.This message has been edited. Last edited by: KristiMarie,
I thought this was worth re-posting...
Gotta love that Phil and his daily spiritual seed!
And as you know from our exchanges how anger has been a huge part of my journey... How could it not be when being beat by my enraged dad went on for years on end...
MEDITATION ON THE SCRIPTURES
Jesus took on our humanity and experienced the same emotions we do.
God was working through the flesh of Jesus just as God works through ours. In our humanness, we will all experience moments of anger. It's important to ask ourselves what God might be trying to tell us and to pray about how to use that energy in a positive way.
Whether we are defending our families, speaking up for those who have no voice or using our own voices or resources when no one else will--anger is truly a gift from God.
Jesus reminds us in today's gospel: "Therefore I tell you, all
that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it
shall be yours." Let us pray that when we experience the gift of
anger, our actions and energy will result in someone receiving new
life or one small part of the world becoming a better place because
God truly got our attention.
- by Susan Naatz
Kristi.. it is interesting How God moves in mysterious ways to get a message across ....
" Seems the maintenance man knocked on my door at exactly the right time! With exactly the right affirmation! I smile at the synchronicity of this. As if Jesus Himself was saying, "I hear you!" - - - "JESUS" - - - who is the "ANTIDOTE" to my spiritual malady.'
i LOVE IT!
thanks for sharing!
10 years or so ago I was in a church that ruled with an iron fist. It is a miracle that my faith survived after all the scolding from the pulpit.
I learned to stuff, smile & shine because if I wasn't manifesting the fruits of the spirit then my testimony for Jesus Christ wasn't going to impact or invite others to the gospel.
Oh, at church I was a worker bee, serving on many committee's, running bible groups with women, on & on.
Fourteen years I hid the anger that was simmering deep inside... Well, at church I hid it. But, my dear family witnessed my temper tantrums, my dear husband suffered from my sharp tongue, I am ashamed to say.
I went to the Pastor to talk about my "anger" and was lectured how man's anger does not promote the righteousness of God, and then I said: I think I might harbor a grudge towards the Lord,and o, my, my, did I ever get a tongue lashing and was quoted Isaiah 45:9 "Woe to him who quarrels with his maker." Anger is not acceptable.
Well folks, as you all might guess what was under a lot of my anger, was a well of hurt...
So Kristi, bravo to you for being brave enough to name part of the process I had to go through so Christ could heal some of the damage that I suffered as a result of being sexually, physically abused as a child... It has been a long and messy journey for me.
However, this Jesus Christ keeps loving me in all my messes. He has brought many who have disrupted, corrected and listened to my weary heart and low & behold the anger doesn't have me in such a tight grip anymore.
Bless the Lord, in my case I needed the Great Physician for I was sin sick. Still am in other ways, but I love Him and I really believe that He delights in me warts, flaws & all.
I think this is one of the reasons I have stayed away from churches...not just because I had an abusive history, but, quite frankly, because many churches do exactly as you said. They might have only made my anger/issues worse.
That demonstrated a complete lack of care for the needs of the soul. Forget what is in the hearts of souls of these people of my congregation, let me just use them as pawns to grow "my?" church (whose church?) larger. I don't think Jesus ever intended for churches to be about "marketing" religion/Him. Didn't he storm the temple market?
Hopefully this will change (more) in the churches. Some churches do not minister to the soul's need for healing because they (the church leaders) haven't, IMO, healed their own. How then can they help another with the same?
That needs to change. Our anger tells us something is wrong. And responses such as this one given you is part of what causes a person to turn their anger inward onto themselves.
For years now, I have prayed it away, meditated it away, escaped to spirituality, and high-minded (but false) intellectual and philosophical processing of it...stuffing it, essentially. I cannot do that anymore. I need to put it all in its proper place.
Here is, I think, a wonderful poem on Anger. The author and his permission for sharing is listed below.
G-d of the inner journey,
Source of strength,
I’ve been assaulted by an unseen foe
And comforted by a steadfast friend,
Cut down in the name of love,
Lost in confusion and dismay,
Blinded by a wave of rage
And soothed by gentle breathing.
I live between moments of desperate anger
And days of boundless joy,
Between a heart of war
And a soul of peace.
Anger is a defense.
Anger is power.
Anger is intensity.
G-d whose gifts challenge my understanding,
Open my eyes to injustice
And let my anger become a source of energy
Channeled toward building and healing.
