“It’s a good thing to have all the props pulled out from under us occasionally. It gives us some sense of what is rock under our feet, and what is sand.”Madeleine L’Engle
When things happen in life that pull the props out and put us into “crisis” mode–after the initial sorting of the sand and rock under my feet–I start to feel angry.
I feel angry because it seems like everyone is suddenly acting as if bad things are happening and people are dying when in fact there have been awful, evil, things happening and people dying painful, heartbreaking, physical and spiritual deaths all around us, every moment of our lives.
I feel angry as if I’ve realized it the whole time and others have been carrying on obliviously. I bitterly think ‘why are they only now realizing it?’
Even as I type those words, I am just becoming aware of the true source of my feelings.
What am I really angry about?
Now I know that the real reason I feel so frustrated is because I myself have been living as if everything-and everyone–is “just fine”.
Maybe it is. Maybe we are.
But I believe that there’s a reason each of us is here and it’s not merely to make it through every crisis–poverty, addiction, mental illness, family conflict, injury, disease, job loss, pandemic. *side note: I do believe that making it through any of these things is indeed a major victory.*
I believe that there is a larger purpose for my being right here, right now, and that it’s not just to “get through it” or “hang in there”.
Therein lies the root of the angry feelings bubbling up.
I feel angry because I know that I am guilty of presupposing that life for one more second is something owed and promised to me.
I feel angry because there are provisions and passions and gifts that I’ve been storing up, ignoring and keeping to myself.
I feel angry because I’ve been squandering time, turning a blind eye to the reality of death that awaits at any given hour.
I feel angry because I’ve been misusing energy on things that are not important–allowing my focus to dwell on untrue, judgmental, and anxious thoughts.
I feel angry because I’ve been wasting resources. I’ve been putting off multiplying gifts that I’ve been given, expressing gratitude, and blessing others.
It feels good to vent this frustration through my fingertips.
What do I do with this anger?
When I acknowledge my feelings of anger, I feel empowered to release them and surrender them to God.
I remember that this bitterness might be rooted not in what’s going on around me but in what’s going on inside of me.
I feel grace toward others, recognizing that when I start to judge someone else’s response in a crisis, my criticism is perhaps misplaced.
I feel grace toward myself because God sees me in my broken state and loves me. He isn’t afraid of my negative feelings. He can redirect them and redeem them.
I remember that if I believe in life and death; good and evil; in God’s purpose to redeem a broken world, then my reality is in a sense a “crisis”. I must respond by pursuing life proactively, with passion and urgency! I can no longer postpone this purpose for the sake of a false external or internal peace.
I remember that while the world may be confused and caught-off-guard, God is not surprised by what’s happening at any hour or location. God is not limited by my perspective of time and space.
He gives us access to His perfect peace through Jesus; He is constant; He is reality.
He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.[b]James 1:17