Well, I told you a few weeks back that one day I would try to blog about my journey out of anger. The next couple of days I will try to do that.
Before I start, let me tell you what I am not doing. I am not giving you “10 steps” to overcoming anger (or a besetting sin). Instead, what I am doing is sharing my journey with you and the things I have learned along the way. Hopefully, whether you struggle with anger or some other stronghold you will be able to glean some new truths that will help you in your journey to overcome.
I guess before I had kids I never really considered myself to be an angry person. But when my son was about 6 months old something seemed to “snap” inside of me. A frustration arose in me and I began reacting angrily. Luckily for me, I had a very compliant first child and so the incidences of anger were far between. But the older he got the more I was being “challenged” and the more I began reacting to him out of anger.
I was never pleased with myself for this and I spent many a time at my bed crying and praying to be different and I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t get control of this thing. At times, I could go for a couple of months without an incidence and then there would be a day when I would break again. For those of you who struggle with anger you might know what I am talking about: a rage would build up inside of me and all I could do was scream to get it out. Unfortunately, I wasn’t alone while this screaming would happen and my son would be the receiver of the anger. It was really frustrating especially when I felt like there were 2 mes: the one watching this happen and saying stop and the other part of me that was screaming.
In October 2007, after 2 years of battling this thing I put a rock in my rock bowl and from that day forward I knew there would be a day when I was free from anger. I would love to say that I never reacted in that way after that but I still did. I do now think it has been about 6 months where I know that I am different and can say I am free from the stronghold of anger that I was under.
So here are the things I have learned along the way in this journey from anger:
First, one reason we fight to be free is to fighting so that the next generation can be free. I hated how I felt when I was angry and it truly did frustrate me that I couldn’t overcome it. I, however, looked at my kids and I did NOT want them to be stuck fighting a stronghold of anger because I wasn’t able to overcome it. My former Pastor Shane Holden used to preach about being a David for your family line and taking out the Goliaths of your family line. I was well aware that one of the reasons I struggled with anger was rooted in generational sin and I did not want to pass it out to my children. However, things did not seem to be changing. I love the idea of being a David for your family and I think there is a very powerful picture. But one thing I’ve learned from all of this is that not every battle can or will be taken out in just one blow. If your mindset is that you just have to throw one rock and it will be over then like me you will get very discouraged with yourself and think that you are doomed to be under this thing for the rest of your life.
Now I do believe there are times when God can and does remove things in one swoop however there are times that He doesn’t and this is the picture that I did get for this circumstance. Of course, at this moment I can’t find the reference but it is in there! In the OT, God says that He did not get rid of all of the Israelites enemies because He wanted them to be able to teach their children how to fight. This to me is sooo powerful and freeing! As Christians, we get so discouraged when we struggle with sin and we think there is something wrong with us. But have you ever thought that maybe we need to learn how to fight? I am so glad in retrospect that God did not just take my anger away. If He had I would have missed out on a lot of character building (which you will see in the upcoming blogs). It also would not have gotten to the root of the problem because at that time I was just concerned about “anger” and not concerned about what was broken inside of me and was causing the anger. Finally, I think I’ve learned how to fight. I do not expect perfection from my kids. I do know that when they grow up they will not be perfect and they are going to have struggles. My firm belief is that they will not struggle with anger because that stronghold has been broken but they will struggle with other issues. One of my jobs now as a parent is to teach them how to fight. Instead of getting down in the dumps that we struggle with sin we can rise up and know that we can be set free and that we do need to learn how to fight for freedom.
So this is part one. There is more to come so check back tomorrow…