Let anger be a gateway to tikun olam
So I become a force for holiness and love.
Blessed are You, Source of Wisdom,
Who created anger to illuminate the path to justice.
© 2011 Alden Solovy and www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.
Permission for sharing is given here: http://tobendlight.com/using-these-prayers
Tikkun olam is a Hebrew phrase that means "repairing the world."
Kristi and Gail--
I greatly appreciate what you both have shared on this thread. Though I was not abused as a child, I can relate to some of what you've talked about. I did grow up with a subtle, unspoken expectation of "don't be a bitch" coming from a number of sources; and for much of my life I've been proud (in a false self kind of way) at how even-tempered and sweet people praised me for being. My dad and brother were hot tempered, and I made a point to be the opposite. I'm genuinely ashamed to say how much I used to look down on people who lost their cool.
It's been a needed step towards growth for me to be willing to be seen, rightly or wrongly, as angry at times. I fortunately had a pastor who wasn't like Gail's former pastor, and he referred me to Isaiah 63 a number of times, where we see God, bloody and moved by holy anger, stepping forth to "lead justice to victory".
The last line of your poem, Kristi, reminded me in a way of the phrase "leads justice to victory"--said of Jesus in Matthew 12, using a quotation from Isaiah 42: "He will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth."
Kristi. You. blow. me. away. The courage it takes to name some of your inner-reality's is (imo) heroic.
Those who have waded through the deep and painful waters from the fallout of abuse might be thinking to themselves after reading your words & poem: I am not alone in my anger or in my struggle to let Christ heal those wounded & broken places inside of me.
What a remarkable work the Lord is doing in you, thank-you for bringing your voice to us (me)... I am moved by your humble confession and I hear what you are saying in your poem. Of course, I am reading it from my own lens and experiences... Glory. Beauty from ashes is one thing that is coming to mind. Bless You!
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Ariel Jaffe:
Kristi and Gail--
I greatly appreciate what you both have shared on this thread.
A.J. That is good to hear. O, who said: Silence is a text that is easy to misread...
And this is just damn fabulous: "It's been a needed step towards growth for me to be willing to be seen, rightly or wrongly, as angry at times. I fortunately had a pastor who wasn't like Gail's former pastor, and he referred me to Isaiah 63 a number of times, where we see God, bloody and moved by holy anger, stepping forth to "lead justice to victory".
That is so cool that you have taken off that badge of honor of being sweet & even tempered, sounds like God has been busy in your soul also!
I'll just add my 2 cents here. It seems from my new perspective that pretending we're not angry is just one more facet of the false self.
Dealing with the anger itself I don't know about, but it cannot possible be truthful to pretend we're not feeling angry when actually we are.
I think this is (at least in part) due to a mistaken interpretation of the teaching that women are supposed to be submissive to their husbands. If a man was angry it was to be seen as righteous, perhaps as he was - mirroring the anger of God...? (...I wonder).
Women, in much earlier days of the Church, were regarded as being the "property" of their husbands (without a soul, essentially), separated from men in the synagogue, without a voice in decisions of the church, etc. See how still we are affected by this today: let a woman express anger and she is regarded as a "bitch," or maybe troublemaker, or squealer, or ____________ (whatever).
I actually continue to have a hard time with much of the Old Testament, Ariel ... because it sure does communicate an angry, judgmental and wrathful God ... and is heavily slanted, as still is the New Testament, toward masculine superiority. So, I don't feel we (collectively) are yet living the reality of Jesus' message.
Many have judged themselves for being angry... Why? When we have a bible full of references to an angry God? Are we, His children, not supposed to be angry? Are we supposed to ignore the pains of our souls? Pretend that (still, in the case of women) we do not have one? A repository full of human emotions encountered, completely unavoidable, in our experience of life...lest we are pressing them down to be sweet and even tempered, or whatever other face it is that we show.
From Isaiah 42:3 - "A bruised reed he shall not break, and a smoldering wick he shall not quench." There's a merciful Lord!
I read on and in Isaiah 42:7 - "To open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness" - and I was reminded of a poem I wrote as a teenager, speaking of the need for mankind to "open its eyes" and see the harm and suffering we (collectively) create. For, I perceived the suffering of the world so deeply as a child (and I don't mean just in or because of my own family, but far beyond that) that I imagined I had the weight of the world on my shoulders. How can one see and feel so deeply without their heart being compelled to respond. I couldn't. That early poem was angry toned, but born from love and concern.
