In my last venture overseas, our team had a rough few months. In one week, it specifically felt like everything was hitting the fan. Think of a bird on a baseball field. Wrong place. Wrong time. Feathers everywhere, bird no more, and the game needed to be stopped to clean up the mess.
In our team’s specific scenario, no one got a free chicken dinner; we just had to deal with the splattering of feathers everywhere on the field. We had to clean up the mess. To be honest, the majority of the mess that we COULD clean up was with how the situation affected us personally and what we were feeling (or weren’t feeling) about the situation.
When we were lead to talk about how we were feeling and what we were thinking, I think a tendency for most of us was to be quiet, not speak, and to act like we were over it. In reality, I think most of us were frustrated, angry, and disappointed. Yet, we needed to be asked questions and we needed someone to listen for us to pour out what was inside of us.
A wise man said something that has stuck with me. He said that if we don’t process anger, it can lead to depression. This is true. As I’ve thought about it over time and how I process anger in my own life, I’ve seen that anger doesn’t necessarily just go away because I acknowledge it (or don’t). Anger doesn’t even go away when I ask God to change my heart or to take it away. Anger, for me, usually gets dealt with as I process through it. It goes away as I vent and process through pain.
It makes sense, though. Anger is something that arises when something is not right. I typically get angry at injustice or when I have been hurt. The anger within us can be an indicator that something that something is off. It may not be that we need to repent or forgive. It may be that we are actually righteously angry. Perhaps something unjust happened to us or maybe someone else was sinned against. Our “justice radar” may go off not only for the sake of our own selves receiving justice – but also for the sake of others. If this is true, then we DO need to be in tune with what we feel, because our feelings might be helping us to discern spiritual Truths. Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks… but sometimes the mouth doesn’t speak. The heart still feels. So…
Why are you angry?
Why are you hurt?
Why are you offended?
Why are other people hurt or offended?
I think these questions are helpful, because it gains us ground in getting to the source of why we are feeling the way we are feeling.
It may take a while for us to learn, but emotions are good and important. They help us determine how we are doing – how our soul is doing.
If your soul is not doing well, it’s probably because something affected it. It’s not because you’re a sissy, you need to buck up, or you’re just really sensitive. (Sometimes it is one of those cases, but I think the majority of the time, it’s not).
Thoughts on this are welcome! I just wanted to share my own with you today.