Letting Go of Anger
When I was growing up in the early nineties, the Phoenix Suns were one of the best teams in basketball. Everyone in Arizona was a Suns fans and my friends and I all had Suns T-shirts. It always confounded me when one kid decided he was a Chicago Bulls fan. Sure, the Bulls were good, but they were definitely not our home team. When I asked one kid why he liked the Bulls, he answered, "Because they always win." Yes, the Bulls were better than the Suns that year, but I thought it was a strange reason to cheer for a team you had no other identification with. I'm sure you know of a sports fan who also seems to put his support behind the team that's doing the best. People also seem to do the same thing with their personal lives. They only put their stock in things that are a "sure thing."
We like it when our expectations are met in life. When those expectations are not materialized in the outside world, we get frustrated. When frustration hits, we can respond a few ways: we can get angry, sulk about it, or accept it and move on. Someone who struggles with anger has problems dealing with frustration and frustration only increases when expectations are too high. More often than not, high expectations will result in disappointment. This is not to say that we shouldn't set high goals for ourselves, but ambition should be realistic and not tied to any sense of entitlement. Telling yourself, "things must always go my way" will only result in an unending stream of annoyance and disappointment. This stream can build up and break the dam of self-control leading to a flood of rage and uncontrolled anger.
When anger is chronic, something else is likely going on inside. Sometimes anger and rage can be a shallow attempt to hide unresolved pain from the past. It acts like a thin sheet of ice that shatters once you allow yourself to go deeper to uncover your pain. This can be a scary process, but with God's help, there is healing. The other option is to simply continue to ignore it and simply refuse to invest in anything that might bring risk and disappointment. But that's not the kind of life that brings the joy and fulfillment God has for us. If you try to ignore and numb bad emotions, you will also end up numbing the good as well. Only in true authenticity will you find true purpose and joy.
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