Word of the Week

Word of the Week: Anger

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Good morning friends!

Today I'm wondering if you can remember the last time you were really really upset about something? Can you remember the last time you ate your feelings or just had to pout around the house for a while? To such experiences, enter our word for the week: anger.

Anger: a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility.

Such of course is something that we don't like to admit aloud or at least say in polite social circles. "Me, angry? Oh no, you've got the wrong person!"

Let me tell you this: several years ago after a long season of so many things crumbling around me and so many things not going as planned, I had a friend look me in the eye over lunch one afternoon and tell me that I was angry. She said, "Can't you see it? You have gifts to give! You have love to share! But you aren't being YOU because you are so angry."

I bet you can imagine how well that went over . . . .

But after a couple of days thinking through these piercing words, I knew my friend was right, and I was so touched by her bravery in telling me the truth.

Here was the thing: my anger was all about grief.

I love what Shauna Niequist says in her latest book, I Guess I Haven't Learned That Yet about anger:

When we've experienced a great loss, often we say we're sad but what bubbles out of us like a volcano is anger: hot, volatile, explosive anger. Anger is active, powerful; it buoys us along and gives us something to do and focus and sharpen. Anger makes us feel like we are in control again, because loss at its core, loss of control, or the myth of it anyway.

Anger is not a bad emotion, contrary to what I was taught in my "How to be a nice southern woman" upbringing. Jesus after all was angry throughout the gospels. Angry at how children were mistreated. Angry about greed expressed in the temple. Angry when the most vulnerable were not protected by those who claimed to be full of "religion."

BUT when you do your deeper work with anger, you realize that it's truly your grief that needs some attention.

You are sad about other people and circumstances not being what you wanted them to be.

You might not yet be ready to be vulnerable yet about the grief that is under the anger you feel, but know when you are: God will be there waiting to cry tears with you. For to find our way out of anger space, often we have to grieve first.

May your anger be a good, good teacher this week to what lies beneath.