For the past couple of weeks I’ve been enjoying the freedom that comes with not believing accusations. It has freed me up from the constant worry about whether I really did this or that thing and whether I really am just crazy after all.
At any rate, without that worry on my plate, I’ve been able to focus on other, more real issues. So the other morning I took a hard look at myself and realized I have fallen into a bad set of habits when it comes to self-control. Well, okay, up to a point. I suppose I could be worse. I’m not eating an entire box of cookies, or getting drunk or even flipping people off in traffic.
But I am seeing how I keep “rewarding” myself for crappy days by indulging. And that is a slippery slope. Not to mention counterproductive to my 2 year plan to lose weight ;).
Even worse, when I’m in that mindset, I’m not feeding my mind and heart with Godly thoughts. And since “out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks,” and I speak, often, in front of an audience of impressionable young teens, I sometimes find myself saying things I don’t want to say instead of the Biblical wisdom I could be imparting, given such an awesome opportunity to shape their minds.
In other words, I’m sick of beating myself up on the drive home.
So I was pondering why I do this stuff. Why do I give in? It’s not just drinking alcohol or eating sweets – it’s just a general lack of self-discipline and taking care of business in the right order. So I end up cramming at the last minute and being grumpy about it. And that makes me more unhappy so I eat and drink more, which makes it worse.
I finally came to the conclusion that it’s a consequence of the crappy days. I’m angry a lot of the time over the stress caused by unresolved problems, so I medicate to make myself feel better.
So I asked the Lord to help me with my anger, since I can’t do anything about the situation that is causing it. The Scripture popped into my head from Eph 4, “Be angry and do not sin,” and I thought, well yeah, but I’m not lashing out in anger or anything.
But when I thought about it again I realized it doesn’t say “Be angry and do not lash out in anger.” It says “Be angry and do not SIN.” I’ve always heard it taught as if it says, “don’t do angry hurtful things,” but that’s not what it SAYS.
It just says to not SIN. I looked it up. It’s the generic Greek word for “sin.” It translates as missing the mark. Being off-kilter. Making mistakes. “Be angry but don’t screw things up.”
In other words, it’s okay that you are angry. Anger is generally righteous to some extent. But it’s not okay to use it as an excuse to commit your favorite sin, be that lashing out, or getting bitter, or taking revenge… OR eating things that aren’t good for you in large quantities, or drinking too much alcohol, or taking drugs, or smoking, or spreading rumors, or spending money you don’t have or any other behavior that you know will harm you but feels good at the time.
Because if you do those things, you are sabotaging yourself.
Which is ridiculous, especially if you are angry because someone just dumped a bucket of crap on you. If that’s the case, then sabotaging yourself by doing these behaviors is like turning to the perpetrator and saying, “Hey, can I borrow your bucket? Because your crap wasn’t enough. I need to add to it with my own.”
Oh but there’s more. The next verse says to not let the sun go down on your anger. I always thought that meant you had to make up with the person, but of course, that’s not always possible. Especially if the other person won’t even admit there’s a problem. So I had just about given up on doing that right.
But again, it doesn’t say “make up before sundown.” It says not to hold on to the anger. That involves no one but you. It just means you let the ANGER go. It doesn’t mean you fix anything.
But if, instead of letting the anger go, you medicate or distract in order not to feel the anger, then you never let it go, which is why you wake up still feeling it the next day. So then you medicate again, and it’s a vicious cycle of not dealing with it, which then starts to form new pathways in your brain so that you end up going there quicker and quicker.
Except that if you think of it, anger is a fight-or-flight kind of response. We can’t actually maintain it for a long time. So those negative feelings that hang on are not so much ANGER, although that does pop back up when we revisit it. The overall misery is more like fear, hurt, and anxiety.
The thing is, the Bible doesn’t say much about how to deal with anger. I think it’s assumed that it’s not an ongoing problem. But there are PLENTY of scriptures about how to deal with anxiety, fear, and hurt.
So my “anger” problem is actually a fear/hurt/anxiety problem, and I need to cast my cares upon Him and repent of worrying about it.
Not repent of anger.
Repent of worry, which is the opposite of faith, which is what I’m doing if I walk around with the attitude that life sucks so I deserve another brownie.
<drops the mic>