FWIW, as I wrote the above poem, though I had the memories of my family (and husband in mind), it was more that I was speaking directly to the effects of "abuse" ... and how it became a part of my own interior world, part of my own psychic make-up.
Thanks, Gail. Yes, I think it's something women in particular are often taught, explicitly or implicitly (in my case) from a very young age--the false self gets praised for being false (always sweet) to such an extent that it's easy to lose touch with what's really being felt.
And yes, I would agree with what Derek said.
As for the silence of the internet, where we can't "read" each other as we usually would in conversation---I can say I have warm regard for everyone here, and that's the default meaning of silence from me. It's always nice to converse back and forth more as we would in person, though, IMO.
Good thoughts, Kristi.
I think, in my experience, the false self sweetness had less to do with being submissive, and was more about getting praise for being pretty, inside and out. It was better than getting praise just for looking attractive--my mom, who was very pretty, was also ultra-sweet, and everyone loved her for it. I modeled myself on that example.
As for the silence of the internet, where we can't "read" each other as we usually would in conversation---I can say I have warm regard for everyone here, and that's the default meaning of silence from me. It's always nice to converse back and forth more as we would in person, though, IMO.[/QUOTE]
Yes A.J. you sum up my feelings very well here...
I think for me there is a sense of shame that I had and still have anger inside... So, it is my embarrassment that I haven't arrived...
Does that make sense? Having it drilled into me not only by a very angry dad, and then 14 years of sitting under a very angry pastor, there is a part of me that trembles when anger is discussed. Like I am going to get blasted and sent to Hell for not putting off anger & wrath, and you know all those other verses... whew.
Bravo Derek... I can rest in your 2 cents!
Since Kristi paved the way on this forum I am going to follow in her footsteps and tell on myself in this poem I wrote 20 years ago. (notice the 20 years ago comment, the sad truth is I could have written this yesterday. Pray for me people!
As anger gathers up force,
my mind & tongue
are set on a collision course.
What am I to do with all that
goes on inside?
How do I handle my agony
and wounded pride?
Is there any help for my humanity
at the cross?
When will I learn to sit in silence
to process the loss?
How do I exercise self-control?
when I want to butcher
my enemy's soul...
There must be a way to contain
that boils over in my heart
Wanting to attack is that the
spirit of Cain?
************So after I wrote my little rant the rest of the poem cried out...
My prayer asks that You would supply
calm to the rage that intensifies.
Unleash the tears that I need to weep,
from the wells within that run ever so deep.
Help me Lord, to pause and consider
the damage my anger will bring
when I am feeling so bitter...
May I hone in on what it is I really need
when my anger is spewing at full speed.
Oh remind me Lord to contemplate
to discern the trigger of my hate
and in Your compassion may I wait. amen
Now I hope I didn't scare everyone here, this stuff went on inside, I really don't think I could murder anyone... well I guess my tongue can be a weapon... according to James Blah blah blah...
Yes, I can certainly relate to that!
I'm seeing that even the best of my anger--the righteous indignation kind, that can move us to stand and act against injustice and oppression--often carries with its own sort of injustice, in that I can be a bit too ready to demonize and throw away people who are being cruel, oppressive, unjust, callous, indifferent to other's suffering, etc. Whereas, the truth is, like in that "When I am Weak" essay, I am, at times, all those things myself...cruel, oppressive, unjust, callous, indifferent to other's suffering. And I'm thankful God has not thrown me away.
And I'm also seeing that even the most selfish, seemingly over-the-top anger in me usually has a core motivation that needs to be heard. I have been angry enough to want to wipe someone out already, and I've realized it was because I felt that person was acting in such a way that wiped me out.
I was writing when you posted your poem, but, I know what you mean.
[quote]And I'm also seeing that even the most selfish, seemingly over-the-top anger in me usually has a core motivation that needs to be heard. I have been angry enough to want to wipe someone out already, and I've realized it was because I felt that person was acting in such a way that wiped me out.
Ah, yes... I think so, " to be heard" that is at the core... That thought is grace-filled, and I can extend kindness to myself with it.
I'm sure most of us have a story or two where it was said: Children are to be seen and not heard... So we stuffed & smiled and pretended everything was fine... Meanwhile a lot of hurt got buried alive.
I weep with gratitude & unity in your thankfulness that God has not thrown me away either.
