Alrighty, folks…remember how at the beginning of the week I told you that Friday’s are now the day you hear from fellow Down and Dirtiers? Friends who have a voice and a passion that is [sometimes] different than my own. My goal is for this to be a community, our little Down and Dirty world, that is. I think that hearing from the hearts of other women is the best way to do that. So, without further adieu…
This week we get to hear from Lauren. I L.O.V.E. me some Lauren. She is a wife. And a mama to one terribly cute, incredibly active two year old. Lauren and I went to college together – and I liked her then – but it wasn’t until our contact via social networking in the past few years that I officially decided she is a kindred spirit. Sometimes I dream that we get to hang out in real life. True story. In addition to being spectacularly real, Lauren is also amazingly knowledgeable. She’s a researcher and an avid learner. I can always count on her information to be detailed and carefully investigated. You can find Lauren and all of her hilarious self at Over-thinking Everything. But enough about how fun and great I think she is…see for yourself!
I have a problem. It’s with anger. The problem is not that I feel angry. And the problem is not even that I act out my anger. The problem is that anger is my idol.
This might all make more sense if I rewind a bit. I do not have a small, stone statue hidden in the laundry room that I bow to named “Anger.” A very wise woman once told me that anything or anyone to whom you take your pain is your idol. Unless, of course, you’ve managed to take your pain to God; God’s not an idol, because he IS God.
But the rest of the recipients around us, begging us to come to them, hang with them, spend money on them, give our time to them AREN’T God. And they can’t do a darn thing for you. In fact, if they can convince you to bring them your pain, they’re well on their way to destroying you. That’s what idols do.
And just in case you’re new to the realm of “Theology The Best That I Can Figure” by Lauren, I’ll rewind a bit more. Can we all agree that life isn’t perfect? Things just happen that aren’t good or easy or reversible. Without assigning fault or blame to any person, just by the fact that we exist in this imperfect world, we have to learn how to “deal.” Every person acts differently in their gut-reaction “deal” mode. Some people stick with the toddler reaction long after it is age-appropriate (I might be “some people”). Some people shut down, some cry out, some go for a run, some multi-task and go for a run and end up at Chili’s.
The point being that naturally, in one way or another, we all “deal.” The problem is, we don’t do it right. And by “right,” I mean in a way that won’t hurt us. To be fair, every one has to learn to deal at a young age. It’s not really fair to condemn the coping mechanisms of a 3 month-old baby. But there comes a time when you are confronted with some truth. I can’t do this on my own. I can’t “deal.”
And at that point you have a decision to make. You can decide to try all sorts of things to help you “deal” on your own, or you can take your pain to God. This is where it gets a little tricky, because how it looks—what you’re actually, physically or emotionally doing—is not so much the point. The point is that you took your pain to God. Is that getting old? If it is, then you must not need to hear it as often as I do.
So, does “taking your pain to God” mean immediately reading your Bible? Maybe. Does it mean praying? Sure. Does it mean crying? Could be. Does it mean talking with a Christian counselor? Sometimes. Does it cease to resemble any of the aforementioned options? Possibly. It’s one of those things. It’s real-life. It’s a little gray.
But if you take your pain to God–over and over and over and over again, if you refuse to heed the calls of the easier, neater, prettier, more comfortable “stress-relievers,” then slowly, sometimes imperceptibly at first, an amazing thing will happen. You’ll begin to be healed. Because, well, God wants to do that.
God wants to love you. He wants you to receive His love. He wants to take your pain. He wants you to sacrifice it to Him. Pretend He IS in the laundry room—‘cause technically He is, right? Go in there and tell Him what’s hurting. Who did what to you? How did it feel? What uncontrollable scenario threatens to overwhelm you right now? Anger might offer you a short-term break from those feelings, a satisfying moment or two—since you got your say. But it can’t take your pain, let alone heal you.
But God! God, on the other hand, desperately wants to heal you; because he desperately wants a relationship with you. Ask my husband how hard it is to have a relationship with someone who hangs out with Anger. He’ll tell you it’s pretty near impossible. If you’re destroyed by Anger (to whom you insist upon running) you cannot relate to God. Destroyed, semi-semblances of people do not relate well—if at all. And relating is the verb that must be present in the noun “relationship.” I don’t mean you can’t do things for Him or look like you know Him. I mean you are completely unable to accept His love, grace, forgiveness, mercy, and truth. And, if you read for a bit in His book, you’ll conclude that the sum of those things is often appropriately lumped together as the word “know.” You can’t really, fully, life-changing-ly know God if Anger is managing your pain. Anger will make sure of that.
God knows He’s the only one who can take our pain. And He tells us to bring it to him. ‘Cause He can deal.