Today I woke up angry. I don’t know what it was, but I distinctly remember hearing something that, even in my state of sleepiness, annoyed me.
And as I got out of bed, I ignored it. But I continually got angry and it escalated to me getting furious over a number of different matters, and yet, I continued to ignore it all. I shoved it all inside and declared it utterly unholy. I was being ridiculous, I told myself.
And my day progressed.
But I found myself being constantly agitated by small things, here and there. Inside of me, was a constant presence of anger that I didn’t exactly recognize… Or did I?
Because while I am certainly not used to being as angry as I was today, I certainly am familiar with my tendency to push away my emotions and tell myself I’ll deal with them later–Which of course, I almost always never do.
And while I put on a smile and pretend things are okay, I ignore the hurt and other pent up emotions stirring up inside of me.
And I tell myself that I’m okay. But am I? And what exactly is the reason why I would rather compress all my emotions instead of being honest with myself about how I feel in the moment?
From the time I was a little girl, my dad always told me that it is entirely okay to be honest with how you feel. He has always told my sisters and I that it isn’t wrong to be angry or sad, and that there’s nothing inherently wrong with us having and expressing our emotions–We are human, we have emotions, and that’s how God has created us.
But at some point in my life I developed this mindset that emotions are negative–they show weakness and vulnerability, two things I subconsciously strive to never show.
Growing up in the church, I feel that I’ve been exposed to a heavy emphasis on aspects like forgiveness but not so much the raw emotions that are a natural part of being human. I feel like I’ve focused on actively trying to forgive others in an effort to be “holy and godly.” But in doing this, I have also lied to myself by refusing to confront my true emotions and processing them in a way that would allow me to genuinely forgive someone from the bottom of my heart with no strings attached.
And today, I was continually angry. Random people as well as friends I interacted with annoyed me and even infuriated me–And I didn’t entirely know why. A big portion of my day was spent wondering why I was as angry as I was. Was it sleep deprivation? Hormones? What is going on????
The Bible is very clear in showing that Jesus showed emotion. Although, in comparison to much of our anger that is derived from selfish means, Christ’s anger was holy and righteous.
God’s word also speaks about anger but I find myself conflicted between Ephesians 4:26 that doesn’t condemn anger but rather states, “Be angry and do not sin; Don’t let the sun go down in your anger” and verses like James 1:20 that state “For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
I do know though, that my anger today was not entirely justified. In a reflection of the events of today I realize that all the bitterness and anger I felt came about a result of selfishness and pride.
We are called to righteous anger, an anger for things God would be angry about, but not selfish anger that centers the issue around us.
But at the same time, I do have to actively pursue being honest with myself about my emotions. I must stop avoiding hard feelings with the cover that I’m being a good Christian who is able to forgive easily and wholeheartedly. Because that in itself is also another form of pride.
I must humbly recognize that I am a sinner saved by grace and that I need a whole lot of grace in the process to deal with my everyday emotions and in the process to forgive and love people as Jesus did.