Wednesday, October 29, 2014

If I Were Free From Anger...

Last week my lady's Bible study group started a new study called "Stuck". At first I only signed up because I really like the ladies at my table and wanted to continue through the end of the year with them, and I love that my pastor's wife is at my table. Kelli is one of my favorite people.
Then we actually started the study.

I knew there were some areas that I've been feeling stuck in, but I didn't think they were a big enough deal that this workbook would effect me the way it has. I really thought they weren't that important and would either go away eventually or I could handle them.
The first section was on feeling "Broken" which, coming from an abusive relationship, you can probably understand how at times I've felt broken. That's nothing new to me. That's something I've been meeting head on since I moved back home.
The next section though was on being "Mad". Sure I get mad sometimes. Don't we all? It's a human emotion. I learned something invaluable during my Bible time Monday night. I've been so determined to meet brokenness head on and not let that effect the rest of my life, or effect my future relationships, that I'd forgotten to deal with my anger.

There were questions in "Mad" that brought back that broken feeling, that feeling that took away the years of hard work. It was an area of my soul that I had shoved down so deep that I hoped if I ignored it it would just go away. It didn't. It hasn't.
The fill ins said to Name some of the rights you hold dear. I answered with:
- the right to be heard (who doesn't like being heard. You talk, you want people to not only pay attention, but to really listen)
- the right to be happy (after everything I've been through, it's only right, yes? It would make life fair.)
-  the right to be just as loved and adored as others (feeling important makes us feel good)
- the right to a fulfilling life (I want to make a difference and feel like my life meant something to someone)
- the right to a better life (coming out of an abusive relationship, a better life is only fair..)(apparently I'm a fan of 'fair')
-  the right to condemnation to the people who wronged me (Off with their heads!!...and other such dramatic things...)

That last one took me by surprise. I didn't even realize I had written it until it was already on my paper. I never thought of myself as a vengeful person, but in that moment I realized just how much I wanted certain people to suffer. How I would have been perfectly content to hear of bad times falling on my ex.
And then I felt ashamed.
The author of the study, Jennie Allen, reminded me of Galations 2:20 which states: I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
The anger I have been holding onto is not godly and it's been holding my heart and soul in this place for so long, for too long. I have been praying for months for God to show me how to be released from this stuck place and I kept feeling a nudge for change, but I didn't know what to change. I was blind to how I was injuring myself.
Jennie then goes on to ask us "Who are you, Lord?" & "What do you want from me?" as a follow up to my above list. I answered:
You are bigger than my past hurts and failures. You hear my every word, my every thought, and know my deepest desires. You are the God, that before I was ever even born, You sent Your son to die for me to have a fulfilling life through You.
You have given me a voice that has soo much love for You and that's what You want people to hear. You want me to push aside and push passed the things and people that tried to break me and remember that You have my back and You are always with me and that Kingdom purposes are more important than dwelling on the past.

At Bible study last night the question "What would change if you were free from anger?" was asked.
I would be free to move on. I would have both hands free to hang on to the promises God set out for me instead of struggling to hold onto my anger and the wrongs done against me while trying to chase my future. I would be free to love fully with nothing holding me back.
Simply put, I. Would. Be. Free.

*"Jesus wants my dignity to come from Him, not how I was or am treated. There is a time and place for action against injustice and a time and place to pursue reconciliation. Whatever attack or injustice I might perceive, letting it wash over me without a fight, looking past my offender and at my God, is radical but the most powerful path to freedom. There is strength and intention in humility."

I left a bad place. A place where I was being used, controlled, and lied too. But I haven't let that place go. I haven't fully forgiven him for the terrible things he did to me, and while this does nothing to him, it's doing everything to me. God has been calling to me for so long now to give Him this place in my heart which I have tried to hide from Him and I never understood. I never knew what I was supposed to be letting go of until I read "Mad", until it was as big as a 10 foot neon sign flashing right in my face.
So while life is not fair all the time, it will be. Because I am finally letting go of my anger, I'm handing it over to God to do with it what He wants. I've learned from it and I know God will use what happened to me as a way to reach and teach others, but that no longer means me holding it inside.

"What would change if you were free from anger?"
I'm free from my anger now, so I will be waiting eagerly to see the things that have been waiting for me.

*From "Stuck"

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