I’m writing this in the fall of 2021, during the peak of Covid-19 for many areas, and amid some of the most heated debates over masks and vaccines. This is also immediately after the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and the destruction and death that followed.
Walking through this latest season of pandemic surge, I had not been able to shake loose this dark cloud I felt over me. I went about my usual things: prayer, Bible reading, exercise, work, family time, even summer fun times. None of them settled this dust bowl I was in. It’s been swirling around me, pulling me into its filth and blinding me from seeing anything good. I knew it was there and I didn’t like it, yet I could not escape. It took some time to realize the reason for my entrapment. The problem wasn’t the dirty vortex of opinions, accusations, and misinformation that seem to continuously spin around as we debate politics, masks, vaccines, and international terrorists. What was tethering me in my position was not an external force, it was an internal choice to remain pissed off.
And I’m sharing this with you because I’ve seen your posts, heard you at the school board meetings, and watched you in public spaces enough to know I am not the only one who has been angry. While it is not humanly possible to prevent ourselves from ever getting mad, it is possible not to stay that way.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be mad. I want to be happy. I want to have a mind at peace, a heart full of love to give, and a soul overcome with joy. I am not trying to pretend all the issues around me don’t exist, ignorance and denial aren’t the way out. But in a world filled with suffering and chaos God says we can be of good cheer because he has overcome all of that. Knowing this, I sought solace in my time with God and the usual stress-relieving techniques, but I repeatedly failed to find the blissful reprieve I desired. Reading the book of Romans I finally realized the issue.
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. Romans 7:15-17 NIV
Paul writes about not understanding why he does what he does not want, that it is sin living in him, and his choice to be ruled by sin that makes him repeatedly do the things he does not want to do. I hear you Paul. I want peace, love, and joy in my life and for my family, yet I repeatedly stew about the troubles on my mind, to the point of having anger overpower the goodness of the Holy Spirit within me. Why? Because I’m a sinner.
The truth is I cannot have peace, love, and joy when I’m pissed off. Neither can you. So it’s time to learn how to let anger go and do what I actually want to do. It’s time to shake loose the dark cloud and walk in the light.
How? I’ll explore that in the next three blogs and I invite you to join me!