Anger is something that can creep up on you in an instant.
Someone pulls out in front of you while you’re driving, you smash your finger in the car door, your child throws another tantrum in public and people stare at you like you’re a bad parent. These are all examples of things that can make us angry. There are also much more serious situations that can happen to us that evoke anger.
To be honest, I’m able to look the whole way back to my childhood to see anger portrayed in my life and in my heart. Most people would never know that this is something that once affected me so deeply. If you ask anyone in my family, though, they would tell you otherwise.
God has done so much in my life and heart concerning anger over the last several years.
I have learned that anger has (at least) two roots. These are fear and pain. I never realized there was something precipitating the anger that I was feeling. When I started to look back at some of the situations that caused my anger, I could always trace it back to fear and/or pain (physical or emotional hurt). Now when I feel angry, I am able to quickly think to myself, “Am I hurting in some way, or am I fearful of something?”.
This helps tremendously, and it’s been able to help me deal with the anger at it’s root. If you don’t deal with something at it’s root, it will just keep coming back.
Here’s an example of something that I dealt with for the longest time…
In my family growing up, we always had to wait until my mom sat down until we started eating dinner. This was always something that I found annoying when I was a kid, and I didn’t understand it until I was older. When we would go to my grandma’s house (or anyone else’s for that matter), it was the same thing. No one dared to take a bite of food until the person running around sat down. This was done out of respect for them. My dad had us do this, so we wouldn’t be done eating before my mom got the chance to sit down with us.
Fast forward 20+ years…I now have my own family. When my oldest child was a baby, I thought that those rules would also apply to me. We would get together for family functions, and I would be scurrying around getting him something to eat – only to notice that everyone already started to eat. The same rule that used to irritate me suddenly became so important when it wasn’t followed for me. 🙂
Every time this would happen, I would feel so angry and hurt. I eventually had to realize that those rules I had growing up (and even into my early 30’s) no longer applied. Everyone has spouses and new families, and the rule is gone. We all have new families and new expectations, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
When I started to look back on my life to the things that have made me angry, this is one situation that came to my mind first. God showed me something huge, and it has been so healing for me. I used to get angry about no one waiting for me, because it made me feel like I wasn’t worth waiting for. I wasn’t important enough – like my mom or grandma was. The same people who used to wait for them, never even considered doing it for me. I felt threatened. Then I realized…fear was the root of my anger.
It’s been several years since I stopped getting angry about that whole situation (thank goodness!), but now I feel like my heart is being healed since I know the root of what was going on in my heart. How awesome is that? Now when more serious situations arise, I know to pray about what is going on in my heart.
Do you deal with anger in your life? Take a look back to the situations that often cause you to be angry. You may be surprised that there is a common theme of feeling fear of some kind and/or pain (emotional or physical). Pray that God would help you with this, and He will! You may have had issues with anger all of your life, but with the Holy Spirit’s help, you can change! It’s not easy, but it’s certainly possible with His help. Isn’t that great news?
Lord, Jesus, thank you so much for helping us see the roots of anger in our lives. Things are not always as they seem to us, and I thank you for showing us when we honestly seek Your guidance. Please expose all of the lies that we have believed that have caused the anger in our lives, and show us how to get rid of the anger by it’s root! In Your name we pray, Amen.