Just a quick clarification: My prayer-poem wasn't against my anger, it was so I wouldn't attack whoever had "wiped me out".
Anger is what happens when we feel threatened and vulnerable. Is what you are feeling that is causing you to feel angry a threat to you and or your loved ones? If not, it is just personality programming and somebody is just pushing your buttons.
I'm just getting to reading this thread. Thanks for sharing with such honesty, Kristi and all. I remember the moment when I first felt heard about my murderous rage. I was standing behind the desk where I worked at the pool hall in my undergrad years. I shared with somebody how enraged I was about some childhood abuse, and he said something like, "Sure, I get that: when somebody hurts you that deeply, they MUST DIE!" I'll never forget feeling so deeply grateful that somebody finally understood my rage and pain. Years later, I was nurtured through deep rage and hurt in psychoanalysis. Still, my nervous system is somewhat fragile in reaction to certain triggers that unconsciously connect with my abuse.
As you guys have noted, one of the things that's hardest about having rage is walking the fine line of embracing the reality of our rage and NOT acting on it. Not owning it is destructive and the wrong kind of expression of it is destructive. Either end of the line and you lose. Rage is like that; it makes us humble and needing God desperately. Only God can heal us...
really well said shasha.. thank you for sharing this.
I've experienced bouts of rage too, Kristi, and I know what you mean about crying out for mercy. At times, there is such blistering, chaotic rage that one is crippled and can't pray anything except to cry "Mercy!"
Sometimes, one can identify the vulnerable underside of rage: feeling rejected, abandoned, abused, not heard, etc. as many of you have shared. Other times, it's just a wall of chaos, and one needs to learn self-control and self-soothing before any insight/ uncovering work can be done. There's no easy formula to understanding the whys of rage; each person has a unique history. I find what's often overlooked is straight-forward modeling. We rage when we see raging parents. Even if they don't touch us, out of control parents model out of control behavior.
I like what you've posted above about shadow-work. Jungians have this nice metaphor for dealing with repressed material. Psychoanalysis relies more heavily on the reenactment of the repressed inside the therapy relationship (i.e. transference) as a means of healing. I recall from my treatment the times I felt such rage with my therapist, I said things like "I feel such rage that one of us must be killed!"
There's a cheery thought on a bright, sunny Tuesday...
Seriously, for the very badly abused and traumatized, the "emotions' of anger and rage are often more complicated than ordinary emotions. Brain changes appear to be rather permanent following trauma. We know that trauma also interferes with the formation of memories, so you can have rage with no connection to any frontal lobe/ insight orientation. The source of rage may never be recalled because memories were never formed. We can only speculate about it based on 'clues' from body memories, behavioral reenactments, patterns of sadomasochistic relationships.
Trauma experts say therapists ought not even begin working with patients in therapy unless that person is on an SSRI antidepressant because they are so brittle and couldn't tolerate uncovering work very well without it. Of course, there's many problems/issues with medications as well, so I sure don't recommend drugs off the bat for helping with rage/anger, and I'm not suggesting that to anybody now in this discussion. It's just that I offer it as information from my perspective of working with abused trauma patients in psychotherapy. (Incidentally, I've tried an SSRI during one period in my life and it made me much worse. I had one of those rare crazy reactions to it.)
Anyway, I appreciate your honesty here, dear friends. Rage is not a pretty part of being a human being, much less the superficial version of a 'good Christian.' I pray God's peace and deep healing be with you Kristi.
There are a lot of people that carry a lot of baggage from their past. The question is, can those that have solved their past baggage help others that would like to solve their own past baggage?
And basically what we are all up against here is that the human mind is very tricky when it comes to past baggage.
I have never been through what Kristi has been through, but at the same time, she does understand what I have been through. And if I had been through what Kristi has been through, there is no way anybody could have put me back together again. I have spent my whole life attempting to straighten out the trauma that I experienced as a child and it is no way close to what she experienced as a child.
Kristi my heart goes out to you and I thank you for understanding my situation even though I can never truly understand yours.
Wow, Kristi, that's a powerful story. Thanks for taking the time to share it.
The high school that some of my young relatives attend, which is located in a very nice suburban neighborhood, has had repeated problems with student-on-student violence and scares of school shooting type threats. There seems to be so much intense rage that these kids don't have the ability to channel constructively...your experiences, your story, deserves a hearing among teenagers.
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