Don’t Allow Anger to Steal Your Freedom
Have you ever been so angry with someone that they dominate your thoughts? You argue with them in your head. You think negative thoughts about them and you feel stressed about the very image of that person. Have you experienced this? My guess is that most of us are experiencing it now.
Human interaction is less than perfect and people let us down, constantly. Relationships are based on expectations and most expectations that we have for one another is unrealistic. We expect everyone we relate with to be rational, reasonable, and view the world as we see it. This is impossible.
People bring baggage to a relationship and most are hurting, to some degree. They experience marital problems, family problems, work problems, and health problems. People are also predictable in that when they’re hurting, they tend to hurt others. A miserable person, for instance, will not share in another’s joy. In fact, it’s just the opposite. A miserable person wants us to be miserable with them, so they will say and do irrational things to bring us into their misery.
I’ve witnessed anger a lot lately. Maybe I’m more sensitive to it or just more aware lately, but I’ve watched and experienced people relate with one another in anger. It’s never pretty and often it’s uncomfortable. People will say and do awful things to one another out of anger and it makes me sad, because I know when anger wins, freedom loses.
There is no freedom in anger. Anger, when allowed to seep into our hearts and dominate our thoughts, becomes an inescapable straight jacket that binds our souls from experiencing joy and happiness. We become shortsighted and allow hate to obscure our view of the world and thus to steal our joy and the appreciation for humanity.
I recently had the pleasure to experience a beautiful weekend on the softball fields where young teenage girls gathered to compete and to enjoy the game of softball. Everything was perfect, until the games started and teams began to lose and parents began to lose their minds. I watched in disappointment as adults started to yell at the umpires, at the coaches, at each other, but even worse, at their own daughters.
I was no better; however, as I slowly allowed anger to creep into my world. I lost my perspective on life and found myself meditating on the little, insignificant things, like what people thought of me and how they perceived my decision making as a softball coach. I snapped at my kids, I was short with my wife and I wasn’t enjoying the weekend. I lost my way. In short, I became miserable.
Luckily, I snapped out of it when I forced myself to pause and fully appreciate the beauty around me. I noticed the blue sky, the lovely foliage scattered in the distance. I could sense the light breeze hitting my face and allowed myself to soak in the sights and sounds of the game. Instead of focusing on my anger, I escaped its chains and allowed myself to experience the joy in the moment and the freedom that comes with it.
Yesterday, I went on an early morning run with my son, Ryan. When we finished our workout, and were cooling down with a light stretch and enjoying each other’s company he smiled at me and said, “You know, Dad, there’s a lot of good people in this world.” A simple statement from the eyes of a child that is totally free from the burdens of anger.
I thought about the anger I allowed into my heart and how I let it control me over the weekend and for the precious moments I lost because anger enslaved me and took my freedom. My son Ryan sees the good in people, because he looks for it. I chose to experience anger, because I looked for it.
Whatever we seek, we will find it. Life happens and it hurts, but only we choose how to react. With anger, comes slavery, but with joy, comes freedom. The freedom to truly see the beauty that God made for us. Don’t allow anger to steal your moments and take your joy. What anger do you have in your heart today? Do you have the courage to let it go and claim your freedom?