Just when life
seems to be getting overwhelmingly hectic, God seems to step in
and whisk me away. Last week I was whisked away to a mountain bike
youth camp. And boy was that just what I needed. Life got real simple.
Get up. Eat. Ride. Eat. Ride. Eat. Sleep. There was a lot of praying
and laughing and Bible studying thrown in for good measure too.
It is amazing what simplifying your life can do for your soul. I
made some quiet time for God every morning. Every night we would
have Bible Study, and I was amazed by how thoughtful some of the
kids were. They made me think with their thoughts and questions,
and they helped me see how incredible God is to me. I have been
given some incredible opportunities to witness God at work. I have
met deeply spiritual people and have had wonderful teachers. And
I have just been incredibly blessed. Sometimes I am just floored
by it all.
While I am always
thankful for all these blessings, God has also taught me some pretty
powerful lessons. I think I had that down time last week to prepare
for a major lesson this week. And that lesson had to do with anger.
Early Monday morning, my mom called. I knew as soon as the phone
rang, something was not right. John answered the phone, and I knew
it was either my mom or my dad calling to let me know that something
was wrong with one of them. It turned out that my dad had two heart
attacks. Fortunately, they went to the hospital before the heart
built up a major attack and caused a lot of damage so he is doing
okay and recovering from surgery to remove 2 of 3 blockages.
The first thing
I thought about was something I read in a book by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.
She wrote that anger manifests itself in physical conditions of
the heart. Now if you know my dad, you would wonder how on earth
does this relate to his situation. He is a fairly laid-back guy.
My mom likes to call him a puttser. In fact when I was a teenager,
he irritated me to no end because he would laugh at me when I got
angry. He never got angry with me that I can remember.
got me to think about the anger that I have that I dont even
realize most of the time. On the surface, I am a pretty peaceful
and positive person. But I realized that just like my dad, and just
about every one else in this country, I let a lot of anger build
up underneath the surface. Lets face it; there is a lot to
be angry about. Besides the big things (politics, war, economy,
family issues), there are countless little things that happen all
The other day
I was riding my bike, and witnessed a man cussing out another man
in a car (You f****** a**hole
.over and over again). This was
happening in the cussing mans driveway. I have not witnessed
this type of anger in a long time, and it really bothered me. My
first instinct was to get out of dodge. I rode swiftly passed the
house. But I crossed the bridge over the creek, and I found myself
feeling the need to do something to help. I stood on the other side
of the creek out of view, but not out of earshot. And I just breathed
for those men. I dont know why, and it didnt make the
man stop yelling. But I just felt like I needed to bring some peace
to the situation.
So I realized
this is what we often do to the anger we allow to build up in ourselves.
We are afraid of it, so we run away. Or we let it build up and explode.
Sometimes we need to recognize our anger, identify it, Oh,
I know you. And then breathe some peace into it before it
builds up in us or explodes. When you are frustrated when someone
is being rude or not helping out; when someone yells at you for
driving the way you want to drive; when you feel cheated out of
something you feel you deserve; or when someone else has a different
view than you; take time to recognize the anger that you hold. Find
someway to deal with that anger in a productive way. Sometimes we
may need to just yell. But yelling at another person only transfers
the anger to them, and that is not productive or peaceful.
thing about the cussing man was the fact that a teenage boy stood
in the yard witnessing the whole scene. He passively tossed a ball
up and down without showing any emotional response to what was going
on. I could not help but think this child is learning how to deal
with his anger. What lesson has he learned?
Today, on my
ride up Route 45, there was a green bean every 25 yards or so. (They
are harvesting them here and a processing plant is about 30 miles
west of our house on route 45. Big trucks that dont give an
inch of road to a little cyclist carry these beans to the processing
plant very quickly.) Every time I saw a green bean, I would breathe
peace. You have to make peace. Peace is not something that seeks
us out. We have to consciously seek it out. Find something that
will remind you to breathe peace regularly. Maybe every time you
see a butterfly or pretty flower, you could take time to breathe
in the simple peace that God wants us all to have.
be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans
of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with
every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another,
forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians
[are] the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of
God. -Matthew 5:9
many different natures. Light and dark. Kind and mean. Inconsistent
and predictable. Youll never be perfect. But you can be better
than you are now. For your own sake, try. Nancy Wood
(in Dancing Moons)
Lord, help me
identify the anger in my life. Help me remove the anger I have allowed
to build up. Help me release it. It spoils my soul and corrupts
my spirit. Help me to put more peace and love into the world than
anger. Help me make peace. I want to be your peacemaker! AMEN