We have been walking the angry road a lot lately. The struggle of articulating frustration and emotion without it getting a hold on you is tough for the most disciplined. It feels darn near impossible for a young boy. A boy who feels passionately, who runs the depths of emotions in the span of a few minutes. A boy who is trying so hard to keep anger in check and respond the right way when fury overcomes him.
It's hard to be little.
But even as I grow I realize that it's also hard to be big. It's hard to check the surging tide of emotions, keep anger in it's proper place. I see his struggle and am reminded of my own. Though it appears different on the outside, inside it's the same. I want to throw the fit, indulge in a little book flinging, yell, stomp. But wisdom has taught me that it really does no good to respond this way. Even if it feels deliciously satisfying at the moment. And so I let anger run me in different ways. I belittle, I criticize, I withhold affection, I keep silent, I glare, I shut doors a little too hard. Sure, it's subtle. But is it any different from the stomping and screaming of a child?
As I struggle through my son's issues I realize they are holding a mirror up to mine, because although I am good at keeping it at bay I have never truly tamed the beast.
Proverbs reminds me that a harsh word stirs up anger, a fool allows his anger to run unchecked, and a contentious wife is a horrible woman to live with. The wisdom of the Psalms encourages me to be slow to anger and overflowing in love. James states emphatically that human anger never accomplishes God's righteousness.
So where does that leave us? The ones who deal with anger, who let emotions run and often suffer the consequences. The truth of the matter is that we can't deal with this. We can't fix the problem, at least not on our own.
The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in love. And we are to pattern our lives after Christ. If he is slow to anger then I should be too. I get there only with his help and yell for grace when it gets hard. Because this life, this grown up life of living in Christ and being remade, is really hard. And we are fooling ourselves if we think we can fix our anger issues on our own. I lie to myself when I try my own solutions for anger instead of falling on my knees before the very one who made my emotions and gives me his spirit to learn how to control them.
I am learning how to be a big girl here in this issue, just as my son is learning how to be a big boy in his. We do it together, leaning hard on grace all the way. We memorize Scripture and pray for help and learn to just walk away with prayers filling our lungs.
And it's hard.
But it isn't impossible.