I come from a family where certain emotions were considered weak. Well at least from my personal perspective. If you cried you were “hormonal”. If you were sappy you were being “immature”. If you were dramatic you were way too much “a girl”. Despite this we were all dramatic and loud. And the one negative emotion that I percieved to be acceptable to show in the house; Anger. It got you attention. Raising your voice and being mean got results. Being in a home of five children, if you created a cloud the parents would come running. This of course is the view-point of a young girl but it was still the view point (wrong as it was) that I ended up with as a young adult. The household was a loving one with tons of focus on grace, generosity, considering others, and Christ centered living but this was my personal thought process on feeling negative emotions. I was proud of being a stronger girl. A no-nonsense girl who could spit fire to make it happen. I had pride that I wasn’t “hormonal” or cried in movies.
I have worked on this. I have changed and I am learning. I can be vulnerable and I can be “girly”. Yet recently I went back to my roots in this area. I had a situation where I was red-hot mad at someone, for something that I thought that person should have done and then didn’t. (I.E. my husband). Then I ended up doing it (which made me madder) and then it didn’t work out. I blamed him. It was stupid and really immature. Of course it didn’t go over well. We are talking I went into complete and utter furry. Fire rained down. It was not pretty.
Ephesians 4:26 Be angry but do not sin…..
I did not do this. How does one really do this? I mean for real! You are supposed to be passionately irate and not explode? Not take out vengeance on the bad guy in the name of the victim? Just be Mother Spiritually Sound and love through it? Yeah right. PLLEEASE. I didn’t. I became Star Wars Battlefront and “Release the Kraken” all in one.
On one side of the equation I suppress my emotions. On the other side, I explode. Neither one is right. This is not the first time this has happened and I am painfully aware that others are like this. I know mom’s who talk about going AWOL on the kids or “losing it”.
And that is where I found myself on the matter. At a stale mate and steaming with aggression. As I sat fuming, trapped in the car, and not able to leave the situation or the people behind I came to find the answer to the above scripture. ( I also listened to a wonderful sermon on the topic that also put great clarity to the matter).
In order for me to be angry and not sin I have to feel all the other feelings that come before and after anger. I have to feel the hurt of not having someone come through, or of feeling uptight and exhausted. I have to feel pain, passion, and broken connection. I have to fully go there. I need to experience the pain and loss. To not, means I’m suppressing and what’s left is only anger and rage.
To be angry and yet not sin is to feel every other emotion outside of anger because then, and only then, do you have the understanding to deal with the situation correctly. Abandoned? Hurt? Mourning? Cheated? Broken? Exhausted? Longing? Unjustly used? Those are all emotions before Anger. You feel angry because you feel hurt. And if your hurt you act differently then if your just angry. You walk with compassion and justice for the injustice.
My question for you today is What are suppressing? What are you trying to keep “fine”? What are you trying to “manage” or overlook? What are you choosing to “not go there” or “not feel”? What are you emotionally ignoring and going numb too?
Dallas Willard once told Ortberg, “The main thing you will give your congregation … is the person you become. If your soul is unhealthy, you can’t help anybody.”
I did get over the little misunderstanding about the DVD player I wanted my husband to fix and the kids were fine without it. Only when I let myself feel everything else that was involved in the situation did I get over it. I am happy to report all is good.
P.S. I even cry in a good movie these days.