The Many Faces of Anger

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I’m not an angry person. At least that’s what I thought. That is until I read Ed Welch’s article on Anger. Dang it, Ed.

While I don’t scream, smash things, or throw a hissy fit (anymore) I certainly identify with at least half of the “different faces of anger” Ed writes about:

  • Desire for Revenge –  quiet yet powerful; mental energy spent on plan to get even
  • Fantasies of Another’s Misery  –  wanting the other person to fail; being happy when they do
  • Cursing  –  verbal punch in the face; blatantly ignores scripture’s call to build one another up.
  • Jealousy  –  says “I deserve better than you” or “I know better than God.”
  • Grumbling and Complaining  –  hard to please; critical spirit
  • Cynicism  –  self-righteous posture looking down on others; “I am smarter than you are” mentality that looks down on any thought or idea different from their own.
  • Indifference  –  uncaring towards others; apathetic     (Welch, Ed T. “The Madness of Anger” CCEF Journal of Biblical Counseling)

Of all these faces of anger, the one I most identify with is grumbling and complaining. I’ve often cloaked my excuse like this, “I complain because I’m a glass-half-empty-kind-of-girl.” Oh really? Um…No. Doesn’t fly with Jesus. I don’t get to pull out the ‘I’m wired this way’ card. See scripture says I’m to do everything without grumbling and complaining (Phil. 2:14). That doesn’t mean I hunker down and try harder not to complain or grumble. I will fail. Miserably. No, what it means is that because I have the living Christ inside me I have been given everything I need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3) and that includes responding to life with an attitude of thankfulness and acceptance not moaning and groaning.

Please hear me. I’m not saying we should just be all happy-clappy-Christians-and-life-will-be-great-and-wonderful. I am saying that when we are faced with the opportunity to grumble or complain, we also have the chance to respond with thankfulness and humility-like Christ did.

And by the way, if grumbling and complaining is anger that is masked then perhaps I need to figure out the root of my anger. If you are thinking, “Yes, that’s a really great idea!” I have one word for you: SIN. Sin is the root of my anger. Plain and simple. Sin is me wanting my way and believing God is holding out on me. Sin is being focused entirely on me, myself, and I. Sin wants what it wants when it wants it. And I’m eaten up with the stuff and so are you.

So what are we to do? It’s pretty simple really. Scripture teaches us over and over: repent and believe. Repent. Godly sorrow comes to mind. Godly sorrow brings repentance. Brokenness. Repent means to change your mind and think differently. When I agree with God about my sin, I am demonstrating my desire to be under his lordship. I am saying goodbye to my self will (for the moment anyway).

The second part of the command is to believe. Believe that God is who he says he is and he did what he said he did and he’s coming back to get me. Believe that all of his promises are true. Notice I didn’t say beat-myself-up-until-I-can’t-see-straight. Paul reminds us in Romans 8, “There is therefore no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.” Beating myself up just keeps me locked in the problem and focused back entirely on myself again. It’s healthy and right for me to experience sorrow and remorse over my sin. That is what draws me back to Christ. When I see the reality of my sin I am moved to run to the arms of the only one who can pardon me-Jesus.

Let’s all repent of our anger, believe, and moveth on.

UnMasked

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Words. They have the power to bless and curse. To build up and tear down. To heal and destroy.

More than 20 years ago four little words kept me silent. I was held against my will by a ruthless pimp. I will kill you. He warned me that if I ran away or told a soul about him he would find me and kill me. Over and over he reminded me. And over and over he made good on his threats with the beatings. Silence insurance.

Even though I ran 3,000 miles away and escaped the hell of prostitution, I knew he could find me if he wanted to. He knew people who knew people. And he had my parent’s address. Made me write a letter to them when I first met him. Telling them I was “okay” and not to worry about me if they didn’t hear from me. I was too young and naive to even think about giving him a fake address.

Since I couldn’t tell, I hid. Hid from my friends and family. I kept them at arms length. Couldn’t let anyone know what really happened; it was too dangerous. I wore a mask of false bravado to make others (and myself) believe I was doing fine. But I lived in constant fear. Paralyzing, post-traumatic fear. Every loud noise sent me reeling. An unexpected touch brought me to tears.

