Sitting on the couch, sick for almost two weeks, has definitely given me a lot of time to think. Though I have distracted myself with a lot of reading on how to make the perfect whole wheat bread and with the happenings of Downton Abbey, there has been one thing that I haven’t been able to fully distract myself from.
On one of our first nights home, after spending the Holidays with family, I woke up in the middle of the night, ANGRY. I had had a dream that I was back in one of the unhealthy places of my past, and unable to get out. Then, as I looked around our dark bedroom, I sensed God say something to me, to the effect of:
“You have moved away from that old way of living, that is no longer your story.”
I put my head back onto the pillow, and fell into a very peaceful sleep. His beautiful, life-giving words stuck with me over the next few days. However, rather than continuing to give me peace as they initially did, they began to uncover something else.
Inside, I am ANGRY.
There are parts of my story, my life, that I wish weren’t a part of my story. Things that have been said to me, ways that I have been made to feel small, and people who I respected who treated me poorly. There are systems that have let me down. And ways that my voice has either been silenced or ignored.
As God said, it is no longer my story, I am not in those places anymore. But I think what gets me the most, is that for so long I thought I wasn’t allowed to be angry. I wasn’t allowed to question. I wasn’t allowed to disagree. So, I kept swallowing my thoughts and my pain. I kept allowing myself to be treated unfairly.
We live in a culture where “common knowledge” says that we as females are better at communication than men, because we have been encouraged since birth to express our feelings. Yet I would disagree. Yes, we have been encouraged to express many feelings, but we haven’t been taught how to express Anger.
In fact, as women, we have been taught that being angry, isn’t attractive. I know many women, myself included, who are afraid to be categorized as feminists for the very reason that they don’t want to be seen as angry, bitter, or divisive. Sure, it is socially acceptable for a mother to get all “Momma-Bear” angry on behalf of her child, but ask that same woman to get angry when she has been mistreated, and it won’t be as easy.
Very few of us have been told that can be good, and even right at times, for us to get upset. And I would guess even fewer of us have been taught how to speak on our own behalf. We struggle with confrontation. We fear it, when it involves defending ourselves.
I look back at the things of my past that I wish weren’t mine, and I am angry that I couldn’t be angry. I am upset that so often I chose to maintain harmony in unhealthy relationships, rather than speak the truth–rather than speak on my own behalf. I am angry because I chose to stay in unhealthy situations longer than I should have. And yet:
That is no longer my story.
It is no longer my future. I have moved away from my old way of doing things, and I am learning new (and hopefully healthier) ways of living. But, what do I do with this anger?
It feels like an important piece of the journey towards Change. It is something I have to name, before I can learn how to express it and then move through it. Anger is not a place I want to stay, and yet dealing with it is new to me.
So, over the past few days, metaphorically, I have been picking up my anger in my hands, like one would do with mud. I have been picking it up, and holding it out to the One who is promising me more. I have been saying:
“What do I do with this anger? And what does it look like to forgive?”
As I have been sick the past few weeks and dealing with the uncovering of my anger, it has been difficult to blog. Please forgive my erratic posts, and know that I will return more regularly soon!