I am really, really mad right now. I’m so upset that my muscles hurt and I feel like screaming and thrashing. I even feel like crying from the stress of the situation. Have you ever been in this kind of emotional state?
The circumstances don’t really matter to let me cover the points I want to write about today. Let me just say I am very frustrated about a situation with my work and some people I depend on. Today was not a good day! And now I have to deal with it.
But here’s the thing . . . I have learned from experience that when we are in such a carnal state (and yes, my flesh is screaming right now), it’s not the right time to react. It’s not even the right time to say very much. I know. I’ve made the mistake of letting my frustration drive my actions and the results are usually not very good! In fact, they are usually regrettable.
As hard as it may seem, the very best thing to do when frustration has you by your neck is to be quiet. Let some time pass. Get a perspective. And try to calm your nerves as much as you can. This may take a little time. You may need to take a walk and get some fresh air. But the goal right now is to keep your emotions in check so they don’t do damage!
There is nothing wrong with anger. Jesus was angry several times. And of course, the Old Testament includes many times when God was angry and even disgusted with His people. So don’t beat yourself up for feeling angry or frustrated about an issue.
But there is a tipping point. And here is what the Word of God says about it, “Be angry, and do not sin.” Ephesians 4:26.
So yes, feel the anger. But don’t allow it to be the driving force behind your actions that could cause damage to you or to others. For me, this command is why it’s so important to keep my lips sealed when I am frustrated and angry. Again, the Bible has a very clear instruction to us about that, “Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.” James 3:10-12
Anger and frustration often serve as the fuel for toxic words, put-downs and mean statements! But once those anger-filled words are out of your mouth, there’s no getting them back! They are like feathers caught by the wind, never to be recaptured.
The Bible also teaches us a couple other really important lessons about anger. It’s found in the second half of Ephesians 4:26. Here’s the whole verse, “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.”
God doesn’t want anger and frustration to mature into resentment and bitterness. He doesn’t want us in the stress negative emotions can foster. And He doesn’t want us to get into unforgiveness.
I could go into the chorus from Taylor Swift’s hit song, Shake It Off! but I won’t traumatize you with my off-key voice. However, that’s exactly what we’re to do. We are to shake off the negative feelings. We are to forgive. We are to rid our souls of the junk before it has time to fester.
I’d like to say my heart is now totally free of the frustration I feel about my associates. But I’m not quite there, yet. I’ll get there. And as I do, I will think about how to handle the issue in a way that is right and respectful and appropriate for all of us. We will get through this . . . and as a child of God and a citizen in His kingdom, I have a responsibility to be kind rather than harsh. Respectful rather than rude. And open rather than closed off (I have to admit, I think the Holy Spirit is talking to me right now. “Yes, Sir. I will obey.”)
Yes, obedience is the trump card. No matter how I feel, as a follower of Jesus Christ I am called to obey. I am called to empty myself so the Spirit of God can fill me . . . even if my flesh doesn’t want to comply!
For now I’m going to take a walk. Pray. And think about what God’s Word is saying to me: “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7. When I return I’ll have a conversation with my associates and make sure we’re all good, which will lead to the fulfillment of His command to free myself from all anxiety before I hit those sheets tonight for a good and peaceful sleep!
I hope this open-heart message has been helpful to you . . . be blessed as you continue to grow in the love and knowledge of Jesus Christ. I’m off for my much needed walk!