficult. When I looked at popular searches for anger, almost all of them were about how to control it instead of working through it. Working through my anger is more painful than simply controlling it, but, in the long run, this journey is making me a better person.
Anger doesn’t go away all at once. I continually practice patience, love, and mindfulness. My God has listened to my earnest prayers and has begun to heal me from the wounds and selfishness that causes my anger.
I hope these suggestions for working through anger help, and I would love to hear your story of how you worked or are working through your anger. Please also feel free to share any resources you might have. Let’s work through this together!
Disclaimer: I am not a mental health professional and only speak from personal experience. None of this advice should be taken instead of professional help.