Fretful

I never thought of myself as an angry person. Quite the opposite, actually. I had seen angry people when I was growing up. They were scary and yelled a lot with red faces and harsh, hurtful words. Like my uncle who would yell at me and threaten me with his belt when my parents weren’t around…

But I was never that person. I doubt anybody has ever thought of me as being scary. I can’t remember ever threatening another human being. The thought of saying harsh things that would hurt someone makes me ache. And typically, if my voice is raised, it isn’t when I’m angry.

So, I’m not an angry person, right?

Psalm 37:7 – “Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret...” (emphasis mine)

Wait.

I don’t yell or threaten, but “fret”?

I had to look it up. I knew what I thought it meant, but as it turned out, I only had half the story.

To fret – to eat or gnaw into, to corrode, fray, rub, chafe, wear away, vex, agitate, grate.

Now, how many times have I felt those things? The first examples that come to mine are times that I’ve been wronged and anger (not to be confused with wrath or vengeance) has been warranted. But I also have to admit that there have been times that I’ve felt those things for no good cause. Or worse, there have been times when the anger was justified, but that I dealt with it incorrectly – most often through sarcasm, alienation, or even turning the anger inward to punish myself. Quite an admission for the little girl who thought she was never angry…

So, here’s my question: If “to rest in the Lord is to cease from anger,” as Bob Sorge tells us, then how does one accomplish that? How do you accomplish that?

This post is part of a weekly discussion on Bob Sorge’s “The Fire of Delayed Answers.” For more discussion, visit my co-facilitator, Jason Stasyszen or any of the contributors linked at the widget below.

 

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Comments

  1. Well that was short and sweet.. But I see what you meant…And I can’t ever say I saw any “outward” expressions of anger…So if its all inside, look out…However, I think you are a bit to hard on yourself…I guess we all have to find out how to “rest in the Lord”…

  2. Anger expresses itself in many ways — and not just emotionally. Physically, too — stress, ulcers, chronic pain — they can all come from anger. Where I try to start (emphasis on “try”) is to consider what’s causing the anger — and it’s usually disappointed expectations. My expectations.

  3. You hit on a great point, we don’t always see anger in the way you’re describing. It manifests itself in subtle and equally destructive ways. Reminds me of Hebrews where it says to “strive to enter” His rest. It’s that important. How do I do that? I have to see where I’m not first. Sometimes I think I am resting in the Lord only to find I was fooling myself. It’s one of those things again where I am so thankful God is patient in the process because I just don’t get it. I see it when I’m quiet enough for Him to show me and then I can move forward, repent, or whatever else needs to be done. Good thoughts, Sarah. Thank you.

  4. Wow. This one packed quite a punch on me. It made me realize just how much I internalize my anger or also turn it on myself. I just want to cry when I think of the times when I have retreated in my anger and turned to food or some other destructive behavior. Your posts always give me a lot to think about.

  5. Sarah Salter says:

    Glynn, my doctor (who is a Chinese medicine practitioner) tells me that there’s really no separation between physical and emotional. It’s all connected. And so, when I don’t tell him the emotional things, he can’t accurately treat the physical things. So, yes, what you say is very true. And I’ve seen it expressed in my life not just in my clinical depression, but also in my chronic headaches and body pain. As well as many other things along the way. And each small victory that I have spiritually will also potentially improve my emotional and physical issues. And all of those improvements are always welcome. :-)

  6. Sarah Salter says:

    Jason, I don’t rest well when life is slow and quiet. So when life is moving 700 mph, how could it even be possible? Currently, it’s not. Perhaps it’s a lesson I will learn over time. :-)

  7. Sarah Salter says:

    Vicky, I’m currently covering some of this ground with a counselor. That’s a route I highly recommend! But whether you have a counselor or not, you KNOW that I am here to listen to you! You are LOVED! And it’s never too late for God to heal!

  8. God sure likes to smack us upside the head with truth sometimes. I know this book is hitting me like 2×4’s on a regular basis. I’m having to come to terms with things I had buried deep.

    The questions your asking yourself are similar to the ones I’ve been asking. I wrote a post on it (not linked to this series) Wed about what God is sharing with me about my emotions and Temptations. And how freedom is found in the Cross. Heb 4 and 2 Cor have been helping me lately.

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