On the outside I looked like I had it all together. I even went to college and earned my master’s degree. Got a great job. Was well liked among my peers. But no one knew the real me. No one knew the woman too afraid to sleep at night for fear he might find me and make good on his threats. No one knew about the bulimia and how I believed the lie that if I could just control my weight then I would be able to get a good husband. One who could protect me. From him. No one knew that I abused pain pills. And that I drank every single night. Anything to keep the memories away. And certainly no one knew that I wanted to end my life.

Having my voice silenced all those years ago changed me. Formerly confident, I became unsure. Once bold, now hesitant. Naturally trusting, I became suspicious. Of everyone. I felt like my adrenaline was always pumping; I couldn’t relax. It took me years of counseling to be able to function somewhat normally. I still struggle with irrational fears because of his threats (not to mention the rapes, assaults, arrests and other humiliating parts of life on the streets).

But God is restoring and renewing me and I now mentor other women in their journey of healing from being silenced. As a Christian counselor, God has allowed me to take off my mask and use my voice to help others find their voices. I continue to be amazed at how many women have forgotten what their voice sounds like and have believed the lies (from themselves and others). Lies that tell them they are broken, damaged goods. Lies that tell them they must be thin and beautiful to be loved. Lies that tell them they are only good for one thing. Lies that tell them they will never amount to anything and that the world would be a better place without them.

Author and Life Coach Jo Ann Fore knows all about having her voice silenced. She has walked alongside hurting women too, and has helped them not only find their “voices” but live life unmasked. Her latest book, When A Woman Finds Her Voice is full of stories of hope. Stories of brave women learning how to use their voices for the first time. A funny things happens when we find our voices: the masks fall off. We no longer need them.

So what’s the big deal about finding our voices? What’s wrong with wearing our masks? Why can’t we just tuck our painful memories neatly away? Relegate them to some dusty corner of our minds? Jo Ann puts it this way:

The painful after-effects of emotional wounds permeate our souls, negatively impacting the choices we make and the way we live. The longer we push aside these wounds, the greater the chance they will become contaminated. Infected. These wounds then weep, leaking and spreading into other areas, requiring additional care and taking much longer to heal. Gone unchecked, these infections often become much worse than the original wound.

No, we must allow our infected wounds to be opened, scrubbed clean, and given proper ointment to heal. The healing balm of trustworthy friends.

We can heal from being silenced.

But we cannot heal if we continue to deny that we have been wounded.

What wound are you hiding?

What mask are you wearing?

Leigh is Writing a Book!

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This Thursday marks the beginning of a special time in my writing journey.

Several years ago God nudged me to write a book. Over the years I have written some, but have struggled to complete my manuscript. Recently, my wonderful husband encouraged me to take some dedicated time off to work on finishing my book.

After much prayer, I have committed to taking the month of August off from everything (yes, that includes paid work and hanging out with friends!) for focused writing time.

I love how my family and friends encourage me in my writing.

My sweet husband single-handedly moved a 500lb. armoire so I could have a writing room with a view of lush green space and a babbling brook. Several close friends have agreed to pray me through this time.

One dear friend gave me a basket full of goodies to spur me on in my writing venture. My favorite thing was a poem she crafted. I thought it fitting to share on my blog as a way to celebrate this special time!

A Not so Clever Poem entitled “Leigh is Writing a Book!

Yes, it is true, Leigh is writing a book

Why you ask? Well let’s take a look…

A long time ago … though not too, too long ago

God created a beautiful girl who liked to be on the go

She grew up spunky and strong and smart

But soon experienced things that broke her heart

This young child of God was hurt and confused

And eventually thought herself one to be used.

She burst into adulthood on the outside wild and free

Though her heart ached from within you see

She longed for love, belonging, acceptance in her mind

She tried everything, drugs and relationships of any kind

But her soul was not quiet, her heart not fulfilled

She searched and searched but nothing yet still

Years and years passed and much she had survived

But deep in her heart, she knew she was barely alive

At the end of her rope, no longer being able to cope

She opened a book and THERE she read words of HOPE!

What is our life all about? Where do we find true love?

