As I continued to work through my challenging situations, God promised that He was with me always, and I began to see some evidence of hope–that God did have a plan for using what was going on in my life. Even when some traumatic family issues began to surface, I could see God at work in that situation, also. But then a new emotion began to erupt within me. Anger.
For so long, I had stuffed away not only all my hurts and fears, but my anger as well. I had essentially stuffed all of my emotions out of my life. I had become numb. But, as God worked on me, my feelings started to thaw. And as they thawed, I started getting angry. Angry with people. Angry with situations. Angry with myself, and angry with God.
I was so angry that I could not find rest, and was anxious about everything. My thoughts seem to spiral beyond my control so that I was not even able to read my Bible or pray. What in the world was going on with me? Hadn’t God just shown me His Faithfulness and Care for my life? I had had such a high, and now two weeks later I’m angry?
I started to feel guilty, but I kept praying over and over, “God, help me to rest in you!” My counselor assured me that what I was experiencing was normal, but I knew I had to learn to get those distorted messages out of my life. I believed that as a Christian I was not supposed to get angry. But my anger made me feel guilty, and my guilt made me feel angry. My feelings were turning into a vicious cycle, and I needed to get rid of the distortions and get an accurate account instead.
Again, my counselor reassured me that it was okay for me to be angry as long as I did not act on that anger and hurt others. I had permission to scream and cry and yell, because there really were some things in my life to be angry about. I could journal and journal, and that way give it all to God. My, how that freed my soul! It was okay to feel my feelings once again. I did not have to stuff my emotions away any longer.
So, I began to write about how I really felt about things. I began to release the anger–I just wrote and wrote and wrote. I did not know how much I had bottled up inside me. There were times I just wanted to stomp on my journal, jump on it, tear it up, shred it into a million pieces. but even as I released the anger and the disappointments and the hatred (yes, there were times I just felt hatred) I began to feel the peace of God. I realized that I had to process the anger before I could rest in the truth. I needed to practice Ephesians 4:26, which says, “Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger” (NAS).
So, what was the truth about what I was dealing with during this difficult time? The truth, for me, was that I was not perfect and therefore I could not expect my family to be perfect, either, though most of my anger had been directed at them and their imperfections. Perfection had been my way to overcome Dumb, Stupid, and Ugly, and that didn’t work. The TRUTH was this: I can never be perfect, no matter how hard I try, and neither can my family. I will always mess up and make mistakes, and that’s okay. Did you catch that last part? It’s okay.
Here is my encouragement for you today. If you have deadened your soul and are numb to your emotions, do not stay there. Friend, release the anger, the sorrow, the guilt, the shame. Whatever it is, release it to God. He can handle it all. Also remember this great truth: we all make mistakes, and that’s okay. Really. God loves you just as you are, and He loves you even when you mess up. Believe it. Live it.
Blessings – Lisa