Sometimes I get angry at God—and I mean angry!
It happens when I feel I’ve been pulling my weight in my relationship with God—daily meditation, trying to forgive, and loving others as best as I can—you know the drill. But then life collapses on me—a neighbor runs his leaf blower at 8 am on a holiday morning, someone calls me a hypocrite, a loved one gets cancer.
I have to admit, when I’m trying to be good, and life turns pitch-black, I sometimes turn to God and snarl, “Screw you God!” That may sound harsh to some folks, but I figure if God and I are in a relationship, then we will have angry moments—at least, I will. And God’s big enough to deal with my frustration and anger.
When I give myself permission to be irritated, I can then take that emotion into the quiet and ask the Creator to help me understand why I’m so angry, what’s underneath it, and how this life-experience invites me to grow.
With God’s wisdom, I realize my notion about him is sometimes wrong. I’m not Geppetto and God’s not Pinocchio—I can’t pull the strings by doing what’s right and expect that he will respond by making my life fairy-tale perfect.
Instead, he’s the Infinite Being who—regardless of life’s circumstances and people’s choices—is always inviting us to deeper wholeness and balance. It’s our job to become quiet, listen, and try to discover how the Creator is guiding us with love.
For example, the other day I was feeling good about myself. I know I’m definitely not perfect and have a lifetime of growth ahead of me, but I felt like I was making progress on that old’ self-doubt that seems to wreak havoc on most people’s lives. And then bam! —out of the blue, someone called me a hypocrite.
The comment hit me like a sucker punch. I tried to let it go, but it wouldn’t let go of me.
Maybe I ama hypocrite, I thought. Maybe I’m just as phony as those late-night television preachers who proclaim that if you send them twenty dollars, God will shower you with prosperity.
That sucker punch kept hitting me for two days. The old tapes of “you’re a bad person” replayed their haunting echo in my head. And soon, the words “Screw you God!” rolled off my tongue.
When anger rages in me like that, rather than stuffing it, I’ve learned it’s like a yield sign reminding me to slow down, get honest with myself, and take time to ask God, “How are You inviting me to grow?”
As I sat in the silence with my anger, these whispers from the Creator rose up within me as the rage softened:
Let me—not others—define who you are.Work on being humble, teachable, and patient.You don’t need to be perfect. Just keep loving me, yourself, and others as best as you can.
Taking my anger to God instead of bottling it up has become much more productive than the old way, when I used to rail at God and others to keep them at bay. It feels like a middle-of-the-road means of dealing with negative emotions. I don’t stuff them, nor do I let them get the best of me. Rather, I receive them as a nudge from God inviting me to dig deeper within myself to seek his wisdom so I can grow.
I wish life and I were perfect. I wish my neighbor wasn’t OCD with his leaf blower. And I wish I could be like Jesus and walk on water.
But, that’s not the deal. That’s not how we’re wired. Life’s experiences are our teachers. And anger is one professor. If we’re willing to dig deep, partner with God, and let him speak and integrate his wisdom into our lives, anger can have a positive energy. It can propel us to growth.
As we sift and sort through our negative emotions with the Divine Teacher, perhaps a simple question can inspire us to deeper wholeness: “How are You inviting me to grow?”
—-brian j plachta
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