“Here I am” God said to Leigh “My child simply look above”

Now a child of God made whiter than snow

This woman wants the world to know

No one is too lost, too bad, or too gone

To be loved by God, the Savior, the One

He is the filler of the voids we have within

He is her God, our God, we can trust in Him

Yes, it is true, Leigh is writing a book

In God’s timing, we can all take a look!

What have you been putting off that you believe God is calling you to complete? I would love to hear from you.

Blessings,

Leigh

Noisy Soul

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Sometimes I wish you could walk around inside my head for just a day. Or an hour. That would be long enough for you to get a clear picture of how I live “in my head.”

Unwanted thoughts. Do I look stupid? Surely God is tired of me repeating this same old sin. Does she think I’m a good person? What are they thinking about what I just said? It’s just a matter of time before everyone figures out who I really am…

Pastor Joe called it a “noisy soul.” A man of God, leading a church in Chattanooga, TN and ministering to many. On the outside he looks like he has it all together, but inside he’s battling negative thoughts and feelings. Inner “noise” telling him none of what he says is making a difference. That what he says doesn’t matter. Isn’t relevant. Isn’t even true. All lies. Noise.

After he shared his story at a conference, I approached him with tears streaming down my face. I just wanted to let this brave man of God know he wasn’t alone. And that he had put into words exactly what I was experiencing.

pastorjoeI could not stop crying.

I hate crying in front of people. But I couldn’t stop the tears.

A humble man, he turned toward me and our eyes met. I’m sure I looked a wreck. But he saw beyond the physical and said words I’ll never forget: “do you have a noisy soul, too?” And in that instant, I knew I wasn’t alone. In fact, Pastor Joe said to me, “welcome home.”

Pastor Joe’s solution? Continue to trust God. Resist the enemy of my soul. And tell my friends I trust to ignore the “no trespassing” sign and check on me.

See, I had been pulling away from my friends and telling them I was okay, but was isolating and growing more depressed. Living in my head. In my noisy soul. All alone.

I confessed to my friends who’d gone to the conference with me and I continued to cry. Tears of regret. “Please ignore my no trespassing sign.” They already knew I had that sign up. “We’ve been waiting to be invited in…” Such grace I received that day.

It’s been three months since that conference.

Is my soul still noisy? At times, yes. But thanks to people like Joe and my safe friends, it’s a little quieter.

How about you. Do you have a noisy soul?

Pure Religion

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How much is one child worth to you?

What if it meant being insulted, robbed, physically assaulted, and jailed?

How about living in another country for almost a year where you don’t understand the language?

Away from everything familiar?

What if it cost you nearly every dime you had? What if it meant being separated from your family for almost a year?

Would it be worth it?

It certainly was for the de Blecourt family.

A family of three, heard God’s call to adopt a child from Ukraine.

Sounds simple enough, right?

The de Blecourt’s journey was anything but simple. In fact, it just about cost them everything they had. Physically, emotionally and spiritually.

My name is Kimberly de Blecourt. I understand there may be a problem with my passport. A look of disgust flashed through the officer’s eyes. Then he laughed a hollow, wretched laugh. ‘You have been misinformed, Mrs. de Blecourt. There is no problem. He sneered. ‘You are under arrest.’

I love reading true stories. In fact, I’m working on my own book now about my life and God’s redemption. And Kim’s book has encouraged me to be gut-wrenchingly honest. Until We All Come Home is a page-turner. Filled with excitement and sadness. Laughter and tears. Hopelessness and grace.

Kim didn’t just write a book about her adoption journey. She lives out the command found in James 1:27. Author profits from the sale of her book will go to Food for Orphans at www.foodfororphans.org.

Adoption may not be something you can do at this time. Or ever. But there are many other things you can do. One is to buy a copy of Kim’s book. Another is to liketweet, pin, etc. this post and share with others.

The de Blecourt’s journey is in many ways a spiritual picture of the lengths God goes to in order to save us and adopt us as his own.

I’ve had the distinct privilege of being on Kim de Blecourt’s book launch team for Until We All Come Home. I’m so smitten with this book that I’m giving away a free copy of Kim’s book (Thanks Kim!). To be eligible for the giveaway, leave a comment below. I will announce the winner this Friday. Tune back in to see if you are the winner!

To what length are you willing to go to fulfill God’s command to care for the orphans and widows? 

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