By Amanda Flinn
Do you have trouble letting go of anger? I have hope and practical help for you today.
Anger Under the Surface
I am a wanna-be minimalist, laid-back introvert, Enneagram 4, low-maintenance creative who most people would consider patient and easy-going. While I can be initially hard to read, once people know me, they understand I am a retrospective deep-thinker, with an extreme displeasure for small talk.
But still, I think people would say I’m happy, peaceful and kind.
I’m not sure anyone in either my close friend group or acquaintances would describe me as angry. But for the last few days, that’s exactly how I would describe myself. And I don’t like it one bit.
Anger is not an emotion that I’ve had a long-lasting relationship with. It’s not that I don’t experience it, but in most cases, I’m pretty good about processing through anger quickly and moving on. It rarely lasts.
However, a recent dispute within my family got me so riled up, I was seeing nothing but red.
Blood boiling and tears surfacing, I needed a release. My fingers quickly fired in rapid succession as I texted my cousin to vent my frustrations. Knowing she was angry too, I was comforted for a time, but my fire was also fueled.
Two angry people, fanning the flames (even if they do love Jesus) is not the long-term answer. We both knew it. And yet, I wasn’t ready to let go.
I sent a brief text to the women in my small group, asking for prayers for the anger swirling in my heart. Then I headed to the shower for a good cry.
Side Note: Listen ladies, I may not be an angry person, but I am definitely a crier. I cry at movies, books, commercials, babies being born, cute pictures of puppies and just about everything else. I didn’t need that shower, because I was too proud to cry. I frankly just needed a shower. However, isn’t there something so soothing about going to God in prayer and letting it all flow out under the cleansing rush of the warm water? If you haven’t done it in a while, I highly recommend it.
My shower prayer, along with the prayers from my small group, were helping. They always do. But this situation was serious and I knew the anger was still there, just lingering, waiting to get a foothold.
Don’t Let Anger Get a Foothold
Ephesians 4: 26-27 says this: “Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.”
Okay, check. I wasn’t out for revenge. That was good. I was also not seeking out the person I was angry with and speaking harsh words. But, I was internalizing it.
I was staying angry and going to bed angry. I could tell it was dragging me down.
So, the next day, I got up and walked my dogs, practicing a little self-care and self-love. After two weeks of freezing temps and snowy streets, it was good to be back out in the sun.
As I walked, I continued to pray and God repeatedly brought to mind the blessings in my life. So much so, that when the walk with my pups was through, I got back out there and went for a jog. It’s hard to be grateful and angry at the same time.
I could feel the anger diminishing as I distanced myself from the situation and focused on the good. But there was still one step left…write about it.
Letting Go of Anger
Writing has always been a way for me to work through difficult emotions and experiences. It allows me to dig deep and think about the underlying cause of my anger, not just the surface level stuff. I believe God meets me here, too.
But, I’ll be honest. This family situation is still pretty fresh for me, even as I write these words. There are moments the anger is still looming, and threatening to take me down.
Yet, I know that while I feel angry, it’s not who I am. And ultimately, it’s not what God wants for me. What God wants is for me to love. I can’t fix the situation, or control the outcome, but he can.
So, today I’m letting go of anger. If it resurfaces tomorrow, I’ll let it go again. And again and again, with God’s help.
Wife Step: Ask God to search your heart. Are you angry? If so, consider venting, praying, crying, jogging or writing as a method for release. Then hand it over to God and let it go.
Amanda Flinn is an award-winning author, blogger and booknerd. As a freelance writer, and the director of Kingdom Edge Magazine, Amanda is passionate about using words to positively impact others. A wife of 16 years, she admits that marriage is the most challenging relationship she has ever had, yet the one that keeps her closest to God. Boymom, dogmom, and friend to anyone who needs one–Amanda wants you to remember that no matter what you’re going through, you’re never alone. To learn more about her debut board book, Yoga Baby, and upcoming writing projects, visit www.amandaflinn.com.
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