So, for the last couple weeks I’ve been fairly pissed off due to a variety of circumstances and had kind of been brewing on it for a while, venting and grumping and complaining (sometimes to others, sometimes just in my head). Then yesterday we were at church for worship team practice and they asked if I had anything to pray about. At first, I couldn’t think of anything (not a good sign!) and then I realized I had a bazillion things I needed to be praying about and hadn’t. Long story short, this was the beginning of my calming down process. I prayed for the people I was mad at and prayed for myself to chill out (which I think I might have done at early stages of the game but had worked myself up again later).
Then when I got home last night and was getting ready for bed, my hubby was telling me that I was talking in my sleep the night before, mumbling something about interpreters (which is related to my grumpiness). Ruh-roh…I thought. Not a good sign that I was dreaming about my anger. Means I haven’t been dealing with it (which I had already realized but wasn’t doing much about).
Luckily this morning I was able to talk with a friend at work (I shall call her “The Wise One”). She is very well-balanced and diplomatic, so I realized earlier in the week that I should probably chat with her about this stuff, since she is so cool. 🙂 Finally our schedules merged at the perfect time, and I was able to cool down and change my perspective about things. I realized that I had been making loads of assumptions and hadn’t been recognizing the things that are really going on. I also realized I need to be more patient and try to see things from more perspectives than just mine.
This was amazing timing as there was a huge challenge of my patient only a few hours later. Thankfully, I was able to go about talking about it in a very diplomatic and calm way (thanks to the example of The Wise One). The whole situation reminded me of why acting out in anger never solves anything.
This said, it’s still okay to get angry. Everyone gets angry. Even Jesus got angry. When He went into the temple and say all those people using religion for their own agenda (in this case, monetary gain, but there are many examples), He became angry and turned over the tables.
There is a difference between feeling angry and acting out in anger. Anger can sometimes be the spark that gets you moving. Martin Luther King, Jr. was angry at the injustice people of color were experiencing. He turned that anger into the Civil Rights Movement and made huge systematic changes (that are still unresolved but in a better situation than in the 60s with segregated bathrooms).
Much of my anger stems from injustice, but I need to remember that change takes time. But, that doesn’t mean I need to sit back and just let things happen. I can stand up and take action, but in a calm, organized manner. Using hate and anger and violence only turns people off from your cause.
So, what am I to do? Take a deep breath (or a few…hundred), say a prayer for the people or circumstances with whom I am angry, speak words calmly, and never give up, even though things take a long, long time.
Romans 5:3-5 – “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”