It’s not what I thought.
Last night I was so confused and upset and not really sure why. I felt like I had been receiving a lot of criticism lately and I was just mad. “How dare they say this” “Why would they say that.”
Anyone ever felt unappreciated? Taken advantage of? Invisible until there’s something somebody wants? I did.
I used to think that there was really no place for anger. People would say to me that anger is actually sometimes helpful and necessary. I don’t really have any more solid an opinion now than I did then, but I cam to see what I think people might be saying when they tell me anger can be a good thing.
Last night I vented. I sat down with my journal and just started scribbling things that would probably not be helpful to repeat here. The whole time I was thinking “this is exactly what I think is not helpful for others.” But you know what? Afterward, I felt better! I was shocked! (I’ll leave you to determine what that says about me!!)
I started to rethink anger. What is it that helped when I vented last night?
I still think that anger is a coverup for some more deep and true emotions. But you might be surprised to hear that I now see a place for expressing anger. If I hadn’t vented last night, I never would have come to the conclusions I did. I never would have understood what was going on with me like I now do.
For those, like me who try to bottle up their anger, I recommend putting your anger on paper (and not blowing it into other peoples’ faces!). It really helps with perspective. As I read over all my scribbles and exclamation points (go figure I still use punctuation when I’m mad), I saw what was happening in me. Exposing my anger allowed me to see the more deeply true emotion in play.
In my venting (and before I was starting to understand anything) I started to list all the things other people (whether in reality or in my perception or both) thought I was screwing up. Then, I accidentally listed something no one has ever criticized me for. I realized in that moment that I wasn’t just angry at my critics – I was agreeing with them!
I felt like a screw up and, because I didn’t want to face that feeling, I got angry.
Here’s the truth as best I understand it:
No one, not even me, has the authority to call me a screw up. No one has the authority to tell me what I’m worth or who I am. In that moment, in a flash, I put down my gavel, and received what God’s judgment over and above my own.
No matter how much I screw up, how many mistakes I make, how many times I forget what I was trying to remember, let someone down, or drop the ball, I am loved. I am important. Before everything, God chose to make me. He didn’t have to. He didn’t need to. He made me because He wanted to, because He likes me – and that’s still true. No matter what, God wants to spend time with me and tell me what He thinks of me. God doesn’t think I’m a screw up. God isn’t casting down criticism on my head. God is inviting me to grab on to Him and transcend circumstance or personal success or failure. God and I are in love, and if you’ve ever been in love you know that what used to be important just isn’t so much any more. I don’t think God is telling me that things aren’t important. I think He’s telling me that our relationship is most important.
Next time I’m feeling like a screw up (or I’m feeling angry because someone else seems to think I’m a screw up) I hope I remember my connection to God and how much more important that is over my mistakes.
Thank you, God, for giving me the freedom to claim what You say about me. I choose to receive Your judgment over and above my own or the opinions of others. Thank You that You are the only One with the authority to judge, and that You dump buckets upon buckets of grace and love onto my head. I will gladly receive it. Amen.